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The future of EPOS: How point of sale is transforming the customer experience

The events of the last 12 months have transformed the financial technology sector and catalysed a new wave of innovation that is revolutionising the way we pay, and get paid.

From contactless payments to the rise of e-wallets, one area where this innovation is on clear display is electronic point of sale. EPOS technology is helping businesses both large and small survive, and even thrive, during the pandemic.

This is particularly true for consumer-facing sectors such as retail and hospitality; sectors which have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19 but where the greatest opportunities lie for digital transformation in the purchase journey.

Even prior to 2020, cash was forecast to account for less than 10% of all payments by 2028. But with the recent widespread consumer adoption of new payment technologies, forward-thinking businesses are investing in EPOS and software POS platforms like never before.

To further understand what this will mean for the industry throughout 2021, at phos, we recently asked leading EPOS vendors and e-commerce experts about the trends likely to take centre stage this year. Six key themes emerged in their predictions:

Omnichannel fulfilment: As lockdown restrictions continue to impact consumer behaviour, customer preferences also continue to change. Businesses can adapt by offering a range of fulfilment options for online purchases. Buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), is a good example of how to still deliver a physical retail experience but minimise time in store.

Contactless payments: The convenience of cash alternatives amid social distancing and stringent health and safety protocols has seen contactless payments surge over the last year. As we rapidly move towards a cashless society, merchants will be investing in EPOS and software POS solutions like never before in 2021.

Closer integration of digital and physical retail experiences: Physical retail experiences aren’t going anywhere, but the rate of e-commerce transactions continues to rise. When footfall returns to the high street, shoppers will be looking for better integration between the two, ensuring a truly seamless customer experience.

Flexible payments: In uncertain times, flexibility is key. From the surging popularity of instalment payment options such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) to the resurgence of QR codes, new ways to pay will continue to emerge this year as consumers demand greater choice and convenience to navigate the challenges ahead.

Cloud & SaaS technologies: The pandemic has catalysed years’ worth of digital transformation and consumer acceptance of contactless payments. Businesses must streamline their digital infrastructure in response, replacing outdated software with all-in-one and integrated solutions that will support future growth.

M-commerce: Mobile is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for merchants and is an expected component of the payments mix, thanks to the proliferation of e-wallets and mobile-first experiences. To stay ahead in the coming months, smart money is on mobile and software POS technology that enables shopping ‘on the move’.

The firms that deliver these solutions will transform the customer experience and grow their revenue more quickly in the race to a new, cashless normal. And it will be systems providers that pioneer the technology to support this growth.

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