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Point Of Sale in the store of the future

Feb 23rd 2012, 08:14

23 February 2012

Point Of Sale in the store of the future

There is much talk about the store of the future and what this store might look like and how it will operate. Will it be a self-service store that only has self-checkout points and no staff? Will all the store signage take on the form of holograms and virtual displays? The list is as long as your imagination.

The one change that’s certain is that the term Point Of Sale, or POS will take on a completely new meaning. POS is no longer about the actual till, or the physical hardware that goes with it. On the contrary it encompasses the whole shopping experience from the moment a consumer enters a store to the time they leave.

In the store of the future, POS is everything from the digital sign promoting a special on tinned fruit to the electronic labels on the shelves and the method customers’ use to checkout and pay for goods. This is because the lines between activities like Point Of Sale and in-store promotions have blurred as technology progresses.

For example, on the POS systems of today, retailers can change the prices at a till point, which then automatically update prices on all their electronic shelf labels and digital signage. That R5 discount on apples promoted on the digital sign above the fruit counter can be changed to a R10 discount in minutes.

The decision to discount the apples is made so easily because the dispatch computer at the retailer’s warehouse alerted the POS system that a new truck load of apples is on its way to the store and calculates that a R10 discount is applicable in order to move the product off the shelf and make space for the new delivery.

While POS will form an essential part of the store of the future, it’s important for retailers to choose a POS system wisely. This means investing in a system that has maintenance and back up support, especially in countries that have minimal resources in this regard. It’s also important to choose a product that can be easily integrated into a retailer’s IT system, allowing for software updates and easy upkeep.

The store of the future will transform the way consumers shop and alter their perceptions about shopping with POS being at the forefront of these changes.

Wendy Smith

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