Death to the Cash Register: Tablets the Future of Retail?

Tablets, with regards to commerce, are typically seen as tools for consumers to purchase goods online, on-the-go. But they are quickly serving another purpose. Turns out, they're killing the cash register.

Clever retailers have found a way to bring tablets into bricks-and-mortar stores—and consumer reception is thus far very positive. These mobile devices, which act as point-of-sale devices, allow staff to move about the store instead of being stuck behind the cash register. And when a consumer wants to make a purchase, they don't have to line up in front of a counter—the nearest employee can make the sale right from the tablet, where in the store.

A recent report, titled Mobile Shopping Survey, found that 22% of smartphone-owning consumers have visited stores where tablets were used as POS devices—and 57% of those consumers percieve these retailers as more innovative than register-only stores. The study, sponsored by AisleBuyer, revealed that 60% of smartphone owners also consider sales staff more useful when on the sales floor wielding a tablet than trapped behind the register.

Of course, tablets can't actually take cash, which means the death of the cash register is likely many years away. But credit and debit cards have long been on the rise in usage, and now paying by smartphone is emerging as a major trend.

“The cash register has a new rival. We’re seeing increased interest from retailers in supplementing and potentially replacing traditional registers with a tablet-based mobile POS or store associate solution,” said Andrew Paradise, founder and chief executive officer of AisleBuyer. “Equipped with a tablet, store employees can do much more than just help customers check out. Now, they can share product information, show video demos and suggest related products—making them a more valuable and profitable part of the in-store sale.”

Photo: Deniz Kumral

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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