No longer stuck on using cumbersome, green-screen POS terminals, retailers of all sizes are moving broadly toward web-based, touch-screen terminals for ease of use and integration with back-end applications, says research and analysts firm Gartner Inc.
No longer stuck on using cumbersome, green-screen POS terminals, retailers of all sizes are moving broadly toward web-based, touch-screen terminals for ease of use and integration with back-end applications, Jeff Roster, retail industry analyst with Gartner Inc., tells InternetRetailer.com. "Retailers are radically shifting technology in the POS sector," he says. "There`s almost a complete desire within the retail industry to complete a changeover in POS systems by 2006."
Roster says there are two general trends driving the move to new POS systems: The relative ease of training employees on graphically oriented touch-screen terminals, and the ability to integrate web-based POS systems with other applications such as order management and inventory management.
"Retailers used to brag about having POS terminals for 5 or 10 years, and it was not uncommon that employees were forced to use green screens in cumbersome tasks to get anything done," he says. Now, employees can learn new POS systems in days instead of weeks -- a crucial advantage for retail managers facing a typically high employee turnover rate.
Roster notes that that more retailers are recognizing the need to integrate their POS terminals with back-end software applications -- a process made far easier and faster by the ability to transfer data in a web environment. "Retailers have more POS data than any other data, so it only makes sense to tie that POS data to other applications, such as merchandising and marketing." With integrated POS data, for instance, merchandisers can see daily or real-time impact on sales of particular merchandising strategies, instead of having to wait for the more typical weekly batch files of POS data.
Roster adds that integrated POS and customer relationship management systems will become more common, particularly among retailers leveraging sales data in multiple selling channels. "Retailers are very interested in driving multi-channel CRM strategies," he says, adding that web-based POS terminals will make it easier to process store POS data in a CRM application that also processes online sales data. "Links between CRM and POS will be key strategies for the next several years."