Here at Juniper Research, we often get asked whether we track POS (Point of Sale) systems. The reason we get asked is that POS systems are the “other side” of a user’s mobile payment transaction. We always answer “No” because, as a mobile-focused analyst house, we have quite strict definitions of what is “mobile” and those heavy looking pieces of equipment are just not “mobile”.
But, it’s getting to be more difficult to exclude the POS from our analysis, especially as we look at the evolution of the mobile retail market. OK, we exclude those heavy counter-bound systems and even the Bluetooth-enabled card readers which [try to] extend their capability across restaurants - but there are now “mobile POS” which are becoming more difficult to ignore.
A good example of this is the payments service Square
, launched just over a year ago, which has a neat card-reader attached to an Android or Apple device running its app, so Square is “mobile” by virtue of its platform, but seeing as it only supports payment by card and not by mobile phone, is it? Again, strictly not, but we’re beginning to weaken …
But the story doesn’t stop there. Mobile POS are on the move. New mobile POS apps are appearing which sit, not on the retailer’s mobile phone but on yours, the customer’s – look at something like AisleBuyer
. Here you scan your purchases as you pick them up, the app totals them and presents you with a final bill to pay. In some instances the bill can even be paid directly using a mobile payments provider rather than at a POS, so you never even need to interact with anyone at the store (until the shoplifting alarm goes off).
Nevertheless, these sorts of “mobile shopping assistants” are completely demolishing the demarcation line between retailer POS and consumer mobile purchase – it’s all in the mobile shopper’s phone. And that’s symptomatic of the whole mobile retail market – mobile is disrupting many traditional market boundaries.
For more on this, see our upcoming report “Mobile Retail Marketing: Advertising, Coupons & NFC Shopping 2011-2016”.
Now, we can’t ignore the POS anymore – it really has gone “mobile”.