We’re all well-versed in how to shop. Head to the store, browse, pick what you want, pay, take your item. Whatever you buy, wherever you buy, it largely follows this process. In fact, the till is probably the only real point of direct and personal interaction between retailer and consumer in many instances.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Tech’s so much blurring the lines between physical and digital as overlaying one on another.” hashtags=”tech, cloud”]

However, this is changing. Technology isn’t so much blurring the lines between physical and digital so much as overlaying one on the other. Cloud, Open APIs and big data have combined to bridge that gap between online and in-store to reshape retail. At the heart of this is the Point of Sale (POS) which is evolving into something much, much more exciting.

This way to pay. Or that way. Actually, any way.

The till has been an integral part of shopping; if you want something you do have to pay for it after all. It’s a single purpose part of the store devoted to the transaction. Thanks to the cloud though, the era of the POS is evolving and being replaced by Points of Interaction (POI). Instead of dedicated tills, an off-the-shelf tablet like you might use at home can do the same job. All the clever stuff including security can be done in the cloud.

For the retailer, this means they are able to turn everyone on the shop floor into roaming sales staff rather than having dedicated members of staff manning the tills. In being able to take payment anywhere, staff can ‘queue bust’ and take payment more efficiently and in a more personal way. For the shopper, this gives them more freedom to pay quickly and conveniently.

[easy-tweet tweet=”In being able to take payment anywhere, staff can ‘queue bust’.” hashtags=”tech, cloud”]

One-time offer, just for you. No really.

Payment has always been something of an island, separate to the rest of the experience. With Open APIs, different data streams can be integrated with one another in real time. A cloud-based POS can bring together payment, loyalty inventory and marketing to create an altogether richer, more personalised POI.

Having all these functions working together helps create an omni-channel retail experience for the consumer. Payment card data can be used to tie a shopper’s online profile with the person in-store. This creates a more complete understanding of each consumer, filling in the gaps. This fuller understanding paves the way for hyper-personalised, relevant marketing. Not just via email or post – but in-store while you pay.

Collecting data is one thing but being able to bring different sources together into once place turns it into something far greater than the sum of its parts.

Real Omni-channel

Omni-channel generates a lot of noise and a lot of column inches – for many retailers it’s where they see their market and their business headed. This means bringing together all channels and creating a consistent experience. Payment is a constant across every channel in retail and can unify a brand’s retail experience.

Cloud, data and the Open APIs which bring these together are creating newer, richer and more personalised retail experiences. As a result, the traditional POS is evolving into something far more exciting; the point of payment will become part of a wider experience in line with the modern-day shopper’s expectations.