How to: Use Mobile Point of Sale In Your Business

Rebecca Kennedy
February 22, 2017

With its affordable set-up, choice of providers and ease of use, Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is the hot-ticket item in the ever-changing world of retail, and this nifty little system is only set to boom further, according to experts.

Research and consultancy firm Grandview Research explains that over the next few years businesses utilising the convenience of mPOS will drive the market at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% from 2016 to 2024.

Meanwhile Software Advice expects mPOS to reach a market penetration of 80% by 2019 with “4 million tablets shipped for use as mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) systems in North American retail and hospitality operations by 2017”.

Requiring only a tablet, app and selected hardware like cashdrawers and receipt printers, mPOS offers a convenient way for retailers to establish their register with ease and even take it to the customer if required.

If you’re looking to cash in on the current trend, here’s what you need to know about Mobile Point of Sale…


Mobile Point of Sale

Mobile Point of Sale is all about the software you select, with a bunch of providers vying for your custom. Installation generally involves downloading an app that is used in conjunction with the online dashboard to administer and set up your system.

There’s plenty of big-name companies to choose from, with Business News Daily citing Vend, Bindo, Shopkeep, TouchBistro, Shopify, Revel, and Lavu as the big players.

Meanwhile payment companies like Square and PayPal have also developed their own mPOS systems with similar features. The benefit of utilising these services is the e-commerce side of things is automatically taken care of courtesy of included card readers. And they’re working hard to provide a comprehensive service that matches traditional POS companies.

Most mPOS apps span Android, Windows and iOS operating systems, offering features like remote access, real-time inventory management, accounting integration, product variations, staff management, and customer loyalty information.

The costs range from monthly to annual subscriptions which vary depending on the size of your business, to charges per payment transaction for the more commerce focused apps like PayPal Here and Square POS.

Things You’ll Need

mobile point of sale

Hardware – Of course, you’ll need a device to run that software. If you’re a market stall operator who wants to integrate Mobile Point of Sale into their existing business, that could be as simple as using your smartphone. You could also be one of those 4 million tablets mentioned above, with iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S among the popular brands thanks to their slightly higher specs.

Card reader – Taking payments will require a card reader, of which there are a couple of options available. These include swipe card readers and the increasingly popular chip card readers.

Whereas swipe card readers use the bank card’s magnetic strip and a signature or pin to authenticate payment, chip and pin readers recognise the increased security of newer smart cards and EMV technology.

There is also the option of taking contactless payments from digital wallets, smart phones and cards. This involves having the capability for your card reader to authenticate a payment over a short distance using RFID technology. It caters to popular options like Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Cash drawer – Cash drawers are available in a wide variety of brands featuring different communication methods. These methods include wireless, Bluetooth, Ethernet (wired and wireless), and USB. Your preferred communication style will depend upon your tablet ports and the software connectivity. Many mPOS providers will offer a list of compatible brands or their own suggested/included hardware.

Barcode scanner – Barcode scanners are essential for a quick checkout and many mobile devices can utilise their in-built camera as a scanner. However major retailers should consider the additional option of a handheld or fixed scanner. Again, connectivity with your mobile device is an important factor, with options including wireless, Bluetooth, and USB.

Receipt printer – Many mPOS systems offer the option of digital receipts which can be emailed to a customer, however paper receipts still remain popular and are even a necessity in hospitality as kitchen dockets. This makes the receipt printer next on the hardware list. Again they can connect via a variety of means including wireless, Bluetooth and USB.

POS stand/kiosk – All this hardware is going to require physical set-up to complete the professional look and allow for ease of access, which brings us to POS tablet and iPad stands or kiosks. Again there a host of options available. Leading providers like iLocks offer varieties such as secure enclosures with wall mounts, counter-top stands, freestanding stands and portable options.

Things to consider when selecting your tablet stands include:

  • Security – Tablets can and do get stolen from retail and hospitality venues, so a lockable enclosure and fixed stand is a great idea.
  • Durability – These stands will need to facilitate your iPad or tablet operating in a commercial environment, so any enclosures should be durable enough to handle everyday tasks.
  • Ease of use – Think about how your tablet will be used. If you’re planning on taking the checkout to the customer, consider secure enclosures that can be easily removed from a stand. If it’s purely to remain in a fixed position at the counter, consider your staff and customer needs. Would you like the register to swivel, rotate from portrait to landscape, or flip 180 degrees from sales associate to consumer? If you’re in a hospitality venue, is a wall mounted POS the best option or would you like orders and payments to be undertaken table-side?

The final word

Mobile Point of Sale is widely considered the future of retail and hospitality, allowing businesses a flexible, affordable and readily available means to set up a shopfront and better service clientele. As more and more apps roll out for the service weekly, with established providers constantly improving their offering, mPOS is a trend that’s only set to increase.

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