We’ve probably all dealt with those custom point of sale kiosks at grocery stores and department stores. A touchscreen computer and scanner now sit in the space once occupied by a warm body. Automating functions of cash registers has saved companies millions of dollars on the payroll, but are these machines the wave of the future? If automated check out systems are the future point of sales, we should all get used to them. But how exactly will we interact with these machines? In 50 years will we be feeding crisp dollar bills into slots? Will we be swiping our credit cards? Here are just a few of the payment methods you might want to consider incorporating into your electronic point of sale.
This service is relatively small (after 2 years of business it had about 15,000 users and sold for $100,000), but it offers an interesting look at the possible future of payment. The service is mostly used by charities. The organization will post a solicitation for donations and users can retweet that post. This constitutes a transfer of funds. The service charges 5 percent of each transaction.
Companies like Mastercard and Google have already introduced services that let customers pay for goods and services by simply waving their phones in front of scanners. In 2011 Mastercard reported that electronic payments were accounting for a greater and greater share of the companies overall profits. If this trend continues, businesses will have no choice but to adapt.
It may seem strange to list PayPal as a future player in the currency industry, but the designation is well warranted. The company, which was purchased by eBay in 2002, has been notoriously private about its coding. That is, until late 2009, when they released their code to the open internet. Within two months, 15,000 developers had used the open code to synthesize new programs that ultimately poured $15 million back into PayPal’s coffers. With that many programmers tinkering with the code, it seems almost improbable that the next great payment idea will involve PayPal.
The takeaway should be obvious: make sure your electronic point of sale is capable of accepting the latest technology. Keep in mind however, that technology trends come and go. What’s on the cover of Wired Magazine today might be out of business tomorrow. Do your homework and talk to your customers about their preferred payment options. If you start to notice trends, act accordingly.