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How could SoftPOS technology enhance the Restaurant Industry?

By Hervé Thevenin, Global Marketing Manager Vertical Sales at Worldline

Whilst there are many exciting technological trends related to payments, Software Point of Sales (SoftPOS) is arguably one with the most growth potential. The number of merchants implementing this technology globally is expected to surpass 34.5 million by 2028. This article will briefly explain what SoftPOS is about and how it might benefit the restaurant industry.

A SoftPOS solution converts any NFC enabled smartphone or tablet into a certified payment terminal, without any additional hardware being required. The technology can either apply to Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices; or to “enterprise devices” – Android OS devices which some companies upgrade specifically for the purpose of their business clients, such as Zebra Technologies, Toshiba, Diebold Nixdorf, amongst many others.

Besides Android, other tech companies have acknowledged SoftPOS. Last year, Apple announced the introduction of a solution capable of transforming an IOS device into a payment terminal, a solution available to merchants of all sizes in the US. Similarly, Visa and Mastercard have already built their own certification / authorisation solutions, which are available in Europe.

How the technology benefits vendors and customers

Innovation often matches the shifts in consumer behaviour, and SoftPOS is a perfect illustration of the restaurant industry taking strides to achieve the much-desired frictionless customer experience. Traditionally, customers have always been expected to make payment at their table upon completion of their meal. – they request the bill and wait for the payment terminal to be brought to them or to be asked to go to the cash register… But many of us have experienced the dreaded wait for the POS machine to reach them or us to reach it – an issue that SoftPOS can eradicate by using the same device to collect both orders and payments simultaneously.

This example demonstrates the two core benefits of a SoftPOS solution – that it is agile and user friendly.

SoftPOS technology is easy to deploy and can fully integrate with the merchant’s core business application meaning that merchants only require one device for their core business functions – i.e. order collection – and payment processing. Of course, linked to this are the added benefits of sustainability and cost reduction as merchants will no longer have to purchase a specific payment terminal, or handle costly maintenance challenges as SoftPOS technology allows for upgrades to be installed smoothly.

The expected rise of SoftPOS technology is a logical outcome of the massive surge of contactless payments over the past few years. The Contactless Payment Terminals Market report found that the global contactless payment terminals market was valued at $13 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $51 billion by 2026.

Furthermore, a smart device upgraded with a SoftPOS solution will be compliant with all relevant PCI standards required for payment processing – including the 2019 Contactless Payments on COTS (CPoC) Standard, and the 2022 Mobile Payments on COTS (MPoC) Standard.

 Looking forward

Restaurant professionals are constantly looking for new tools to improve and simplify their customer journey whilst cutting down on costs. And we see SoftPOS as a perfect fit. While the technology remains somewhat embryonic – meaning that it is yet to make the traditional POS system entirely redundant – SoftPOS offers a wealth of benefits to merchants. Ranging from enhanced customer experiences and operational cost savings to the ability to expand the retail footprint beyond traditional boundaries, this new technology looks set to make a significant impact on the restaurant industry, making it definitely one to watch.

Hervé Thevenin, Global Marketing Manager Vertical Sales at Worldline

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