Mobile Commerce & the Attack on the Cash Register

by Chuck Martin on May 23, 2013

By Chuck Martin

If nothing else is happening relating to mobile payments, the trusty old cash register is under a full-blown assault.

Just within the last few days, several major mobile payment providers took aim at the old physical money changing machine.

Square launched its new stand — called, what else: Square Stand – for IPads, the hot checkout device of choice. The device comes with a card reader, of course, and features accessories like kitchen printers, barcode scanners and cash drawers, just like that old cash register.

PayPal, the best known of the payment platforms, introduced its Cash for Registers program that involves waiving transaction fees for retailers using a PayPal Here package, which comprises an iPad, stand, card reader and cash drawer instead of those old cash registers.

Not to be left out of the attack on cash registers, Groupon kicked off Breadcrumb POS, a free iPad app targeted at replacing, you guessed it, traditional cash registers. The deal comes with free processing on a designated amount of credit card transactions.

The reality is there’s some serious money passing through both cash registers as well as the new mobile payment systems.

For example, Square says it’s processing more than $15 billion in payments annually with PayPal on track to hit $20 billion this year for just its mobile payment part.

All of these mobile systems are targeting small businesses, which makes sense. Most businesses are small businesses, with government counts placing the number at around 28 million. Many of those small businesses have cash registers.

The race is on to determine which small businesses end up with which system, since once a business makes its selection, they’re essentially out of the game. It’s unlikely a small business will change mobile platform systems once they purchase hardware and accessories.

The question is whether the consumer will be swayed or influenced in any way if their payment is taken via an iPad-based payments platform or, heaven forbid, an actual cash register.

Do you think the small business cash register is doomed?

 Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker around the world. 

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