Tablets were initially launched to bridge the unassailable gap between smartphones and computers. These devices had the agility of smartphones, along with the processing capacity and capabilities of a laptop or computer. This agility made them an instant hit in the market, with millions sold annually worldwide.
Tablets have replaced a lot of traditional pamphlet or page-based information, particularly in the service industry. Some of the most amazing uses include personal entertainment for travel, devices to replace traditional menus at restaurants and cafes, and finally point of sale (POS) systems.
POS systems have always been costly and complicated for small and medium businesses to use. They require certain knowledge of how the system works, as well as a complicated process to set them up in the first place. Although many businesses were unsatisfied with the way these systems were set up, until recently they didn’t really have an alternative.
The advantages of tablets
Over the years, tablets have evolved. Mobile app developers have worked with hardware companies like Square and Stripe to develop systems that can be integrated with tablets, to create an instant POS system. Most of the tablets being manufactured today are very intuitive; even a child can easily pick up an iPad and play with it.
This ease of access and understanding makes them perfect for POS systems, as cashiers do not need to be trained for hours on how to use them. Having a POS system on a tablet enables service managers to completely detach the billing process from a particular spot, to provide the payment service at the customer’s table or location.
This mobility also has space-saving advantages. Small boutique owners do not need to waste considerable amounts of space in their store on point of sale systems; they can simply carry the tablet along with them. They can use the same device to show their customers various other clothing options available in their store, as well as take all the relevant information from the customer as they continue to shop. And when the customer has finished shopping, they can instantly process the payment.
Seamless POS systems
With the launch of payment systems like Apple Pay, it’s now even easier for customers to pay for their purchases in an instant. Stores and service providers with tablets as their POS system can use devices from Square - which accept Apple Pay - to enable their customers to pay effortlessly while shopping.
Another reason for using a tablet as a point of sale device is that most traditional POS systems do not have the ability to connect to a wifi network or establish a Bluetooth connection. With a tablet, the storeowner can instantly connect to an online service to upload customer details, without using traditional processes. These details can help small business owners to maintain a better database of customers, and access this information at a moment’s notice using the same tablet. In doing so, they can ensure that customers receive the most personal service possible.
It totally makes sense for small businesses and retailers to adapt to using tablets as their POS systems, as they can be used for multiple other features, including the ability to turn them into menus, pamphlets or portfolios. Imagine having the ability to use one device to show your portfolio of work, take the customer’s details and finally receive payment, while simultaneously generating an invoice and mailing it to the customer in one meeting. It removes so many obstacles from a sale, minimising the time of transactions to almost nil.
Did you know that by 2018, about 166m consumers would be using NFC for mobile payments?