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POS to scale up retail sector growth in 2016
The fast evolving consumer preferences associated with advancement in technology has made the Indian retail sector one of the most vibrant among the Asian peers with the market indicators forecasting the sector to cross US $ 1 trillion by 2020 from the present $600 billion riding on 13 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).

While government policies and macro economic conditions act as catalysts, technology plays a pivotal role in revamping the sector towards fast-track development. Thanks to advancement in Point of Sales (POS) technology, sales counters across India are witnessing complete makeover with traditional retail giving way to organized business environment clocking exponential growth. Automating operations by brick-and-mortar businesses with cashless transactions for enhanced customer experience is gaining ground across Indian cities.

Point of Sale hardware products such as barcode scanners, thermal receipt printers, electronic cash registers, barcode printers, Touch POS monitors, mobile/tablet POS and Cloud POS are in great demand with manufacturers expecting good sales in 2016 due to improved market conditions, feel experts.

Bhaskar Venkatraman, Founder and Director of JusTransact.com, an e-commerce portal offering POS technology products to retail and non-retail businesses in India, said: "Indian retail sector has finally taken wings riding on POS technology to make new strides in the coming years. POS is one of the major growth ingredients for retail sector. With government opening up FDI in retail sector and Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill becoming a reality in 2016, the POS market is expected to witness unprecedented growth by 2020 clocking two million POS installations from the current one million mark."

However, on global perspective as per a 2014 estimate, of the 250 billion cashless transactions, India accounts for only 0.2 per cent through 1.2 million POS installations. With Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxing rules to allow cash withdrawals through POS machines across India, the demand for POS machines are going to go up further in the coming year, opines Bhaskar.

According to RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi, "If India needs to reach the average levels of BRIC nations, we need to have another 20 million POS terminals from the present 1.2 million machines connecting rural and urban areas." With India having more than one billion mobile connections, the retail payments in the next five years would be increasingly driven through mobile payments, the top RBI official lamented.

Recently, several state governments including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh have started introducing POS machines at their fair price shops to reduce pilferage of food items meant for public distribution. These hand-held POS devices with biometric fingerprint scanner will soon find place in thousands of ration shops across the country.

Expressing optimism about POS market in India, D Bhaskaramoorthy, Vice-President - Sales, Posiflex Technology (India) Pvt. Ltd, one of the leading POS hardware brands in India, said, "With FDI opening up for Retail sector and GST implementation looking brighter in 2016, we can foresee a potential growth for retail segment vis-à-vis POS and peripherals in India as more and more stores are expected to automate their business to enhance sales and back-end operations."

Implementation of GST will enable easier movement of goods across the nation, thereby benefiting retail operations pan-India, he said.

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