As the world recovers from the pandemic and consumers return to the high street, retailers are eager to capitalize on the increased footfall by providing an exceptional in-store experience. Even though COVID-19 has been in effect for more than two years, one barrier that the retail sector is still attempting to overcome is the resulting labor shortage.
To stay afloat during the lockdown, some retailers had to let go of their in-store associates. The pandemic produced further disruption in America’s labor force, which many have dubbed “The Great Resignation.” More than 47 million people had left their jobs by 2021, with many of them looking for better work-life balance and flexibility, higher pay and strong company culture. However, even though the world has returned to normal — and has been that way for some time — retailers are still finding it difficult to rehire the same number of employees as before.
With retailers grappling with the labor shortage, alternative solutions must be sought to mitigate any negative impact on in-store sales. Retailers can rely on innovation to fill the gaps left by a lack of staff by deploying the right retail technologies. A mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system, which consists of software and portable hardware that processes retail transactions, is one option that has helped alleviate the pressure caused by labor shortages. It computes sales totals, handles payments, monitors inventory, collects company data and much more. An mPOS system converts any tablet or smartphone into a checkout point. This functionality enables retailers to serve consumers from anywhere in the store, in pop-up shops and even on the go.
Simplify Checkout and Boost Efficiency
According to queue management research, 75% of customers would not wait in a queue for more than five minutes, implying that slow service means lower sales. With card and mobile payments, mPOS is intended to increase business efficiency, resulting in increased profitability, shorter checkout and return lines. Long queues often cause frustration and this makes more sense considering the increased digital options that consumers have at their fingertips for completing transactions.
Retailers can use a mobile-first and responsive POS to keep their checkout mobile, or use the same solution to station their device on a counter or offer a self-checkout option. A combination of all three is the ideal queue-busting strategy, as it keeps fast-moving shoppers happy while also increasing average order value.
Mobility is essential for assisted selling success. Everyone is happy when assisted selling is made simple with mPOS. It’s the ideal way for retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition, build customer loyalty to generate long-term sales, and ensure customers feel their time in-store was well spent. Allowing employees to complete multiple sales anywhere in the store, rather than just at the sales counter, can have a positive impact on sales and customer experience.
Streamline Workflow to Optimize Service
mPOS solutions provide real-time analytics and customer data. When retailers combine their mPOS with an online order management system (OMS), they can monitor when their consumers are most active, which products are selling and how they prefer to pay. Retailers can gain a better understanding of their operations at any point in time by connecting all in-store and ecommerce channels.
In addition, mPOS solutions can also help retailers in stocktaking, inventory receiving, and transferring stock to and from a central warehouse. Partial cycle counts and automated warehouse transfers prompted by specific reason codes improve accuracy while minimizing errors. Stocktaking is generally performed twice a year, giving plenty of time for stock discrepancies to develop. The ability to employ mPOS devices for stocktaking and cycle counts simplifies stock verification and allows businesses to eliminate errors, as well as maintain precise stock levels. All this can be achieved by deployment of the technology, which eliminates the need for manual data entry — a time-consuming practice at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a labor shortage crisis.
Ease of Use
Using mPOS solutions is simple and uncomplicated. Retailers can choose an mPOS system that supports integration if they already have a fixed-point POS terminal.
Moreover, mPOS systems are incredibly helpful when it comes to training new staff. Advanced mPOS systems allow retailers to provide training in a fraction of time compared to traditional POS systems, which are complex and can take even a month to get used to.
The role of the technology becomes highly important during the peak times when retailers tend to hire temporary staff; associates can learn to use mPOS systems in a short period of time thanks to their user-friendly interface. When it comes to providing an outstanding customer experience, store associates are paramount.
An industry-leading and cloud-native mPOS technology provides in-store associates with all the relevant information, such as customer purchase history, customized offers and stock availability. In addition, with the help of mPOS systems, sales associates can offer personalized discounts and alternative options to their customers. Performing multi-tasking from a single source of information can be significant in filling the gaps left by the ongoing labor shortage.
Retailers must understand that whilst trying to deal with the staff shortage, the seamless customer experience should not be compromised. mPOS technology is a great option for retailers to lean on and take maximum advantage of.
Amber Hovious is VP of Marketing and Partnerships at Teamwork Commerce. She has been part of the Teamwork Commerce family for seven years, building out the marketing strategy, business growth and approach as well as cultivating a wide array of partnership relationships to drive long term success.