Retail Revolution: How Data is Reshaping Point of Sale Systems

Pointing the way

Point of sale systems are no longer just about sales, it is increasingly about data capture, and using that data to help businesses to run more efficiently through inventory management and providing insights into things like sales trends to help maximise selling opportunities.

In retail, competition is fierce. In physical shops, retailers are not just competing against their rivals on the high street, but online too. Understandably, retailers are looking for any advantage they can glean to get ahead of the competition and ensure that customers keep spending with them. 

Increasingly, this is done through data. More data than ever is being produced by connected equipment and retailers are harnessing it to gain insights into sales trends and inventory.

This is part of the reason why demand for point of sale (PoS) solutions are rising. As Taylor Smith from Honeywell Productivity Solutions and Services notes, demand for PoS solutions will continue to climb into the future, pointing to a prediction by Mordor Intelligence that the market will grow at a 12.8% CAGR in Europe between 2024 and 2029. “Customers want the speed and convenience of PoS technology to make their shopping experience frictionless,” he says. “In parallel, retailers are looking to use the technology to help control theft, including during self-checkouts.

“Data capture [DC] at the point of sale will be imperative for retailers looking to the future. Harnessing the data and gleaning customer insights from that data will help retailers further drive personalisation, improved customer experiences and more efficiency in store operations.

“PoS technology can capture a variety of data, such as what products are more likely to be purchased at a certain time of day, where types of purchases occur throughout a store’s floorplan, customers’ typical basket size and how successful various promotions are in driving sales. This data can be a goldmine for retailers in making decisions about product placement, crafting seasonal campaigns and determining how best to deploy associate resources.”

Data driven    

Phil Reynolds, EMEA channel account manager at Zebra, agrees that the future of retail is becoming increasingly data driven. “And the role of PoS systems is evolving to match this trend,” he says. “PoS systems have traditionally been about sales transactions, but today it’s about so much more. It’s about data capture and leveraging that data to run businesses more efficiently, manage inventory effectively and provide insights into sales trends to maximise selling opportunities.”

He adds that Zebra’s barcode scanners are helping to enable this shift. “A Zebra scanner is not just a barcode reader; it’s a data capture system that bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds of retail,” he says. “It captures data at the point of sale, turning every transaction into a source of actionable business intelligence. This data helps businesses understand their operations in real-time, enabling them to react quickly to changing market conditions and customer behaviour patterns. A Zebra barcode scanner gives the ability to scan dirty, damaged barcodes and streamline day-to-day management. Zebra anticipates every challenge so you can scan anything, anywhere, no matter what.

“In addition to the advanced data capture capabilities, Zebra barcode scanners also offer superior scanner management features, they are equipped with a comprehensive suite of management tools that allow retailers to track and manage their scanners remotely. This functionality is not only convenient, but it also significantly reduces the time and effort required to manage these devices.

“For instance, businesses can monitor scanner battery life, track usage patterns and even update software or configurations remotely. This means they can ensure their scanners are always operating at peak performance, without physically checking each device. Moreover, if a scanner encounters a problem, the management tool can notify the appropriate personnel immediately, reducing downtime and maintaining productivity.

“Importantly, these management tools are designed with simplicity in mind. They are easy to use, even for non-tech-savvy users. This means businesses can manage their scanners more effectively, without needing specialist IT skills.”

More personal

As well as wanting more data, customers also  want technology that can make their shopping experience quicker, smoother and more personalised to their individual needs, notes Taylor. “They want to avoid waiting in long lines while at the same time keeping their transaction accurate and their data secure,” he says. 

“Recent analyses also show that shoppers are increasingly seeking contactless payment options at the point of sale: Barclays data showed that the typical UK shopper makes £3,620 worth of contactless payments over
a year.”  

Reseller role

With retailers increasingly looking to DC/PoS systems, resellers have a crucial role to play in helping them to get the right solutions for their needs.

“They can do this by understanding the specific needs and challenges of their customers and recommending solutions that address these needs,” says Phil. “For instance, a small retailer might need a simple, cost-effective DC/PoS system, while a large retailer might need a more complex system with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. 

“By partnering with Zebra, resellers can offer a range of barcode scanners that meet these diverse needs so they can more efficiently, manage inventory, and maximise selling opportunities, ensuring they are well-equipped for the future of retail.”

Future of DC/PoS systems

DC/PoS systems are set to play a big part in the future of retail, and demand is set to continue to rise, as mentioned, especially with the trend for increasingly personalising shopping experiences for individuals.

“As long as customers demand personalisation and experiential shopping, adoption of POS technology will continue to grow,” says Taylor. “Capturing customer-specific information is a critical component to ensuring personalised shopper journeys.”