Retailers' Aging POS Platforms in Need of a Makeover

With the average POS platform 6.9 years old, the retail industry needs to address aging and outdated POS systems or face compliance penalties, security risks and limited ability to meet growing business needs.

According to EKN Research's latest study "2015 Retail Point-of-Sale Blueprint" the majority of the surveyed retailers (6 in 10) are planning to replace their POS platform over the next 24 months. This shift is primarily driven by four key factors including EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV)-liability shift, growing need for mobility, omnichannel POS integration and the introduction of new payment methods.
Traditionally, POS systems have been used by retailers to scan merchandise and generate basic transactions for customers — reducing customer engagement to the transactional level. However, a transformational change in retail, fueled by empowered consumers, is redefining POS as the "omnichannel point-of-service” — more than just a cash register or aggregator of transactional data, where retailers engage customers to build long-term relationships and loyalty, irrespective of sales channels. Modern systems now allow retail associates to support multiple operations and comprehensive omnichannel process flows such as sales tracking, inventory management, promotion management, strategic planning and budgeting, accounting, and loyalty management, to name a few.

The EKN Research report explores the four pillars of future POS strategy and case studies of retailers setting the pace in this area. EKN's four pillars are:

Unified mobility. This pillar focuses on explaining how POS integrated mobility systems are the way forward for new store POS improvements. Both mobile POS (handheld/tablets) as well as consumer mobility (i.e. apps) systems help retailers keep up not only with the competition, but also with their customers – one of the key challenges identified by the surveyed retailers.

EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) migration. In October 2015, the much discussed payment networks’ shift associated with EMV is due to take effect in the US. This pillar focuses on the current state of retailers’ preparedness and the key drivers for the shift towards secure EMV payments at POS.

Omnichannel POS platform. Creating a single point of commerce to better serve customers through the entire omnichannel order process and encourage loyalty by consolidating all customer order information within a unified repository along with a universal cart. This pillar helps explain the features, adoption and impact of omnichannel POS systems.

New payment methods. This pillar focuses on the adoption of new payment methods by retailers at POS and the current/future state of mobile payments.

The entire report is available for free download, and provides actionable recommendations across each strategic pillar.