The Future of Software is Here

Your point-of-sale system is one of the biggest touch points inside your dry cleaning and laundry space. A quick, effective and secure transaction goes a long way toward reinforcing positive feelings about your business and ends each encounter with a customer on a high note.

Of course, not all POS systems are created equal. Some offer new or different features that make them more agile and effective.

From customers demanding a more personalized experience to businesses relying on data to make smarter business decisions, a POS system is at the center of it all. It’s the intersection where business logic and real-time business transactions meet, and it’s where all the action happens. Today an efficient POS system is an indispensable tool for any modern-day brick-and-mortar retail location.

It’s essential to stay on top of the latest trends in POS technology. To be a proactive participant in your software partner’s development efforts. To influence the technical upgrade priorities essential to navigating the opportunities ahead. Here are a few point-of-sale trends to watch for in the near future.

Increase in mobile payments and tablet POS

Cash and cash registers are a thing of the past. Shoppers have more options than ever — from credit, debit and prepaid cards to contactless payments and making purchases via electronic apps — all of which offer a variety of advantages that cash can’t touch. Cashless payments provide speed, convenience, guaranteed payment for merchants and security and transparency for both consumers and merchants. In fact, 73% of shoppers say they use less cash than in the past and 8 of 10 customers worldwide use a tablet, smartphone, a computer or some form of digital technology to shop and get the best deals. Not only that, but 82% of customers say they first refer to their mobile devices to find out more about any purchase they’re about to make in a store.

Adoptions of cloud technology

In today’s digital environment, it’s critical that management have their store transactions or sales data accessible quickly from their smartphone, tablet or desktop wherever they are. That’s where cloud technology comes into play, as with cloud-based solutions, the POS software, services and data are provided to the user, on-demand, from the service provider’s servers.

The biggest advantage of using a cloud-based POS solution is that management can do everything from easily accessing their data to upgrading their software across all the stores at the same time. Multiple stores can be updated and upgraded in just minutes, which makes doing business easier. And because cloud POS is provided as a service, new features can be developed and released by the provider quicker than was possible with a client-server POS.

A seamless personalized customer experience

A critical factor for success in today’s highly competitive market environment is the proper and timely use of technology to enhance customer relationships and improve the quality of the customer experience — all while streamlining the daily activities of your establishment.

Personalization is key according DM News, as 79% of consumers said that they will only engage with a brand if their promotional offers are customized to how they have interacted with that brand before, and in another survey, 91% of consumers said they tend to shop with businesses who are aware, can recall and give offers and suggestions relevant to them.

How does your POS system factor into this equation?

POS capabilities aren’t limited to providing a better understanding of the financial workings of your business. They’re critical when it comes to leveraging data more efficiently and effectively across all areas of the business, including customer relationship management (CRM). Owners that use their CRM dashboards can more effectively segment marketing and coordinate sales and promotions based on their interests and shopping habits.

The impact of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already having a huge impact on the retail sector, with 15% of businesses currently deploying AI in their POS systems and 31% of businesses planning to implement AI within a year, according to CMO by Adobe. POS systems that employ AI can now remind businesses to fulfill an order or replenish stock, notify businesses about evolving customer behavior, alert them to new product trends, give recommendations on which customers should be re-engaged, suggest promotions to carry-out and evaluate sales trends.

AI as used with POS systems can also integrate all payment experiences, real and online — mobile apps, chat payments, Instagram/social payment, purchases from your website and payments in your store — which help to provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience.

Automated POS analytics can find out in real time what consumers buy and when they buy it

These two pieces of information alone provide a wealth of leverageable data. On the individual level, analytics can tell you who your customers are and the kinds of offers and rewards they’re most likely to respond to. When applied in the aggregate, this capability offers rapid and highly accurate insights about a company’s location, peak hours of operation, inventory, customer demographics and more which it can use to shape the brand, modify products and services, reduce operational costs, increase operational efficiencies and more optimally serve customers. With artificial intelligence and machine learning, a store manager can get insights using actionable analytics and get to know customers buying patterns and give discounts according to that. Which facilitates personalized attention and recommendation from sales staff.

Intelligent POS makes marketing even smarter

AI will help marketers get better at learning their customers’ needs and preferences and then generating products, services, offers and discounts as the opportunities arise – or even before. AI sees the world from a different perspective than the human mind. Human minds are prone to making biased decisions, stemming from our innate cognitive biases. AI eliminates bias by focusing entirely on data, as data, indeed, has a better idea. Not only can AI be trained to achieve a deeper understanding of customer behavior, but it also gets smarter with time. The more it’s used, the more it calibrates itself to give meaningful and accurate insights.

AI is your new CSR

Why not use machine learning to automatically check in a customer’s clothing. Daisuke Tahara’s family owns eight dry cleaners in Tagawa, Japan. He is a self-taught coder who developed and integrated AI technology by taking 40,000+ pictures of garments to train his software code to recognize a suit, dress, blouse simply by taking a picture of the inbound garment. Imagine not having to describe garments from selections off a computer screen menu. Envision your customers using a self-check in kiosk, laying their clothes on a table with a camera mounted overhead that gives the garments a look, then displays its verdict (two shirts, one jacket) for confirmation on a tablet computer. Amazing.

Use of data and analytics

Last but certainly not least, POS systems are evolving to provide a plethora of data and analytics that can help you make smarter, data-driven decisions about your business. In order to personalize and enhance the customer experience, you have to know who your customer is, and that can be done through analyzing data and analytics through your POS. Today’s POS software should provide not only the most important business data like sales, revenue or transaction volume, but also drill down into great detail.

Looking ahead to the future

As POS technology continues to evolve — becoming more intelligent and ingrained into core business operations — owners will have every opportunity to create a smart retail environment that not only offers the products customers want, but also the ideal customer experience.

About Lenny Gershater

Lenny Gershater has served the drycleaning Industry for 30+ years as a software sales executive for leading POS organizations. As a former owner/operator, familiar with the daily challenges, he has helped hundreds of drycleaning and laundry owners resolve their bottlenecks and achieve their specific business goals through cost effective software solutions.

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