In the last few years, the lines of traditional commerce have increasingly become more blurred. The rise of first ecommerce, and now mcommerce, have created a unique environment that allows shoppers to browse and buy products everywhere. However, mobile strategies are not limited to digital only sales offerings. Increasingly, we are seeing more hybrid solutions, such as physical retail stores that also have websites to capture shoppers both in person and online. One of the more interesting trends in recent times is the emergence of the mobile POS, or point of sale.
This trend was first embodied by the Square Reader, a small square shaped credit card reader that you could connect to your smartphone and, through its accompanying app, take credit cards without a standalone credit card machine. The implications of this device were huge. Anyone who previously relied on cash, such as local artisans or convention exhibitors without reliable access to power sources, were now freed to take credit cards. Because many people no longer carry cash at all, this meant that they could finally accept payments from significant portion of their customer base that they were forced to neglect before.
It didn’t take long for others to take notice, and other card readers were introduced, including a dedicated PayPal card reader and one from established business software provider Intuit. With established names such as these, and with the growing recognition and success of Square, businesses began turning to these systems rather than traditional credit card machines due to the incredibly low adoption cost and flexibility that they offered. As they became more established so too did the offerings, culminating in such products as the Square Stand Register, a stand that accepts a tablet and allows for the easy display and entry of products, fully replacing a comparably clunky computer and standalone reader setup.
Now, ecommerce has entered the arena. Shopify recently introduced their own card reader, made in response to an increasingly large number of customers on that platform who have decided to branch their ecommerce presence into a physical one. The beauty is, this iteration of physical presence does not need to be brick and mortar. It is now possible for an individual to represent his or her products anywhere while simultaneously having the full catalogue on standby. For individual store owners, there is no longer a distinction between where you can and cannot sell products.