Is Mobile POS Really the Way to Get Rid of Queues?

July 14, 2015Perry Kuklin

Earlier this year, Forbes contributor, Micah Solomon published an article highlighting the value of mobile POS systems as a way to eliminate checkout lines in retail and put the focus on the customer experience. He built his case by explaining first, waiting lines should be eliminated from retail entirely, and second, mobile POS systems can accomplish this. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we absolutely recommend solutions that allow retail customers to avoid standing in a physical waiting line. However, we think that some retailers who adopt mobile POS may be missing the mark by failing to realize one important thing: Even with a system that enables customer service folks to roam throughout a store (Apple-style) and handle customer transactions, there is the potential for lines to form. These haphazard lines tend to look more like a crowd gathering than any sort of organized queue. And with this situation comes a number of unintended consequences. First, without an organized queue (virtual or physical) customers who are ready to check out will have to locate a customer service rep and hope there aren’t already a number of customers “gathered around” waiting for the same service. Second, when lines do form around a service rep, there is no way to enforce the first-come-first-served rule. Customers are essentially left to “jockey” for their place in the makeshift line and hope they are not bypassed or overlooked by the service employee. This can be frustrating for customers and actually diminish the customer experience the retailer was attempting to bolster in the first place. So, what’s the answer? We contend that in addition to mobile POS, retailers need to consider virtual queuing, also managed through mobile. A virtual queuing system run through your existing mobile app or through a tablet kiosk placed within the store allows customers to register for service and then continue to shop until their time is up. When they’ve reached the front of the line, they’ll be notified via text to approach the available customer service cashier for checkout. Virtual queuing plus mobile POS can be the winning combo you’re looking for to improve the customer experience by eliminating checkout lines, bringing customer service out onto the retail floor, and avoiding unintended bottlenecks.

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