Technology used to be an afterthought in design of retail spaces. Often aesthetically unappealing, a point-of-sale (POS) terminal was considered a ‘necessary evil’ at the checkout counter. Retailers aiming to create unified, brand-centric retail spaces went out of their way to tuck the POS system under the counter or cover it with unappealing shrouds, creating a barrier between the associate and the customer. In less sophisticated stores, dreary, bulky POS hardware towered over the checkout, completely at odds with the interior design of the store.
Today, as technology plays a starring role throughout the customer journey and retail experiences are carefully curated, industrial design of point-of-sale systems must reflect the vision and atmosphere of the store.
A stylish, modern POS terminal or product information display can transform a retail space. Exceptionally designed retail technology elevates the customer experience at the checkout. Instead of hiding bulky, ugly POS terminals, elegant devices at the front cash set a new bar for sophistication at the very last, crucial stage of the customer experience in the store. Modern retail systems reflect the design vision of the interior designer, instead of detracting from it.
“In our 25 years designing retail spaces, we made every effort to almost hide technology within our environments, today we simply embrace it and allow it to stand on its own. As designers we always look for the cleanest solution…what is refreshing with the new generation of technology is that it’s not only user-friendly, but better designed to complement the sensibility of our retail interiors.” Says Paul Filek, Principal at Burdifilek.
Materials used in construction of POS terminals today also reflect modern attitudes about industrial design. Brushed aluminium provides a tough yet light light chasiss, allowing POS terminals to resemble thin and light consumer devices, but be durable enough for many years of continued service. Post-consumer recycled plastics now make up high percentage of the plastic content of the systems, reflecting retailers’ increasing focus on sustainability in all aspects of their operations.
To help retailers realize retail designers’ in-store vision, Stacy Wolff, the Global Head of Design at HP, pushed HP’s Industrial Design team to imagine a point-of-sale device that helped retailers remove barriers and distill technology to its simplest form, while providing functionality required at the cash desk. As a result, HP Engage Family of All-in-One terminals features minimal footprint, clean modern lines, choice of color and a clutter-free architecture void of messy wiring above the counter. HP Engage Go offers a mobile option to retailers looking to use their point-of-sale device both behind the counter and roaming throughout the store.
From tablets in the hands of associates, to product information kiosks on store walls and changerooms, as well as POS hardware at the front cash, design of today’s retail hardware must elevate consumer experiences throughout the retail journey. Retailers that overlook the importance of thoughtful aesthetics of all components of the customer journey, including technology supporting the in-store processes, risk disconnected retail experiences in their stores.
About the Author: Dmitry Sokolov is the Global Industry Strategist at HP working with retailers and solution providers around the world on transforming the future of retail experiences. From point-of-sale, mobility and self-service to distributed edge architectures, HP is helping retailers excel in a constantly evolving retail environment.