Commentary

Why Your CMO Should Care About The Point Of Sale

Chief marketing officers at big brands have historically paid little attention to the machines that sit on their stores' countertops. Payment acceptance devices would seem to be the purview of individual stores, or the company's IT staff. But the Internet and mobile technology have changed that, making these devices -- along with the entire point-of-sale system -- a key marketing tool.

That's why, today, if your CMO doesn't know what's going on within the point of sale, you're in big trouble.

First of all, the point of sale is not just a physical cash register where customers pay. It's the industry term for a comprehensive business management tool that includes inventory tracking, customer data analytics and payment processing, among other functions. It also extends beyond just in-store to encompass e-commerce and mobile. The point-of-sale system should be viewed as a vital marketing command center.

Today's sophisticated technologies allow merchants to collect unprecedented amounts of customer data. Big Data collection and analysis capabilities are growing every day, and CMOs need to work with their IT and data science teams to determine how to best capture store-level and customer-level data via the point-of-sale system so they can use this information to make better business decisions.

In addition to traditional countertop terminals and e-commerce transactions, mobile technology and alternative payments must play a big role in brands' marketing strategies. That includes both the personal smart devices in customers' hands and the increasingly mobile software and hardware that allow merchants to traditional and non-traditional payment forms.

When customers use alternative payments, especially mobile, this gives merchants access to an even greater amount of information about each consumer. Merchants will now be able to learn more about who the customer is, see historical purchase behavior, and even search data in some cases -- giving them a much wider window into what their customers want.

This additional insight allows merchants to track their customers’ purchase behaviors and preferences over time and use this information to offer them the type of rewards and incentives that can convert them into loyal repeat customers. The personalization of the shopping experience via mobile devices can have a significant impact on how consumers make purchasing decisions. For those merchants who know how to harness the power of mobile payments, there is a unique opportunity to deliver more relevant and timely offers, thereby driving more consumers into the store.

In addition, there is a huge range of mobile marketing possibilities enabled by today's technology that CMOs need to educate themselves about. Now is the time for them to not only encourage their companies to embrace mobile payment acceptance, but also to explore other mobile marketing options.

Extending the point of sale to get closer to customers, brand marketers should strongly consider creating their own mobile apps to enhance online and in-store customer experiences. This way, they can offer customers a seamless, high-tech option that makes shopping easier and more fun. For example, Nordstrom customers appreciate the ability to shop from their phones and then be able to pick up items at the store quickly and conveniently.

Companies should also consider creating apps that make the shopping experience more interactive and personal. Learning a customer's preferences and habits, and giving them early access to certain products, personalized deals and loyalty programs that are relevant to their preferences further demonstrate how much you value them.

For those CMOs who are treating the point-of-sale system as an integral part of their marketing efforts, there are huge gains to be realized. Those who figure this out first will have a serious advantage in this extremely competitive landscape.

Recommend (3) Print RSS
1 comment about "Why Your CMO Should Care About The Point Of Sale".
  1. Al DiGuido from Optimus Publishing , August 30, 2013 at 5:52 p.m.
    I would go one step earlier in the needs of CMO's regarding point of sale...IF you are a CMO today who isn't obsessively focused on measuring the overall ROI (return on investment) from your marketing and advertising dollars...You should expect that any smart CEO will be coming to your office with a pink slip soon. It's imperative in these competitive economic times that every CMO be able to defend the $$$ being spent against revenue metrics. It's great if you understand the relationship between marketing and the point of sale. It's much better if you fully get the impact that the data from all points of sales can provide you in continuing to optimize every aspect of your media and marketing strategy. When you get that level of focus..you will continue to become more relevant to your customers and prospects and more effective at all checkout points.