What is Mobile Point of Sale (POS)?

Fri 15 Sep 2023
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The adoption and transaction value of mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) payments is projected to have an annual growth rate of 22.6% through 2024.  When it comes to mobile point-of-sale (POS) the hardware most businesses typically need includes a mobile point of sale (POS) terminal, credit card reader, a barcode scanner, a receipt printer and often a cash drawer — all of which can quickly add up in expense. Then software is needed to tie it all together and because of the many options, it’s challenging for business owners to sort out which solutions are the best fit. At the end of the day top considerations when taking payments from customers with a mobile point-of-sale system are flexibility, convenience and cost.  FEITIAN Technologies offers a complete ecosystem of mobile payment solutions for all business applications and budgets.  

What is a Mobile POS System?

Mobile point-of-sale (POS) is a reference to a portable device, software, or system involved in processing financial transactions. A cash register for example is a type of traditional point of sale system.  However the traditional cash register has been replaced by mobile point of sale (POS) systems that can process a variety of payments including cash, for both in-store merchandise purchases or an online ecommerce transaction. 

What distinguishes mobile POS from traditional POS systems is the wireless operation and portability of the hardware.  While you can use smart phones and tablets to act as a register and accept payments on the go, they’re limited in features and the best full featured handheld devices are dedicated devices like the FEITIAN F20 Android mobile POS device based on Android OS.  It’s a smart mobile POS terminal complete with its own printer that can be easily connected to a cash register, ERP and membership systems, so that all information on customers, transactions, inventory and more is efficiently centralized. 

F20  Mobile POS “All-in-One” Financial Device

The F20 mobile POS accepts payments from magnetic strip and chip cards along with NFC contactless payments. Facial recognition, Iris scan, and QR code acceptance are supported and the F20 mobile POS can engage with any Bluetooth device.  The F20 FP version of this Mobile POS adds onboard fingerprint reading.  The devices integrate with FEITIAN’s Android payment app SmartPay, which offers loyalty program management and supplier and inventory control features in addition to contact and contactless payment acceptance capability. 

A true mobile POS can accept the following payment types:

  • Debit & credit with a magnetic stripe or an EMV chip 
  • Contactless credit cards
  • Digital wallets like Google Pay, Paypal, and Apple Pay, using near-field communication (NFC) technology for contactless payments
  • Samsung Pay using magnetic secure transmission (MST) for contactless payments
  • QR codes (enabling a shoppers to scan a QR code to issue payment or use a discount)

Mobile point of sale (POS) systems offer additional convenience, whether you run a retail store branching out beyond its location for outdoor sales or a restaurant that accepts payments tableside with outdoor dining.  Mobile point of sale (POS) hardware and software is increasingly sophisticated that goes beyond simply routing funds to your bank account after each sale, features today commonly include:

  • monitoring of  inventory
  • trends in transactions
  • marketing data
  • customer contact information
  • tracking pricing accuracy

How does a Mobile POS system work?

At its most general level, a mobile point of sale (POS) system identifies items, their price and calculates the sum total of items a customer intends to purchase.  A mobile point of sale (POS) system then collects the payment information, processes it with the proper destination, and usually adjusts inventory levels accordingly. Thus a typical  mobile point of sale (POS) system workflow involves: 

  1. A customer intends to make a purchase 
  2. The mobile point of sale (POS) system calculates the total final price
  3. The customer submits payment information 
  4. The Mobile point-of-sale transaction is processed and finalized, inventory adjusted accordingly

1. A customer intends to make a purchase:  As customers browse either online or in-person,  inventory, prices and availability can be instantly determined in many mobile point of sale (POS). Once the customer is ready to purchase,  barcode scanners can be used to add items to their cart.

2. The mobile point of sale (POS) system calculates the total final price: Once all selected items are placed in the shopper’s cart, a mobile point of sale (POS) system determines the total final cost, including any necessary sales tax, discounts or promotion codes, and also updates inventory levels to reflect items sold.  

3. The customer submits payment information: Customers complete a purchase using a card of some type (gift, credit, debit, etc), loyalty points, cash if in person, or a digital wallet like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Paypal.  Any combination of the aforementioned payment methods is what’s known as a split payment—is also possible

4. The mobile point-of-sale transaction is processed and finalized: An official sale is realized once payment is successfully processed. Next, a receipt documenting the details of the transaction is either emailed or printed and provided to the customer and fulfillment or delivery of the items is arranged.

Software of a Point of Sale (POS) System

There are two broadly used types of point of sale (POS) systems: “cloud-based” and “on-premise”. On-premise point of sale (POS) systems are the most common, sometimes called ‘stations’, typically visible and accessible for customers to use on counters and include cash drawers, a computer, screens, and printing device – a complete system.  POS stations are hardwired, fixed in place and tethered to the internet via ethernet cables.   Cloud-based point of sale (POS) systems are usually tablets and other small handheld devices, untethered, highly flexible and sometimes called “ePOS systems” since they only need to access the internet with a web browser. 

A cloud-based mobile point of sale (POS) system can typically be installed on any tablet or smartphone and is compatible with cash drawers, printers, and Feitian hardware.  Cloud-based mobile point of sale (POS) systems are usually less expensive and more flexible than a fixed on-premise point of sale solution. This makes mobile point of sale (POS) systems attractive for merchants who value the flexibility of one system for both online sales and in-person sales.

FEITIAN’s Android Merchant / Cashier App:  SmartPay

SmartPay software, including the App Pay, Smartphone Pay, and ECR Pay modules, enables Android applications running on FEITIAN Android POS devices to collect payments through various channels such as cash, bank cards, mobile payments, digital payments such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and checks. It provides a comprehensive solution for managing businesses, including customer loyalty programs, inventory management, reporting, supplier management, pre-authorization, expense tracking, user management, order history, card balance, and reconciliation. With SmartPay, businesses can streamline their payment processes and manage multiple payment channels within a single application. 

SmartPay’s Comprehensive Business Management Features:

  • Customer Loyalty Program Management 
  • Purchase Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Reporting
  • Supplier Management 
  • Pre-Authorization Management
  • Expense Tracking
  • User Management Permissions
  • Order History Tracking
  • Card Balance Management
  • Reconciliation for Financial Management

FEITIAN’s Smart Terminal Operations Remote Manager: STORM

Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals are in many ways the ‘brain’ of an overall point-of-sale system and the FEITIAN terminal does far more for your business than just payment processing.   STORM (Smart Terminal Operations Remote Manager) is a comprehensive solution that serves as a Transaction Management System (TMS) offering a range of functionalities such as marketing, key management, and system administration. It supports various devices and channels, including web, Android, traditional POS, and mobile POS, providing a versatile solution for businesses. With robust security compliance and encryption protocols, STORM ensures secure key management and offers features like remote control and device enrollment for efficient management of devices and business operations. Manages transactions and provides a centralized system for analysis. 

Mobile Point of Sale (POS) System Hardware Components  

  • POS terminal. A POS or Point of Sale terminal is the device that your point of sale software runs on. Mobile point of sale (POS) software can be installed onto any computer, smartphone or tablet with an internet connection. 
  • Cash drawer.  If cash is accepted and processed a cash drawer is needed to safely and securely organize and store bills.
  • Tablet or smartphone.  Many mobile devices can run point of sale software including accepting payments, processing transactions, and managing inventory.
  • Barcode scanner.  Reads product details such as price and enables speedy transactions and inventory management.  There are two popular types of barcode scanners: 1D scanners that decipher traditional barcodes, and 2D scanners that decipher QR codes. 
  • Debit & credit card reader.  There are numerous ways to read a card, including tap, swipe, and insert. Click here to learn about FEITIAN’s card readers.
  • Receipt printer. While not always essential, for retail environments some customers perfer a printed receipt rather than an email receipt.
  • Label printer. With a label printer integrated in your point of sale setup, you can efficiently prepare  a shipment to the customer’s shipping address near-instantly after accepting payment.
  • Shipping scale. Scales are helpful in calculating shipping expenses.

The benefits of mobile point of sale (POS) systems

Modern mobile point of sale (POS) systems are far more functionally featured than the basic administration of transactions. They can execute business functions and be helpful tools for important business decisions, including:

  • Centralizing your inventory management 
  • Collecting and visualizing data (sales & inventory) in real time
  • Building in-depth customer profiles 
  • Accepting payments anywhere
  • Improving in-store sales
  • Opening new retail stores faster & adapting to changing business needs 

1. Centralizing your inventory management

Whether you keep inventory at your store location or in a warehouse, ensuring accuracy of your inventory quantities can be time consuming as inventory is delivered, items sold, returned, and exchanged.   Typically inventory is the largest expense for a business and mismanaging it can make all the difference between your business making a profit or losing money. 

Merchants with both physical stores and online ecommerce should have a mobile point of sale (POS) system unifying in-person and ecommerce transactions and where inventory levels are updated automatically as inventory is received, and items sold, returned, or exchanged be it online or in-store.

Sales channel unification enables you to  manage your entire business from one platform, inventory levels are precise in your mobile point of sale (POS) system and you spend less time managing operations and more time selling and growing your business. Centralizing inventory removes the ‘guessing game’ from inventory management as you order enough sufficient stock to align with demand without tying up money in inventory not selling. 

2. Collecting and visualizing data (sales & inventory) in real time

Transactions processed through your mobile point of sale (POS) system should also send data into your analytics and reporting tools. 

Your mobile point of sale (POS) system should offer simple viewing of analytics. As opposed to viewing store sales and ecommerce data on different platforms, you should have the means to capture a unified view of all sales along with the ability to filter by channel.  A point-of-sale system should help you understand the following as visualize data:

  • Retail store and ecommerce inventory data 
  • Sales data over a period of specific dates (day, week, etc).
  • Sales by employee (gross and net sales, items per order, average order value)
  • Sales by channel (ecommerce and multiple retail locations)
  • Sales by location (retail locations and geographic regions where ecommerce sales come from) 
  • Sales by items (sales volume, stock quantity, profitability, and percent of inventory sold)
  • Quantity of orders (segmented by fulfillment stage: unpaid, paid, in-process, unfulfilled, fulfilled)

3. Building in-depth customer profiles  

A point of sale system should also help in collecting, tracking, and managing customer information. Detailed customer profiles can help the business understand the customers better while assisting in retention marketing efforts like loyalty programs to drive repeat purchases. 

When evaluating point-of-sale systems consider if it allows you to do the following: 

  • Build customer profiles. Creating profiles that archives customers’ contact information, transaction history, lifetime value, and notes. 
  • View order history. Knowledge of a customer’s purchases (in-person or online) enables a business to suggest more aligned products. 
  • Create a loyalty program. Establishing a loyalty program rewarding customers every time they purchase from your business.  

4. Accepting payments anywhere 

Another key function of mobile point-of-sale systems is processing of payments. When supported with the right hardware, mobile point of sale (POS) systems can accept the following payment types: 

  • Cash, in-person cash register deposits. 
  • Magstripe credit cards, swipping of a card in a card reader.
  • Chip cards, which are debit or credit or debit with a near-field communication (NFC) chip to enable tap payments. See FEITIAN’s here. 
  • Contactless payments, including mobile wallet and chip cards using Google Pay, Paypal, or Apple Pay.  
  • Gift cards, both digital and physical and redeemed for retail in-person or ecommerce. 
  • Card-not-present purchases, which are transactions without the physical presence of a card. These transactions typically occur when shoppers enter their payment details on a keypad during in-person checkout, with ecommerce or verbally when ordering over the phone. 

What separates older point of sale systems from today’s advanced systems  is the ability to process payments anywhere you have an internet connection and the ability to execute the transaction entirely on a mobile phone or tablet. 

5. Improving retail store sales

Mobile point of sale (POS) systems now have features that can enable a business to serve shoppers using multiple channels.  For example, mobile point of sale (POS) systems can empower store staff to email follow-ups to indecisive retail store shoppers that focus on items they showed interest in, similar to cart abandonment email, but for brick and mortar retail stores. While the targeted customer eventually purchases the item online, the sale transaction is attributed to the store. This enables merchants to measure value in the role retail stores serve in product discovery and transforming showrooming into sales spaces.  

A point-of-sale system that offers customers shipping and fulfillment options can increase retail store traffic, minimize returns and exchanges, and boost sales.   This is why the tracking purchase, pickup,  and delivery options is vital today:

Buy online, pickup at-store:  allows shoppers to buy products online and retrieve their ordered items from the store location that’s convenient for them. This offering helps shoppers save on shipping costs and quickly get their merchandise. 

Home delivery: After customers purchase products at retail stores—particularly  large and heavy items like furniture—the added convenience home delivery is usually of interest.  Or, if a particular item isn’t available in-store but is available at another location,  customers can purchase the item at the store they’re at and have the item delivered to their home from the other store.

6. Opening new retail stores faster & adapting to change

One of the greatest advantages of a mobile point-of-sale system is ease of expansion —in just a few clicks.   As you add more items, customers, staff or locations, you want a point-of-sale system whose hardware and software supports expanded marketing, bookkeeping, scheduling, invoicing, and more.  

5 Most Important pieces of Mobile Point-of-Sale Hardware 

1. Barcode Scanner

A point-of-sale system with a handheld barcode scanner device such as the FEITIAN F68 can read barcodes and obtain information about the product such as price.   An integrated with a POS (point-of-sale) system and the benefits are:

  1. Increased efficiency & accuracy: FEITIAN barcode scanners accurately and quickly read barcodes, eliminating human error and making the checkout process faster.  
  2. Reduced labor costs:  Tasks involved in a point-of-sale system, such as inventory management and data entry can be automated.
  3. Improved inventory management:  Simplicity in checking inventory levels and needed restocking in real-time, helpful in minimizing stockouts and improving customer satisfaction.
  4. Better data tracking:  The ability to track sales, inventory, and customer data can provide insights into business performance.
  5. Compatibility: FEITIAN POS hardware such as barcode scanners are compatible with other software and hardware used in the POS system, such as card readers, cash registers, and inventory management software.

2. Credit Card Reader

A card reader is a device able to decode the information coded in a debit or credit card’s microchip or magnetic strip. FEITIAN card readers come in various forms including mobile or portable card wireless card readers to countertop systems connected to POS systems.  FEITIAN also offers ‘contactless card readers’ where customers can simply wave the card over or tap it onto the card reader.  Click here to learn about FEITIAN card readers. 

3. Point-of-Sale Terminal

A point-of-sale terminal is a payment processing system hardware that collects data for payment,  checks for sufficient funds to be transferred to the merchant, then executes the transfer.  The transaction is recorded followed by the printing, emailing, or texting of the receipt to the purchaser. The FEITIAN terminal is cloud based and called STORM for Smart Terminal Operations Remote Manager. It’s a multi-vendor terminal so devices from other manufacturers can be used with STORM.  

4. Cash Drawers

A cash drawer is precisely as it sounds and is a drawer that stores cash.  Learn about the FEITIAN FT-405D.

5. Receipt Printers

A receipt printer enables the customer to receive a printed record of the transaction details. These are generally situated in retail stores. Learn about the FEITIAN P10, P20, & P30 receipt printer

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