Retailers’ Mobile POS Use to Triple, but Current Use Remains Low

We are happy to hear the news that retailers’ use of mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems is expected to triple by 2018, according to a new survey. While only 26 percent of retailers currently have mobile POS systems deployed, more than half of the 100 retail executives surveyed by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Retail Touchpoints plan to implement the technology by 2018. Only 23 percent said they have no plans to ditch their cash registers in favor of a mobile checkout system. Still, we are surprised that the numbers for current retailers with mobile POS systems are so low, especially since most of the major players are part of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) mobile payment network. MCX members include Walmart, Phillips 66, Kohl’s, Gap, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Target and Dunkin’ Donuts. Combined, MCX members operate nearly 90,000 stores and process more than $1 trillion in payments annually. And Pilot Flying J said this week it was implementing a complete retail POS system that includes mobile POS. This is a big deal for mobile POS, since Pilot Flying J is the largest travel plaza operator in North America with more than 650 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Plus, this summer, Office Depot distributed custom iPod Touch POS devices for associates in all of its stores. Office Depot associates are using the devices to help customers find products and determine availability, select merchandise and, if items aren't in stock at the store, order the product with free shipping. The devices also accept payments using credit or gift cards. Perhaps it is only smaller retailers that are included in the Infogroup survey. Plus, current mobile POS adoption is likely not higher because retailers are overwhelmed by the horde of customer data coming from a variety of sources. “Our survey revealed that retailers struggle with using the data that they already have,” ITS President Don Patrick said in an Infogroup statement. Nearly half of retail executives said that effectively using their current customer data is their biggest marketing challenge. In addition, 47 percent of retailers are unable to use real-time data to generate customer offers. Only 23 percent are sending out real-time offers.