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Retail / FinTech Innovation / Extend the value of POS with Apps

Getting Personal at the POS

Lindsay Durfee
Senior Manager, Product Marketing
Executive Summary
As commerce and personal communications converge, the POS is no longer just a place to swipe or insert a credit card.

Retailers want personalization. They want to really know their customers and offer a unique shopping experience that surprises and delights—just not in a creepy, privacy-invading way.

In fact, and not surprisingly, a 2016 Gartner and RIS News survey found that among the top-10 retail technologies investments, most revolve around understanding customers and building personalization strategies.

Despite this survey and other data—which confirm consumers are willing to give up information in exchange for relevant offers, expedited experiences, and more—retailers still struggle to bring personalization to life.

Now, “personalization” is a broad term. It can refer to targeted email campaigns, in-aisle associate recommendations, beacon notifications, and several other tactics. In addition, the reasons retailers have a hard time synthesizing and acting on data also vary: internal silos, limited resources (technology and people), organizational culture/resistance, etc.

89 %
of people say experience is the primary differentiator

While retailers will move at their own pace toward the coveted goal of personalization, they can now add one more outreach opportunity to the list. It’s that mostly ignored, front-of-store touchpoint—the point of sale terminal.

Here you have a device that, historically, has served one purpose: payment acceptance. It’s an otherwise unnoticed box on the counter, used absentmindedly during the checkout process.

That is, of course, until a lightbulb went off and sparked a race to turn the point of sale into the point of interaction. Welcome to the age of next-gen POS hardware and, more importantly, the services it enables.

As commerce and personal communications converge, the POS is no longer just a place to swipe or insert a credit card. Large displays, lightning-fast processing, and upgraded infrastructure have opened the door to a payments revolution. Advertising on terminals, points programs, beacon networks, personal offers, and card-linked opportunities are just a sample of new commerce-enabling applications.

The payments industry continues to evolve at pace.
Hitesh Anand VP of Product, Commerce Enablement & Mobile, Verifone

Merchants are no longer limited to the little grey box with a PIN pad. Innovation in payment terminal design, as well as the availability of value-added services, creates a unique payment experience based on specific business needs.

With the advent of POS app marketplaces, merchants can review and download apps on their payment devices. Merchants can now customize a POS terminal just as one might customize a smartphone. Options range from apps that support the merchant (inventory reporting and timecards) to apps that support the consumer (personalized offers/coupons, loyalty programs, and charity opportunities).

“Spurred on by advances in financial technology, the payments industry continues to evolve at pace,” says Hitesh Anand, VP of Product, Commerce Enablement Mobile at Verifone. “The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets is leading to a convergence of the offline and online worlds, further opening the value chain to innovative outsiders, large and small. This paves the way for unique experiences in the future of smart commerce.”

Gartner found that 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator in 2017. Bearing this in mind, merchants will need solutions that aren’t just customized to suit their business goals, but ones that also reimagine the customer experience. As such, customer-facing apps at the POS provide merchants tools to create the engaging and differentiating customer exchanges they desire. For example, when a customer sees her name on a payment terminal, along with an offer for her favorite drink at half-price, the merchant makes that customer feel known. It’s a predictive, value-adding experience consumers have come to expect and appreciate, similar to interactions on sites like In that sense, the next-gen POS brings the digital world, and its unlimited capabilities, to the brick-and-mortar business.


For the in-store experience to survive, it has to rival the online experience. Payment solutions should offer relevant, useful engagements that drive customer preference and new revenue streams.

Consumers have high expectations, and as technology invades everyday life (smart homes, AI, VR), merchants will have to follow suit. The rapid pace of innovation demands that merchants be “future-proof.” It may sound like a big ask, but payment companies at the edge of innovation have already brought it to life.

The evolution of personalization at the POS sets the stage for what’s next: a transformative POS experience that considers history, real-time inputs, and predictive data. It’s an experience both merchants and consumers can appreciate and benefit from going forward.

How This Impacts

Just accepting payments isn’t enough for the modern-day POS device.

When it comes to elevating the payment experience through personalization, the innovation and flexibility of modern payment devices and services are vital to merchants. The way we perceive personalization is changing too, evidenced by a 2014 Forrester report, “Businesses need to evolve from personalization to contextualization—a tailored, adaptive, and sometimes predictive customer experience.”

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