As more consumers opt to make purchases on their smartphones, it only makes sense that evolving technology gives small business owners the ability to make more sales directly from their mobile devices. Smartphones have become increasingly smarter, giving business owners the ability to do everything from deposit checks and view account balances to track sales and schedule package deliveries. Now, thanks to portable payment readers and their accompanying apps, smartphones have evolved into wireless cash registers, able to take and process payments anywhere.
The Growth of Point of Sale Apps and Readers
POS apps and readers are quickly catching on, thanks in large part to their convenience and low cost. Not only are most POS apps free—the readers are, too. Small business owners are no strangers to keeping expenses down, so this technological advancement is something that’s especially appealing. PayPal has a version that they’ll send to you once you download the smartphone app. Another popular choice is Square, which has become so widespread that the payment reader is now available for a nominal fee at Walmart, as well as directly from the company’s website.
To get your mobile credit card services up and running, you’ll need to pay fees on the transactions themselves. Companies typically offer two fee-based options: pay a percentage of the transaction or pay a consistent monthly fee.
The Benefits of a Mobile Cash Register
What’s especially interesting is that using your smartphone as a cash register isn’t something that’s unique only to small businesses. Head into an Apple store and you’ll see sales associates equipped with phones that can quickly process credit card payments from anywhere in the store.
A National Retail Federation survey in early 2012 showed that 6 percent of retail businesses are following Apple’s payment-on-the-go model–and in 12 to 18 months, that number was expected to climb to nearly 50% of the retailers surveyed, according to the data. This sort of explosive adoption isn’t necessarily surprising–technology is changing the way we do business, and customers are quickly adapting to a more convenient, fast-paced sales process that’s becoming increasingly tied to smartphones.
Just as you’d refine your website or content based on data and analytics, it’s important for small business owners to stay tuned into their customers and offer them the purchase experience they want. Because POS apps and readers are so low-cost, it’s worth experimenting to see if your customers appreciate the faster, more mobile transaction process. You might find that you make more sales, too, now that you can do business anywhere you have smartphone service—and that means your customers won’t just be happier; you’ll make more money, too.
Have you tried a POS app and reader for your business? How has it worked for you so far?
Dar Dowling is a New York City-based writer, blogger, and artist who writes for a variety of websites, magazines and blogs about topics ranging from personal finance and business to real estate, architecture and entertainment. She’s currently gearing up to publish her first graphic novel and a children’s book.