Hardware flexibility enabled by next-gen POS software
With a flexible set-up there’s no limits on what you can do with your stores; it’s retail done your way on your terms. With a flexible approach to retail hardware and software you’ll have a more resilient business, you’ll be able to easily pivot to meet new and emerging customer behavior, and you’ll be able to deliver industry leading customer experiences.
This guide covers:
- Chapter 1: How retail hardware flexibility can help you exceed new and future expectations
- Chapter 2: Hardware flexibility in action in different types of retail stores
- Chapter 3: Retail stores of the future & Headless Cart
- Chapter 4: The benefits of hardware flexibility in retail stores
- Chapter 5: How to achieve hardware flexibility in retail stores
- Chapter 6: iOS and Android devices
- Chapter 7: Success factors for in-store hardware flexibility
- Chapter 8: Summary
Chapter 1: Exceed new and future expectations
With digitalization of the retail industry accelerating quicker than we’ve ever seen before, you need to put yourself in the best possible position to meet the new expectations your customers and store associates now have, while ramping up the efficiency and effectiveness of how you operate your stores. As McKinsey states: “Companies need to be more proactive and nimbler as well as able to anticipate customer expectations and needs. Now is the time for executives to invest in the data, technology, and systems required to deliver exceptional experiences. Organizations able to understand customers better – and do it faster – are likely to be the next customerexperience leaders.” ‘
Your store associates expect more too. Staff turnover in retail tops 60% and translates into more than 230 million days of lost productivity and $19 billion in costs associated with recruiting, hiring and training, according to Human Resources Today.
It’s why, as far as we’re concerned, the number one priority for retailers right now is to create the right foundations which allow for complete flexibility when it comes to evolving to new circumstances, meeting future customer behavior and delivering on employee expectations.
An absolute key component of this is hardware flexibility. With true hardware flexibility you can deliver on your customer promise, empower your associates, and completely streamline your operating model so you can adapt to any scenario at speed and at scale.
This level of hardware flexibility is only created by native POS software that’s available on both iOS and Android. With mobility out of the box and the choice of combining iOS and Android devices you can meet your specific needs and easily adapt to changing needs.
Chapter 2: Hardware flexibility in action
Hardware flexibility doesn’t only mean you can easily combine different hardware to meet your needs, it also means you can reduce costs by having a standard set up with less hardware and have the flexibility to easily scale up and down in a more cost efficient way.
What’s more, when your POS software is a native app with way more functionality than a traditional point of sale – all your devices become points of service. And because it’s super easy to install on standard hardware, it means you can handle all your in-store operations on all your devices which increases flexibility and further reduces the amount of hardware needed.
Let’s take a look at this in practice across different scenarios:
Hardware set up in traditional retail stores
In step with seasonal changes
Most stores have times of the year where demand is through the roof and other times where tumbleweed rolls through them like they’re a deserted Western outpost. At the times of peak demand, it makes perfect business sense to increase POS numbers in store to avoid long lines and frustrated customers. With the hardware flexibility, this is fast and simple. When your POS can work on any mobile device or tablet – and easily interacts with other devices – it’s a breeze to increase the number you have in store to meet your increased demand. You can easily connect your extra POS devices to the payment terminals and receipt printers that you use during times of normal demand. Equally, at quieter times of the year, scaling back is hassle free.
Handle In-store inventory with your POS
With modern POS software you can handle all your in-store inventory management like stocktaking, receiving inventory and shipping inventory with your POS app. This means you enhance your hardware flexibility even further. You no longer need specific hardware for handling inventory and you can easily swap between serving a customer and e.g. doing a cycle count, receiving an inbound shipment or printing labels. From a hardware flexibility perspective this means you can cut down on the number of hardware needed and you can use devices you use for scaling up and down as extra devices in times of stocktaking.
“Sitoo makes it easier for us to scale the number of POS in our stores, open new stores, run pop-ups and be more mobile and fast in store – something we know our customers welcome.”
Anders Ammilon, Business Process & IT Development Manager, Nilson Shoes
Retail hardware set up in a traditional retail stores
Hardware set up in Luxury stores
If you operate at the high-end of the retail market then your CX is everything. Your stores are all about the experience and everything has to be sharp, smooth, and seamless. Not only does everything have to work like a dream, you really need to look the part.
Cumbersome PCs, clunky cash drawers and archaic POS systems won’t help you here. Instead, you want sleek, smart, and sophisticated systems. When your store associates have your POS in their pockets then they can be the brand champions you want and focus on delivering a stellar experience to your customers. Hardware flexibility makes this possible. You can have a combination of a tablet stationed behind a counter and mobile devices on the shop floor so you can help your customers shop on their terms and create the right environment for your business to thrive.
“A modern POS system allows us to engage with the consumer at any location in the store.”
Yannick de Rechapt, Chief Digital Officer, Hilding Anders
Hardware set up in luxury stores
Hardware set up in Pop-up stores
Pop-up shops are retail spaces that tend to only be open for a short time. They can help you generate brand awareness, evaluate the impact of selling in a new location or having a physical store for the first time, generate buzz around a new product launch, and even create immersive, interactive retail experiences.
They’re trendy, they’re exciting, and consumers fall head over heels for them. And they should be super simple to set up.
With the hardware flexibility you get with next generation software, they are. You can use your existing hardware set-up to launch the pop-up store or have a ‘bare minimum’ approach to get you up and running – essentially, all you need is a smart phone with the POS app installed on it.
The investment cost of running a pop-up for a limited time is all of a sudden slashed making pop-ups a much more viable and cost-effective way to grow your brand, reach new markets, and connect with other sales channels.
“We chose Sitoo as our POS and unified commerce platform because we believe pop-ups are the best way for us to expand and, with Sitoo, there’s no limitations on what we can do.”
Mikael Erstadius, Store Manager, CDLP
Hardware set up in Pop-up stores
Hardware set up in Event shops
If you regularly attend events or exhibitions then you know as well as we do they’re a perfect place to run flash stores and generate extra sales. Yet, without modern software and hardware flexibility, they can often be more hassle than they’re worth.
As with the pop-up example. hardware flexibility means all you need to start selling is a phone with the POS app on it. It really is that simple, especially when the app works just the same on Android and iOS.
“You can open stores at short notice, smoothly take Sitoo with you and not have to rely on a gigantic heavy cash register.”
Fredrik Kron, Retail Manager at Didriksons
Hardware set up in an event shop – all you need is a mobile device and internet connection
Hardware set up in Self-checkout stores
Let’s be clear from the start, self-checkout isn’t for everyone. However, for many, it’s the perfect way to eliminate long lines and free up store staff to focus on the customer experience instead. Depending on your product range, target customers and store set up, self-checkout could very easily elevate your in-store journey.
A self-checkout option, or self-checkout as the primary checkout option with a stationary cash desk also in store, should be simple to set up and shouldn’t require specialist hardware. When your self-checkout is powered by state-of-the-art POS technology, it can run off standard hardware helping you keep set-up and running costs low while giving you the flexibility you need to be successful.
“Having a self-checkout option in our stores allows us to give our customers both convenience and choice. Not only does it mean they can shop on their terms and we can keep lines to a minimum, it also frees up our store associates to carry out daily in-store operations and gives them time to focus on our customers.”
Sara Engstrand, Regional Manager, Granit
Hardware set up in a self-checkout store
Chapter 3: Stores of the future & Headless Cart
Creating flexible foundations through your approach to software and hardware means you’ll be able to easily adapt to whatever comes next. Already we’re seeing more and more ‘scan and go’ stores and, with a flexible mindset and approach, this is something you can easily adapt to.
Headless Cart is also going to open up new possibilities. With a Headless Cart you can use the same cart functionality in your POS device, on in-store touch screens, in specific customer apps and in your online sales channels. Not only do you become hardware and platform agnostic – you also automatically remove the majority of the challenges related to omnichannel and unified commerce.
To be successful in today’s environment you have to start with changing your mindset. We believe this comes down to three key factors; being brave, open minded and curious. If you have the courage to try new things and change the way you look at things you will be able to adapt to the new expectations of your customers – whatever they might be and however they might look.
Chapter 4: Benefits of hardware flexibility
Meet your specific needs in every situation
Being able to choose between iOS and Android devices gives you a wide range of standard hardware to choose from. You can use standard mobile hardware like phones, tablets and iPads, or specific mobile retail hardware from organization’s like Zebra and Adyen – or even a mixture of iOS and Android devices! This hardware flexibility means you can easily meet your needs in any given retail situation – whether it’s the need to adapt to seasonal changes, provide all your store associates with their own mobile POS, or quickly set up a pop-up or an event store.
Tablets or iPads can be used as stationary devices but traditional stationary hardware can’t be used as a mobile device. With a point of sale that’s mobile first, you increase your hardware flexibility and you unlock the full power and potential of mobility. Mobile hardware removes the “counter-barrier” between sales associates and customers making the shopping experience more personalized. Store associates have the flexibility to serve customers anywhere in or even outside the store. With the help of contactless payments, digital receipts and omnichannel fulfillment options associates can quickly adapt to social distancing and offer services like curbside pickup. Mobility also makes it possible for store associates to use the same device for several different tasks and you can easily move hardware to other stores when, for example, you’re stocktaking or running local sales.
MDM (Mobile Device Management)
A great advantage with the hardware flexibility, enabled by cloud-native technology and the POS being a native app, is that you can use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution to access and control your devices remotely. You can remotely configure and update your hardware according to your company policies and make sure they are secure by locking them down to only be used with specific applications needed for your store operations. Troubleshooting becomes simple and cost efficient with remote screen sharing and access to the hardware. In case of theft or a device being misplaced, your IT department can prevent unauthorized access by immediately wiping the data off the device. It means it’s far easier to keep your business data and devices secure. It also means your store associates don’t have to waste time troubleshooting devices if anything goes wrong, therefore improving your efficiency and the level of service you offer.
Efficient store operations
By using the same hardware for all in store operations, store associates can be more efficient. And with inventory and omnichannel functionality in the POS app, your store associates can use the same device for things like stocktaking, receiving inventory or preparing an omnichannel order, and they can easily switch between different types of tasks.
Increased customer satisfaction
With hardware flexibility and a POS app powered by a Unified Commerce Platform, you can easily match your choice of hardware to the service your customers expect. You can run your stores on your terms, whether it’s using mobile devices to serve your customers from the moment they arrive and then checkout customers anywhere in or outside the store, or turning a tablet into a self-checkout to please customers who want more of a shop and go experience.
With mobile hardware it’s easy to scale up and down in step with seasonal fluctuations – or even on busy days! You can activate an extra POS within minutes. With all the built in functionality and access to the same information everywhere you activate a fully operational POS just by downloading an app on a mobile device.
Pop-up in no time
The hardware flexibility created by the POS as a native app also makes it very easy to set up a pop-up store or bring a point of sale to an event or a trade show. With contactless payments, built-in scanner/camera, digital receipts, endless aisle and full omnichannel functionality, all you need is a standard mobile device.
Chapter 5: Achieving hardware flexibility
Your first step in achieving hardware flexibility is to start using next-generation POS software.
A cloud-native, mobile first POS isn’t just a cash register – it’s the key to unlocking market-leading CX. Unlike traditional solutions, a mobile first POS runs on handheld devices, smartphones and tablets – all you need is an internet connection and to download an app.
Rather than simply being a tool to record a sale, your POS now have to do so much more in order to deliver truly exceptional CX.
The best mobile first POS systems will seamlessly integrate with CRM, eCommerce, payments, ERP and other systems – resulting in shared real-time data across all platforms. They will also offer a wide range of payment solutions such as credit cards, cash, invoicing, gift cards, store credit, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Klarna, Swish, Worldpay, Vipps, MobilePay, Coiney, Alipay, WeChat Pay, and many more.
With an easy-to-use and intuitive app, a mobile first POS makes life easier for you and your associates while providing a better experience for your customers – often reducing their wait times, providing them with digital receipts and making their purchasing journey buttery smooth. Whether you choose to keep your device mobile or station your device on a counter – it’s the same solution.
At Sitoo, we’re creating flexibility because we want to support retailers with the most flexible and scalable POS and Unified Commerce Platform in the world.
It’s our belief that if you run a mobile first solution in your stores, you should have the ability to choose between the world’s two major mobile operating systems and combine both Android and iOS to get the full benefits on offer from both systems.
Chapter 6: iOS and Android devices
Being able to choose between iOS and Android devices gives you a wide range of standard hardware to choose from. You can use standard mobile phones or tablets from Apple or Samsung or retail hardware from organizations like Zebra and Adyen that are specifically developed for retail. You can even use a mixture of iOS and Android devices.
These are just a few examples of hardware you can use with Sitoo POS. Please contact us if you want to know more about hardware flexibility and what hardware we recommend for your specific needs.
Chapter 7: Success factors for hardware flexibility
Pause for a second and put yourself into the shoes of Keanu Reeves. It’s not so bad, he’s a stylish guy, they are probably great shoes. Imagine his character Neo from The Matrix. He’s given a choice; take the blue pill and the story ends or take the red pill, stay in Wonderland, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
A mobile POS is your red pill. Take it and there’s no limits on what you can do. That’s why, today, a mobile POS on mobile hardware doesn’t have to mean limitations – in fact, it’s the opposite. The new generation of POS software is mobile first and when powered by a Unified Commerce Platform, you have all the features and flexibility to meet your customers expectations and cross-channel shopping behavior.
Here’s what your success factors look like:
The POS as a native app
With your POS software as a native app you have a POS that can use the built in power provided by the mobile device’s operating system be it iOS or Android. A native app also results in a high level of performance and security, fast POS processes and a responsive interface. A native app helps make the POS interface intuitive, and it gives store associates working with it, and customers using the CRM interface or the Self-Checkout a superior user experience.
iOS and Android / standard hardware
When the native POS app is available on both iOS or Android you can choose from a wide range of devices; iPhones, iPads, Android phones/ tablets and specific mobile retail hardware from organizations like Zebra and Adyen. You can also combine iOS and Android devices.
Mobility out of the box
With POS as a native app you can use any standard tablet or a phone and in combination with contactless mobile payments, the builtin scanner and digital receipts, you have everything you need to be completely mobile and the flexibility to even remove the need for printers and payment terminals.
Devices that talk to each other
By setting up a LAN (Local Area Network), all your mobile and stationary retail devices communicate with each other. Interacting devices increases mobility and flexibility. It also enables several POS devices to share the same receipt printers, payment terminals and label printers. This means you can reduce the amount of hardware you need and the associated costs that come with it.
POS powered by a Unified Commerce Platform
With access to the same information everywhere in real time, store associates can view and access the complete product line and its real-time stock availability across all channels. When associates don’t have a suitable product available, the Omnichannel fulfillment options make it easy to arrange home delivery, a store pickup or just a reservation in another location.
More than a POS
Cloud-native technology, channeled through a native app on standard mobile devices, enables the POS to have way more features than a traditional POS. The mobile POS is no longer an addition to a traditional system, it becomes the tool for all store operations including clienteling, omni fulfillment, stocktaking, receiving goods, runner functionality and more.
If you want to dive deeper into this, you can download our free guide to ramping up your CX by changing your mindset to retail software. Download eBook
Flexible hardware in relation to LAN and Internet
Chapter 8: In summary
This level of flexibility hasn’t been seen before in the industry and puts the control firmly in your hands.
You have the power to build your own ecosystem – not only with the software solutions you choose but with the hardware you want to run them on. When this is combined with MDM, you have apps and hardware that are simple to manage, update and control – saving you yet more time and money.
This gives you freedom, flexibility and more choice than you’ve ever had before to create a retail ecosystem that’s perfect for your business, your employees and your customers.
You’ll be able to react and respond instantly to changing consumer behavior and to any external events which might impact the way you run your business.
This is retail on your terms, the way you want it. And the power is in your hands and if you’re ready to turn great omnichannel retail into a reality then we’re here to help you.
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