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Traditional vs. next-gen POS: A comprehensive comparison for retail success

Comparing how traditional and next-gen POS systems empower retailers for the future

The point of sale (POS) system is a critical component of any retail business. As technology advances, traditional POS systems are being challenged by next-gen solutions that offer a range of innovative features. 

Here is a head-to-head comparison of traditional and next-gen POS systems to underscore their impact on retail success.

Single Tenant vs. Multi-Tenant

Traditional POS systems are often deployed on-premises or offered as a single-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. This limits their accessibility and requires infrastructure maintenance. In contrast, next-gen POS systems adopt a cloud-first approach with a multi-tenant architecture, allowing retailers to access their systems from anywhere and eliminating the need for local infrastructure.

Batch Updates vs. Versionless

Traditional POS systems often require batch updates and upgrades, which can be time-consuming and disrupt business operations. On the other hand, next-gen POS systems adopt a versionless approach, ensuring that retailers always have access to the latest features and enhancements without any disruption. These systems are designed to scale effortlessly as the business grows, providing retailers with flexibility and agility to meet changing demand.

Fixed Registers vs. Mobile-First

Traditional POS systems are often associated with clunky fixed registers, limiting the mobility of store associates. Next-gen POS systems, however, prioritize a mobile-first approach, enabling store associates to process transactions and assist customers anywhere on the sales floor. The visually appealing user interface of next-gen POS systems enhances the user experience, making it intuitive and efficient for associates to navigate the system. A beautiful, mobile UI also allows associates to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with customers to showcase a visual catalog of products, instead of trying to describe a text line item. 

Transaction-Centric vs. Customer-Centric

Traditional POS systems are primarily transaction-centric, focusing on facilitating checkout processes. Next-gen POS systems, in contrast, are customer-centric and shopping focused. These systems provide retailers with tools to engage customers, track preferences, and offer personalized experiences, especially when integrated with clienteling software. Next-gen POS solutions empower store associates to act as trusted advisors, leveraging clienteling and product information to provide expert guidance to customers.

Single-Purpose vs. Multi-Purpose

Traditional POS systems are often single-purpose, designed solely for checkout functions. In contrast, next-gen POS systems are multi-purpose, serving as a hub for various retail functions. Alongside checkout capabilities, next-gen POS systems incorporate clienteling features and provide access to comprehensive product information, allowing store associates to offer a personalized and informed shopping experience.

Channel-Specific vs. Channel-Agnostic

Traditional POS systems are typically channel-specific, meaning they are designed for specific retail channels such as brick-and-mortar stores or online platforms. Next-gen POS systems adopt a channel-agnostic approach, enabling retailers to achieve unified commerce. These systems seamlessly integrate with multiple channels— such as mobile apps, online storefronts, pop-up stores or other physical locations— allowing customers to move fluidly between channels while still receiving a consistent and cohesive experience.

Bringing it all together

As retail continues to evolve, the choice between traditional and next-gen POS systems becomes crucial for success. While traditional POS systems have served businesses well for many years, the advantages offered by next-gen solutions cannot be ignored. The shift towards cloud-based, scalable, customer-centric, and multi-purpose POS systems provides retailers with the tools they need to thrive in the competitive retail landscape. By embracing the benefits of next-gen POS systems, retailers can enhance customer experiences, streamline operations, and drive retail success.

Learn more

For a deeper look into how next-gen POS systems support the evolving expectations of the retail experience, watch this 30-minute webinar Navigating the future of next-gen POS adoption: Why retailers can’t afford to wait

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