Smartphones have dramatically changed the shopping experience. Before the smartphone, customers depended on sales staff for even basic information – and getting that info was often a tedious process. To check stock, for example, a salesperson had to leave the sales floor and inspect the back room.
Today, smartphones give customers instantaneous access to everything from product ratings to competitor’s prices. Customers no longer have patience for slow or uninformed staff. If a clerk leaves to check stock, for example, the customer can buy the item online instead of waiting around.
To keep up, sales staff need their own mobile tech – specifically, mobile point-of-sale (MPOS). These go-anywhere tablets let staff complete transactions on the sales floor, giving customers the speedy service they expect (Figure 1). MPOS also let salespeople do price matching, review product ratings, and show customers alternative items. Clerks can even check backroom stock online – and if a product is out of stock, the customer can order it on the spot, avoiding a lost sale.
Figure 1. Tablets let staff complete transactions on the sales floor.
MPOS tablets also enable the same personalization consumers get online. By looking up a customer’s purchase history, sales staff can recommend related items and more easily upsell higher-priced items. Suppose a customer had purchased a charm bracelet. The salesperson could see which charms the customer bought, and encourage them to buy new charms that complement their previous purchase.
Tablets based on Intel® processors offer a number of other important advantages. First among these is flexibility. As illustrated in Figure 2, members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance offer tablets in a wide variety of form factors and configurations, giving retailers the freedom to choose a system that meets their unique needs.
Figure 2. Retailers can chose from a wide range of tablets. Maximum configurations shown.
Perhaps most importantly, Intel processor-based tablets let retailers choose between Microsoft* Windows* and Android*. Each retailer has its own IT integration requirements and technical support capabilities, and OS flexibility makes it considerably easier to find an optimal solution.
Unlike consumer-grade tablets, these MPOS solutions are designed specifically for professional use. The tablets are ruggedized for hectic environments and secured against theft of valuable data. They can be equipped with retail-specific features like magnetic strip readers (MSR), contactless payment systems, and barcode scanners. Swappable batteries and external battery packs support all-day use.
MPOS systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor are particularly appealing for store managers. These systems combine blazing speed with exceptional energy efficiency to deliver the capabilities of a laptop in a tablet. With the ability to use productivity software anywhere in the store, managers can check worker schedules, verify inventory, and observe sales trends while aiding the sales effort. What’s more, managers can plug these systems into a detachable keyboard when they return to their offices, unleashing the full productivity of a laptop.
The Dell* Venue 11 Pro 7140 is a great example of an Intel Core M processor-based MPOS solution. This Microsoft* Windows* 8.1-based tablet combines performance and portability with an ability to integrate into existing Windows environments. The 2-in-1 design offers the convenience of a detachable keyboard for a laptop experience (Figure 3).
Figure 3. The Dell Venue 11 Pro offers 2-in-1 convenience.
The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140 can also be equipped with a payment sleeve that adds useful features like MSR, 1D/2D barcode scanner, and hand straps (Figure 4). These features turn the tablet into a remarkably powerful yet convenient MPOS solution.
Figure 4. The payment sleeve is packed with convenient features.
Retailers can also choose a tablet powered by Intel® Atom™ processors, which offer excellent energy efficiency for responsive performance that can last an entire shift. A good example here is the Aava Inari. This tablet family comes in 8.3” and 10.1” sizes, and supports both Microsoft Windows 8, and Android 4.4. The 8.3” version supports an integrated MSR reader for easy payment processing (Figure 5).
Figure 5. The Aava Inari supports an integrated card reader.
These tablets are just a small sample of the MPOS solutions available from the Alliance. To learn more about your options, check out my recent article Personalize Retail with Secure Interactivity as well as the product listings in our constantly updated Solutions Directory.
Contact featured members:
Solutions in this blog:
Advantech and Dell OEM are Premier members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. Venture Corporation is an Associate member of the Alliance. Aava and EBN Technology Corp. are General members of the Alliance.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance
Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine
Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston