From Cash Register to Android POS: What’s the Future of Point of Sale?

Several slightly alarmist stories have popped up within the past week about the looming shopping12extinction of the traditional cash register. The Associated Press distributed a widely-read news analysis on how my all too frequent hangout, Barneys New York, is moving exclusively toward using iPads and other mobile POS systems as their point of sale. Even more worrying to the traditional cash register advocate is WalMart’s planned usage of a “Scan-&-Go” app for their checkout POS system. So what to make of all the hype? Are we headed toward a Minority Report-style shopping experience or is there still room for more conventional POS systems?

In with the new(er)

It’s no secret that the world itself is moving increasingly toward mobile. For evidence of this, just look at Google Glass, mobile “meals” for kids sold at Starbucks, HBO Go, or AccuPOS’ own Android POS systems. Did you ever think we’d be able to watch Game of Thrones on an iPhone, pause it, and resume it on a Samsung Smart TV? Probably not. While America usually prides itself on its technological superiority, what we are sorely lagging behind in is our restaurants’ and retail stores’ usage of traditional cash registers.

All the way to the bank

So what is the reason for our country’s stagnant state of credit card processing as a whole? One culprit is our banking system in general. Without incentive to poke a hole in the golden parachute and invest in more secure credit and debit card infrastructure, Visas and Mastercards and AmExes continue to be churned out with their easily-cloned magnetic stripes and without the electronic microchip that is omnipresent in most European credit and debit cards. That said, the Android POS system is probably one of the most advanced POS systems in the U.S. today. We are slowly but surely moving toward progress in the POS era.

Here’s what I think the future of the mobile POS shopping experience looks like:

  • Cash registers are dead on arrival. Not only do Android POS and other mobile point of sale systems make it easier to interact with clients, one could envision clients using their smartphones to shop, scan, and checkout without any personal interaction whatsoever.
  • Cash itself should be put on the endangered species list. While we are not exactly in the state of the Cypriots, the Canadian penny has already been discontinued and it now costs more to produce the U.S. penny than the actual penny is worth.
  • Look toward London. You pay at the table with a mobile POS system, your tip is already calculated into the cost of a meal, and all debit and credit cards are equipped with your own personal microchip. Android POS or not, the mobile revolution will continue to evolve.