How iPad POS Systems Are Changing the Way Retailers Think About Payments

By Aila Staff

September 25, 2019

The point of sale (POS) system—as we’ve come to know it—is changing. With advancements like self-checkout and mobile payments, retailers can no longer count on a single checkout at the front of the store with limited functionality. 

On average, tier-one retailers’ POS systems are 15 years old. These devices are bulky, siloed, and showing their age. As retailers pivot toward more versatile and personalized experiences, they’re finding that modular, tablet-based POS systems are a cost-effective way to future-proof payments in their stores. 

How the iPad became a point of sale

In the early days of digital POS systems, retailers had few options in terms of configuration. Like the early days of computing, these systems performed simple tasks despite their bulky size. Further, consumer expectations around payment options were low—cash or plastic was good enough. 

Driven by digital consumer behaviors and the importance of maximizing floor space at retail locations, POS systems today are tools whose functionality extends far beyond just accepting payments. 

Loyalty sign-up and integration, inventory management, ID verification, and a range of payment options, from QR code scanning to EMV chip and contactless payments are all integral components to the point of sale for many retailers. 

Retailers have turned to consumer tablet-based POS systems that can easily integrate with peripherals and software to enable new payment functionality, with a light footprint. 

The most popular and readily available consumer tablet—the iPad—is a great example of a modular platform for payments. When paired with an enterprise-grade scanner, printer, and mPOS attachment, an iPad can be transformed into a high-performing POS system. 

What is an iPad POS system?

An iPad POS system utilizes the iPad as the main platform for payment-related tasks. iPad POS systems can be placed in an enclosure, on a stand, or used as a standalone device that lets associates accept payments anywhere in the store. 

The value of using the iPad is that it can run any app that is compatible with iOS, making it a great choice for businesses large and small who may want to update their payment platform.  

Further, the iPad can serve as the central platform for a range of other devices that are being used in retail. It can be paired with chip readers and printers over BlueTooth or via USB. This ability makes the iPad an ideal choice for retailers seeking a modular POS solution.

Modularity helps retailers stay relevant

What do retailers, banks, and credit card companies have in common? They all want to play a bigger part in the payment process. By enabling more convenient payment methods, businesses can improve customer experience and increase loyalty. 

Several stores have rolled out QR code payments to reduce lines and streamline the payment process, while also encouraging the use of their retail apps. The Starbucks app is a notable success story, helping to increase app users and boost sales. 

But apps are only part of the story. Contactless payments, including built-in services like Apple Pay and Google Pay are also on the rise

With a modular POS system built on the iPad, retailers can easily add an mPOS option that accepts these and other emerging forms of payment. Further, with the ability to install a range of apps, iPads can accept new forms of payment by simply adding a new feature to their app or a new app to their infrastructure. 

The evolution of retail payments isn’t likely to slow down any time soon. Aila’s iPad-based Interactive Kiosk is a versatile and modular solution for point of sale, self-checkout, and a range of in-aisle experiences.

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