How is Asian retail sector becoming a growth hub for POS terminals?
The retail industry has been changing consistently, coercing the evolution of point of sale (POS) terminals, with regards to the technology used and the role they play in driving the success of a business. From the adoption of cloud technology to becoming an enabler of daily transactions at supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies and warehouses, POS systems are now an inevitable sight around business environments.
The convenience and speed of transactions made possible by POS retail systems, that can be easily customized as per requirements, has fueled their adoption across small and medium sized enterprises. It has also warranted constant efforts by top industry players to stay ahead of the competition.
Toshiba Corporation, established as the major point of sale systems provider, had recently teamed up with a leading SD-WAN Edge applications and services provider to expand the operations of its Toshiba TCx Elevate digital commerce platform to the cloud, for retailers across Asia Pacific. The deal indicates a constant need for innovating to meet changing customer requirements, in an age where growing amount of data is needed to make critical business decisions.
Point of sale machine and software providers have felt the necessity to develop solutions based on emerging trends like cloud and mobile POS, as well as for tapping into the future potential across host of business domains. For example, Square Inc. generally delivers retail-focused POS application on the cloud, but will now also offer Square for Restaurants, a version developed for full-service restaurants and bars.
The move has evidently affirmed the growing significance of mPOS and IoT devices across distinct industry verticals. Testing of self-service retail stores and kiosks in the U.S., China and other nations have prompted considerable research and development activities to secure a firm competitive position in the POS industry over the coming years.
Although traditional point of sale machines account for a major chunk of the global POS terminals market share, remarkable advancements in technology and surging efforts to strengthen the future of payments will fuel the deployment of biometric POS retail systems.
Biometric POS and its scope in the retail sector
In terms of technology, biometric POS systems could include machines that are either equipped with a biometric module themselves or can read biometric cards. A key factor driving the adoption of these systems could be the security aspect, in addition to providing as many payment and authentication options for mobile POS as possible.
For instance, Ingenico’s biometric smart POS offers a combination of 3 authentication factors – Chip, PIN and fingerprint verification, along with multiple payment methods. As personal attributes are considered much more difficult to forge or copy, biometric-based POS are deemed more secure than traditional ones.
From a consumer point of view, products like biometric cards allow an additional layer of security while maintaining a seamless transaction experience. Forgetting a debit card or credit card PIN is quite common, and so is the theft of personal identification. For retailers and other businesses, integrating biometrics with POS terminals can provide benefits like accurate employee identification, theft and payroll information.
The U.S. Department of Commerce states that businesses in the country lose more than $50 billion every year on account of employee dishonesty and time theft, demonstrating the massive potential for biometric-based POS systems.
Opportunities for Asia Pacific POS terminals market
Housing a majority of the global population, Asia Pacific (APAC) is a leading market for retailers, healthcare firms, hospitality and fast food businesses. The region is home to numerous emerging economies that have been experiencing digital transformation at a rapid pace, by increasingly adopting plastic money and digital payment solutions.
According to the Reserve Bank of India, there were a total of nearly 50.3 million credit cards and 840.6 million debit cards in operation in India as of July 2019. A tremendous surge in the daily usage of credit and debit cards can be attributed to the demonetization efforts of the Indian government.
While supermarkets, malls and large retail outlets were a hub for deploying the latest in POS software, machine and payments technology, smaller stores and food merchants in the country have begun implementing mPOS solutions to ensure consumers have different options to pay.
Other developing nations in APAC such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are witnessing substantial initiatives aimed at transforming the payments space, which will inadvertently impact the global POS terminals industry. Vietnam, for example, had set a target in 2017 of becoming a 90% cashless economy by 2020, through lesser number of cash transaction and more electronic payments.
Considering the fact that around 90% of transactions in the country were being done with cash at the time, there still exists a vast number of opportunities for cloud-based POS software and service providers in the region. APAC point of sale terminals market forecast will also be significantly influenced by the gradual implementation of biometric-based POS machines.
Prominent developments in secure POS technologies have emerged from the constant threat of personal information and loss of debit or credit cards. Biometric cards and POS retail systems could be a key to unlocking a more secure and reliable payments, inventory, data and employee management solution.
Riding on the growing awareness about biometric technology, IDEX Biometrics and a leading smart card manufacturer from Asia, Chutian Dragon, had teamed up with PAX Technology on EMV compliant transactions using biometric smart cards. The system would utilize IDEX’s SmartFinger fingerprint sensor and through this collaboration, PAX aimed to provide a strong EMV compliant POS system for biometric transactions.