Our newly published report, The Point-Of-Service Landscape, Q3 2023, lists the 18 most notable vendors in the space and details the 10 most important use cases that they’re focusing on for clients today. There is renewed interest in the flexibility that modern point-of-service (POS) solutions offer because:

  • The role of the physical store is changing. To satisfy the empowered customer’s expectations for novel and hybrid experiences, a retailer’s POS solution must support a variety of store operating models, including stores as fulfillment hubs.
  • Aging POS systems stifle growth. Complex, often homegrown POS systems aren’t enabling retailers to be adaptive, creative, and resilient — the three core pillars of a future fit technology strategy. Why? Those highly customized, battle-tested POS systems might be reliable, but they’re often siloed from the rest of the business and very expensive to upgrade.
  • Modular architecture enables physical retailers to adapt faster. To reap the benefits of customer obsession, retailers need a technology strategy that is customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected. Increasingly, this means that retailers should look for a strategic technology platform with swappable POS components (e.g., self-checkout) that can be tested and independently deployed. The shift from a monolithic architecture to an open, modular architecture enables retailers to reduce dependencies and accelerate deployment cycles for the functions that matter most.

Today’s POS Solutions Extend Digital Capabilities To The Retail Floor

US retail sales continue to steadily increase, as does the blending of digital and physical experiences. In fact, by 2027, we are forecasting that 70% of US total sales will be digital-influenced. The core (required) functions of a POS solution include optimizing in-store checkout, managing store inventory, and streamlining in-person customer service. These use cases represent a broad set of functionalities that enhance customer experience at the point of purchase and that improve broader store operations in the physical store.

The extended (less common) use cases, however, support in-store customer engagement and store fulfillment. Just a few extended use cases that some POS solutions serve include:

  • Associate clienteling tools. These tools help in-store associates access customer data and deep product information from integrated systems to drive in-store personalized selling and services.
  • Pick and pack orders for store pickup. In-store associate tools support order fulfillment via assigning and accepting orders, picking and staging, and bringing the order to the customer.
  • Pack and ship orders from the store. In-store associate tools support shipping from the store via assigning and accepting orders, picking, and shipping orders to customers.

Questions? Forrester clients can book time with me (an inquiry or guidance session) so I can help answer your questions about this evolving landscape. You can also engage with me on LinkedIn.