Only 10-years ago, a retail store depended on the skills of their sales staff on the floor to convince the customers to buy, and a modem-and-telephone-line based POS system that processed the payment.

Nowadays, customers do all their research online on a smartphone, before even getting into their cars. They do comparative shopping without getting off the couch; have apps that alert them to specials; and use reviews of products extensively before deciding which ones to purchase.

Then there’s the phenomenon of showrooming, where consumers go to brick-and-mortar stores to inspect and try out a product, before going home to buy it online for a better price. Footfalls to malls remain high, but sales decrease.

Customers are more discerning than ever and looking for real value, so if traditional retailers want to survive they will have to adapt and point of sale (POS) software needs to adapt with them.

POS software needs to offer innovative ways to give customers a personalised shopping experience that will keep them coming back for more.

This payment technology will be increasingly designed around customer engagement to create sales. By using Big Data and sensors, stores can completely personalise the shopping experience.

For example, if a company knows a customer has been buying health foods it can alert a customer with an SMS if they’re walking down an aisle with a new gluten free product, or it can let them know if a product they have purchased before is on special the moment. All as and when they walk into the store!

As WiFi becomes more widespread, traditional POS will be integrated with mobile payment solutions. This means there will be complete coverage of both mobile and static payment points, providing the perfect solution for avoiding long queues and irritated customers on unusually high traffic days. Staff can be armed with mobile POS to quickly help customers with payments on the floor. We’ve all seen lost sales opportunities as people abandon loaded trolleys rather than wait.

Self-service checkouts would also be possible with POS software integrated seamlessly into hand-held barcode scanners that let people check the prices of goods.

Have you ever thought about how much information sensors could offer retailers by tracking customer journeys through stores? This, combined with tablets to provide product specifics and interactive information.

Smartphones and tablets could also double as a mobile POS allowing huge flexibility as well as access to customer information and inventory both inside the store and at other branches.

Customer service, stock takes, supply chain management and sales can all be integrated using the right innovative software and Big Data science. The possibilities are endless.

Tech smart customers and businesses are sure to find and complement each other. Will you be amongst them?