Mobile POS vs. Traditional Systems: The Pros and Cons

Posted by Jim Walker
Mobile POS

Mobile POS

Mobile POS (point of sale) is the latest retail technology advance to make an appearance on sales floors across the country. While these new systems have significant retail advantages, there are some areas where traditional POS systems still have the advantage. Both options have pros and cons, so it’s vital to take everything into consideration before you decide which is right for your business.

Mobile POS Systems – The Pros

The top advantage of a mobile POS system is its flexibility and, of course, its mobility. Mobile systems can provide many benefits, including:

  • Reducing wait times in checkout lines by allowing additional checkout options when and where customers need them
  • Allowing purchases to be made quickly on the floor, securing a sale before the customer changes his or her mind after further browsing and thought
  • Handling temporary increases in checkout needs, including during high-traffic times such as sales or holidays
  • Allowing POS checkouts to be set up wherever it is needed most, whether across multiple departments or multiple store locations
  • Setting up POS checkouts at off-site locations such as farmer’s markets, expos, bazaars, sidewalk sales, and other locations
  • Quick assistance on the floor for customers seeking a particular product

The other major benefit to mobile POS systems is that they are considerably more affordable than large, traditional systems. They’re lightweight and take up less space, giving a streamlined look and feel to your sales and your brand perception.

Mobile POS Systems – The Cons

While there are a great number of major benefits to mobile systems, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Things that may create issues include:

  •  The requirement for a solid wireless connection, the loss of which can result in lost sales and customer frustration
  • Their small size means they are easier to steal, creating a security risk
  • Small mobile stations on the floor aren’t designed to handle purchases of a large number of items, which require more of a traditional checkout system
  • Customers may be wary of the security level of mobile systems

Traditional POS Systems – The Pros

Traditional POS systems have been in place stably for a long time, and they have advanced greatly in terms of security and design. Among the positive factors of traditional systems to keep in mind are:

  • They offer a higher level of security and are very difficult to steal, creating greater peace of mind for your business
  • Customers are familiar with these systems and feel comfortable using them to process sensitive data such as their credit card numbers
  • They allow processing of large numbers of items more quickly via fast scanning, and they have a more robust setup to deal with removal of security tags, folding, and bagging of items

Traditional POS Systems – The Cons

There are a few things a traditional POS system simply can’t do, and many of the negatives are a reflection issues that have led to the increased popularity of mobile systems.

  •  Bulky traditional POS systems can’t be moved from location to location to serve customers as needed
  • They can create longer lines for customers and result in wait times that may lead to buyers changing their minds or becoming frustrated
  • They’re expensive and require a lot of space, both of which add up when you need a larger number of checkout stands

The Bottom Line

Both mobile and traditional POS systems have great features, and they each meet the needs of customers in different ways. For many retailers, a combination of these systems is becoming the best solution to providing a comprehensive POS solution.

The decision to go mobile often will depend on how many of the pros of mobile systems apply to your particular business, or whether the benefits provided by a traditional system are more in line with your needs.

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