Channel Surfing

Mobile channel opens temporary POS possibilities for retailers

Retailers are taking advantage of the mobile channel for an increasing number of activities, including personalized marketing, in-store traffic monitoring and customer recognition. However, while using the mobile channel to create temporary POS stations might be less flashy than some of these other applications, letting customers “surf” between fixed and mobile POS terminals can be an effective means of improving both the customer experience and store profitability.

A Night at the Opera

“We use temporary mobile POS stations both in the gift shop and more frequently in the opera house during performances,” said Hope Van Winkle, director of merchandising for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. “Our season runs from September to May, and we have the American Ballet Theatre in the summer for six days a week. There are tables in the house selling merchandise related to the performance that are essential, but not permanent. They go up and down nightly.”

Metropolitan Opera has been using temporary mobile POS terminals to ease sales at the temporary tables and also reduce crowding in the gift shop since 2008. In 2012, the retailer switched to a mobile solution based on Motion Computing CL910 Slate Mate hardware and Celerant Command POS software. This solution provides Metropolitan Opera with a single view of inventory across all channels, which it previously lacked.

“We have two mobile POS stations in the house and two in the store,” Van Winkle explained. “It has improved the customer experience because we don’t have more fixed stations where they are purchasing goods. The gift shop is small and gets packed during ‘go in’ before a performance; mobile checkout helps ease long lines. When you’re buying something you want it done. The customers love it.”

Metropolitan Opera is pleased enough with its POS “channel surfing” during peak times that it is continuing to look at opportunities to expand its use of mobile POS within the opera house.

“We are looking at ways to use mobile POS more efficiently,” Van Winkle added. “We’re planning on relocating the fixed registers in the gift shop. It would be nice not to have them at all.”

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