COMMENTARY

The importance of building mobile payments with the right POS in mind

 
Feb. 24, 2017

By Junaid Shams, CEO and Co-Founder, Rooam

Americans are increasingly moving to mobile, cashless forms of payment for goods and services as a way to simplify and save time and hassle at checkout.

Mobile payment products such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay and MasterCard's Masterpass are driving this trend today where approximately 80 percent of all transactions in the U.S. are now completed using a cashless payment system. A recent study conducted by Deloitte shows that Americans overall check their phones 8 billion times a day, so it’s no wonder that payments via mobile apps are the biggest thing happening right now in fintech. 

As studies show that the mobile payments industry is projected to reach $503 billion by 2020, the increasing popularity of mobile payment apps and cashless transactions is not only shaping today's retail consumer and shifting the mindset of the average diner, happy hour enthusiast and fast food connoisseur, but transforming the way that restaurants, bars and other commercial enterprises conduct business with each other.

Barriers abound, but compatibility is key

As the mobile wallet ecosystem continues to grow and expand, there are still several barriers to entry in the restaurant industry that are making it difficult to increase consumer adoption and employee execution.

The successful introduction of a mobile, cashless payment option for consumers, retailers and restaurants depends wholly on the level of seamless integration with the various, major point-of-sales systems in use today.

Believe it or not, many developers are creating mobile apps without even one rudimentary thought about how their apps will integrate within the common POS systems, many of which are ancient technological platforms. Because of extremely outdated technology, adding extra hardware or additional steps into an existing system can ultimately be the biggest pain point. Therefore, compatibility is key because restauranteurs do not want to introduce extra hardware.

Being able to integrate directly with existing POS systems reduces the barrier to entry and helps restaurants and bar staff work more efficiently. Therefore, if you're developing a mobile payment app, it's crucial that you identify the specific POS system you want to be compatible with and then focus on the specific issues of compatibility during the design and planning phases.

If it's hard to figure out how to use an app or make it work with a restaurant's IT system, it’s very easy to discard the idea with no more than a minute's time. By making sure your app works easily and reliably with the existing POS systems, even the most archaic ones, your app will have the greatest chances for success in consumer use and employee execution, which will in turn increase your profits for the restaurant or bar location.

Leveraging mobile payments' benefits

The restaurant industry has seen many technological advancements in recent years that are helping their businesses both run smoother and do brisker business.

Some of these include digital receipts, POS tablets, cloud-based labor and sales reporting, inventory management and more. In high-demand environments, such as a city bar, there is a compelling incentive to serve more customers while offering greater convenience for them. Such environments are where the benefits of implementing mobile payments into your current POS system shine the brightest.

Even household name brands such as Starbucks are starting to leverage mobile payments with 16 percent of their transactions being cashless.

Time is money

Creating a mobile payments app that is suitable for POS system integration makes it easier for businesses to incorporate the payment feature into their current platform.

With the right mobile payment solution, the process of closing a bill, obtaining customer authorization and processing a payment that used to take up to fifteen minutes can now be done in just a few seconds. By reducing the amount of time it takes to make transactions, you can increase the volume of purchases where every second spent by staff and management can be focused on servicing the bar and providing great customer service.

Referencing the 16 percent of Starbucks' transactions being generated through mobile as mentioned above, industry research reveals that of the $1.6 billion that Americans spent through their smartphones, 90 percent went to Starbucks. The impact that Starbucks alone has been able to make through their mobile payment model has provided them with great results. For smaller restaurants and bars, the impact on revenue can be just as significant with a mobile payment app that seamlessly integrates into a POS system.

High-quality customer service

When it is all said and done, the quality of a product or service combined with great customer service are the essential elements for any business to be successful. A positive experience will make the buyer become a return customer and potentially make that customer recommend your service and benefits to a friend. Conversely, a negative experience can discourage them from coming back to your business and cut off future opportunities for repeated revenue.

For example, research has shown that it costs five time as much to gain new customers than it is to keep an existing loyal customer. However, more companies spend time and resources attracting new customers opposed to customer retention. Mobile apps are a perfect way to continue engagement and relationship building with current customers while also gaining new customers and encouraging them to share word of mouth about your restaurant or business with potential customers.

Next steps

Within their respective industries, the POS and mobile payments are both seeing a strong boost in growth and advancements.

Parallel to the increase in smartphone shipments combined with mobile wallets, some analysts predict that U.S. mobile payment transactions will reach $142 billion in the next few years. With more people relying on their smartphones for day-to-day activities and an increased interest in the Internet of Things technologies, mobile payment developers must be forward-thinking and continue to think outside of the box. To remain competitive, companies must pay attention to the evolution of the consumer's mind and remain focused on what the needs are of today's buyers and suppliers.


Topics: Contactless / NFC, In-App Payments, Loyalty Programs, Mobile/Digital Wallet, POS, Restaurants, Retail, Trends / Statistics


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