No More Sleds, Time to Future-proof Your mPOS

Driving shoppers to make a purchase is the ultimate aim of retailers. So why is checkout often cited as the most painful part of the process?

Consumer research has shown US shoppers:

  • Will walkout without making a purchase after eight minute of waiting
  • 77% are then less likely to return to that store (Source: Irisys)

That’s why innovating the checkout process is high on the agenda for fashion and beauty brands – especially those who are already in the process of digitally transforming in-store experiences and technology in the face of changing consumer behaviours.

And Scandit already supports many of the world’s leading fashion retailers, including Levi’s, JD Sports, Aldo, Urban Outfitters, in making the digital future a reality today.

In this guide, we’ll highlight why Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) may well be the answer you are looking for to deliver differentiated experiences and how to future-proof it with Scandit.

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Adapting checkout to suit shoppers’ needs

One popular option for transforming checkout is self-scanning, which has seen rapid growth and widespread adoption, notably in grocery. Here a customer can skip the queues by scanning items as they shop and then paying without assistance.

But while self-checkout is just one option, it isn’t always suitable for different types of retailers. For example, what happens in fashion or beauty stores where most products are equipped with anti-theft tags?

mPOS – The future of checkout

That’s where Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) comes in.

Equip employees with the tools to handle transactions on the spot, making purchasing painless and long lines history. It means frictionless payments anywhere in-store, eliminating a major shopping painpoint.

But there are different ways to implement mPOS in your store.

The most common one today is to equip employees with a smart device and a scanning sled that also processes payments. But this approach has major drawbacks around costs, efficiency and creates limitations on what’s possible.

So many fashion and beauty retailers especially are now turning away from traditional sled-based solutions.

mPOS

Instead they are adopting a more modern, flexible and future-proof mPOS setup:

Let’s explore why.

Reduce costs, optimize hardware

Although the post-pandemic rebound is happening, any opportunity to reduce costs must be investigated.

And that’s why it is time to reassess the need for sleds.

Traditionally, sleds are used to add high performance barcode scanning capabilities to the mPOS setup. Scan barcodes on items on the sled, take a card payment on the reader, process the receipt with the mPOS app on the smart device.

The sled is also used by retail associates to handle a myriad of other operational tasks that involve scanning (such as shelf management) – although the high cost of sleds mean they are typically shared between employees. But do you really need sleds at all?

No sled, no problem

Scandit works with many of the world’s leading fashion retail brands to leverage software-based scanning in store and mPOS operations.

And they’ve often shared the fact that not every mPOS-scanning sled is used primarily for payment processing. In fact, a high percentage of the time associates use them to handle daily store operations instead.

stock taking

So what do you really need?

With a software-based scanning solution, any smart device with a camera can handle barcode scanning for mPOS transactions or other operational tasks – no need for a dedicated sled to enable scanning. And with more cost effective smart devices they can be issued on a 1:1 basis for employees, rather than a shared device pool of sleds.

But what about scan speed and accuracy? With the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK, you ensure enterprise-grade scanning on ubiquitous and cost effective smartphones and tablets for mPOS that matches the performance of dedicated scanning hardware.

This smartphone switch helps you reduce costs on multiple fronts:

  • Hardware consolidation
  • Easier maintenance and repair
  • Eliminate dedicated charging stations/cables
  • No need for backup sleds

Equip each employee with an individual smart device to do multiple tasks (mPOS, inventory management, clienteling, markdowns) and an optimized number of payment devices (simple card readers which can be paired via bluetooth) based on mPOS demand levels.

It’s much quicker and simpler to scale up the number of bluetooth payment devices, rather than expensive sleds which are only interoperable with certain smart devices.

Even when factoring in device costs, maintenance, peripherals and software licenses, Scandit fashion retail customers have calculated significant savings in the total cost of ownership across their fleets.

One beauty brand calculated annual potential savings of over $1.3m dollars for switching from a sled based solution for their 3500 strong fleet to iOS smartphones with Scandit software and payment terminals instead.

Scanning-enabled smart devices with a simple payment device are a more cost effective alternative, without compromising performance.

Stay up-to-date, avoid end-of-life tech

With a traditional mPOS setup, a retailer is forced to replace the entire sled/scanner to unlock any new technology improvements or capabilities, due to compatibility challenges when changing and updating smart devices.

What happens if you need to scan new barcode symbologies or scan ID cards as part of the checkout process? Or want to leverage advanced capabilities such as MatrixScan to capture multiple barcodes or augmented reality in retail operations?

And let’s face it, bulky sled devices also don’t really fit in with a sleek brand aesthetic that most fashion and beauty brands want to maintain.

Flexibility is critical

On the other hand, a software-based scanning solution removes the hassle of lifecycle management:

  • You aren’t tied to a specific form factor
  • It is relatively easy to upgrade devices
  • No need for spare parts
  • More flexibility to evolve with your requirements

This is essential in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. You can react to evolving customer needs and unexpected shifts by adapting your technology. For example, you can adopt tablets with the versatility to provide mPOS either on the shop floor or at a simple stand with a docking station, taking advantage of the front facing camera for easy ergonomics:

With any hardware tool you run the risk of running into End of Life (EOL) before you need to refresh your mobile device fleet.

As sleds become EOL and are no longer sold, you’ll typically only have guaranteed repair and spare parts for a limited time, depending on the regulations in your country. This can create major issues in keeping your mPOS operational across your stores.

So you need to ensure your scanning solution is up to speed with the latest market developments AND protect your operations. And Scandit can help.

So if you want to upgrade your device fleet, it’s no problem. You can move your app with you and upgrade the hardware. Try doing that with a sled!

Software-based scanning helps create a simpler solution ecosystem that fits the brand aesthetics. For added simplicity, Scandit seamlessly integrates with major mPOS software and platforms.

No more maintenance hassle

in-store picking

The ideal mPOS solution should not only be frictionless for your customers, but also for your employees. They need tools they can rely upon.

But not only do sleds drain battery life, they often cause problems due to their ‘bolt on’ nature, and two words often stop smooth operations in their tracks – ‘tamper detection’.

Dropping devices is quite common in the hustle and bustle of retail stores, especially if you are using them for a range of daily tasks beyond mPOS.

When you drop a payment sled, the chances that it will go in tamper detection mode are quite high – sometimes up to 60%.

When this happens, the only thing you can do is send it back to the manufacturer, leading to incurring:

  • Shipping and delivery costs
  • Device down time
  • Repair and re-keying costs

Focus on user friendly tools

But what if you take your payment device out of your pocket only when you actually need it? It certainly minimizes tamper issues from drops when you aren’t even taking a payment! With a smart device and software-scanning based approach, employees have everything they need on them at all times.

You can still use your smartphone for store operations tasks – even protecting it with a solid case: but when you drop it, your operations will go on as usual.

The usability factor is crucial, if apps are too complicated, tools are too cumbersome or need to be located, store associates will reject them. And when they find workarounds – like directing customers to the tills – it’s no good for anybody.

So make it easy for them. Watch how simple it is to move seamlessly between tasks and complete transactions with scanning-enabled smartphones:

Rugged smartphones or smartphones in a protective case represent a cost effective, secure and user friendly alternative.

Beyond mPOS - unlock new possibilities

Computer vision software can do much more than simple barcode scanning.

With advanced features such as AR, ID scanning, MatrixScan, we can help you enhance the checkout process and add huge efficiency gains to many of your daily tasks, while also improving your customers’ experience.

For example, you can:

  • Speed up loyalty scheme signup with automated ID scanning
  • Automate data capture for tax refunds to reduce manual errors
  • Use AR to deliver differentiated customer experiences, such as displaying discounts or product information

Deliver the future of checkout and future-proof your mPOS with Scandit

With Scandit, you can move seamlessly from operations to customer assistance to sales on sleek smart devices that fit your aesthetic. Checkout anywhere in the store, with no waiting or lines with a future-proof solution.

  • Save on total costs. With Scandit you can unlock high performance scanning on over 20,000 mobile device types, no need for a sled or to tie yourself to a specific form factor.
  • Improve your productivity. Scan products for mPOS, clienteling or any other operational task. You can also scan loyalty cards, drivers licenses or other identity documents with the same software.
  • Increase your future revenues. Bring extraordinary experiences to your customers and make your brand memorable.
  • Focus on what matters. No time lost on scanning issues or maintenance, more to dedicate to your customers.
  • Keep up-to-date. Thanks to continuous improvement and innovation in our product roadmap.
  • Adapt as you go. You can add devices and use cases as you go, depending on your needs.

Talk to us about how we can help you.

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