By: Steve Olenski, Forbes Contributor
Earlier this week I scribed Why Retailers Need To Get Comfy And Cozy With Brand Ambassadors This Holiday Season which spoke directly to the need for those in the retail marketing space to engage and relate to their most valuable customers, AKA their brand ambassadors.
Well those same retailers may want to, if they have not already, think about installing and implementing a new Point Of Sale (POS) system whereby iPads replace the traditional cash register.
Now, if I were say at a stadium that would be a different story. We’ve all experienced the incessant standing in line at a concession stand during a sporting event or concert, etc.
The need for speed is never greater than when you want to get back to the action as fast as humanly possible.
Based upon recent news, I would say the future has arrived on a much larger scale as earlier this year Alabama State University (ASU) stadium became home to the first iPad POS on such a large and grandiose scale. During the very first game of the year, Gourmet Services (the concession vendor at the stadium) put their new Revel Systems’ iPad POS system to the test and rang up a record 5,721 transactions in just a few hours.
Brian Webb from ASU was very impressed with the iPad IOS system and thinks every stadium can benefit from such a platform. “Definitely every stadium can benefit from something this. Having this kind of system improves our bottom line and saves us time,” he said.
For Alfred Baker, executive vice-president at Gourmet Services, it all comes to time as in time saved on both training and inventory. “Revel Systems’ iPad POS runs so much faster than the registers we were using before,” said Baker. “In just 30 minutes we had all of our staff trained on the POS. Best of all, we are saving a minimum of five hours a week on inventory. For example, we stocked 10,000 bottles for the game and only sold 3,000. Before Revel, we would have to count the remaining stock in each stand in order to place the order for the next game. Now I can just check all that from my computer or smartphone at any time, even as the game is in progress. Managing reports for 30 terminals was very time intensive, and with Revel it’s a breeze.”
I had a chance to dig a little deeper with Lisa Falzone, CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems.
Steve Olenski: What makes the Revel platform so unique and unlike any other?
Lisa Falzone: People graduate from other digital register apps to our POS platform for several reasons. Business owners are really seeking to streamline every aspect of their business without sacrificing high quality hardware, powerful business intelligence reporting, accessibility of the cloud and the best third party integrations, and that’s where Revel comes in to play. The Revel Systems iPad point-of-sale solution is built with speed, security and accessibility in mind. Since we’ve evolved our solution based on customer feedback, there are many features that our customers love but most owners comment on how our hybrid architecture really sets us apart. We are the only company with “offline mode,” which means we have the speed of a local server but operate with the security and accessibility of the cloud. If you lose power for a minute or your Wi-Fi goes out, you can continue to operate and proceed with business as usual.
Other systems have to sync to the cloud constantly, so they slows down operations. But since we are cloud-based, users can access all of their data from any smart device at any time, and that is having a great impact on the way that our users conduct their business. Since the mobility of our solution gives business owners the peace of mind they need we’ve had managers tell us they were actually able to take a vacation since they were still able to see what their sales reports look like on a Saturday afternoon at 2pm from the beach.
Olenski: What are some of the brands/industries you work with?
Falzone: Revel is an extremely and scalable model, so the sky is the limit regarding who is a fit for our system. We have strong footholds in retail, grocery, food services (restaurants, quick-serve, fast food, food trucks, etc.), and events (i.e. Alabama State University and the Orange County Fair), but we have worked with some really interesting boutiques as well. In essence, we can work with any vendor or establishment that wants more than just a register. We work with large franchises like Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, retail companies like Beachbody as well as non-profits like Goodwill.
Olenski: What does the future hold for POS for retailers and retail marketers?
Falzone: It’s a really exciting time right now for connected devices and payments. The innovation from web 2.0 has really started to migrate to hardware and customer experiences into the service sector. We are seeing four main trends for the customer service sector.
- Connected devices – Our POS system connects wirelessly to digital menu boards, kitchen display units and even customer alert screens to enhance both front and back of the house operations. We focused on creating an ecosystem for our products and customers so they can choose the innovations they want to use.
- Payments and ordering – Revel is investing a lot into online ordering and payment options. As a society, we work online and offline for everyday transactions. Businesses will want more ways to be discovered and figure out how to accept any kinds of payments from bit coin to credit cards. We are moving toward a mobile & cashless society. Customers want service on demand, and we are defining next practices for the service industry on how to enhance the customer experience but also streamline operations.
- CRM for everyone – IT is being applied to customers and inventory. People are expecting mass personalized solutions and deals, and the industry is exploring new ways to leverage data to deliver special offers for these people. Loyalty & reward cards are only the beginning.
- Data – Customers are open to and want to explore their data. Big data is a buzzword, but we are watching customers learn from their establishment data and use that to make strategic business decisions based on data driven insights. This might be as simple as knowing what size jeans are not selling, or how to cut costs by changing which type of pastries you stock. We are giving business the tools to make better decisions
Is iPad POS Right For Every Retailer?
Only time will tell of course, however in a survey conducted earlier this year 56 percent of businesses indicated they plan to implement mobile technology systems using the iPad while another 38 percent plan on using iPhones.
If time management and inventory control (among others) are important to retailers – and they are surely are, I would say the future is definitely headed down a tablet-driven POS world.