Yesterday Manhattan Associates announced the acquisition of mobile point of service (mPOS) provider GlobalBay Technologies.  A few years ago, it might seem odd that a warehouse and order management company would be interested in playing a significant role in the experience of customers and associates on the sales floor. However as we recently covered in our Omnichannel Order Management Wave, the role of distributed order management has been elevated and is now key to meeting customer’s rising expectations. Along with orchestrating orders across all inventory locations, omnichannel order management systems (OMS) are already taking orders in the call center, handling fraud management, and providing mobile utilities for associates to fulfill orders from stores. Moving into the point of service (POS) space with an mPOS solution is a logical evolution for Manhattan Associates since it combines enterprise inventory visibility, order management, and order capture all under one roof. In addition this acquisition provides a stronger differentiator from their largest competitor IBM, who exited the legacy POS market in 2012.

So what does this mean for POS moving forward?  Three distinct solutions are now possible, including:

  • Existing POS vendors maintain dominance and continue to own the transaction in-store. This will require these solutions to rapidly advance their capabilities to meet the growing needs of omnichannel retailers, including empowering associates to move beyond order taking by augmenting their hardened POS applications with integrations into customer relationship management (CRM), OMS, inventory management, and content management.
  • Commerce suites own all transactions across all touchpoints. Increasingly large commerce suites are building or partnering with mPOS solutions with a goal to centralize the commerce function across stores and web, removing redundant commerce functions.  This solution is potentially favorable since eCommerce suites already have integrations to enterprise systems such as CRM, OMS, and content management systems. In addition, pricing and personalization capabilities can be leveraged across multiple touchpoints, creating a unified experience for omnichannel customers.
  • Omnichannel order management platforms own all transactions across all touchpoints. The benefit for omnichannel fulfillment has been established and the role of OMS has moved from a back-office system to a mission-critical retail store utility. Augmenting the enterprise product and order visibility of OMS with POS capabilities will create an efficient and elegant commerce solution for both customers and associates to understand the supply (product) and demand (customer needs) and to facilitate a transaction regardless of product location or customer touchpoint. 

We are in a very dynamic period of commerce technology convergence, one that is being driven by the rapidly growing expectations of customers.  Both omnichannel retailers and the vendors that supply them with solutions are also rapidly evolving to meet the new needs of digital customers, and the inevitable victim of this disruption will be legacy point of sale solutions.