Optus launches mobile POS retail system

The retail as-a-service system will provide businesses with a way to check inventory, customer records, and sales info via mobile devices in-store.

Optus Business has announced the launch of Retail Assist, a mobile point-of-sale (POS) product that enables retailers to manage inventory, verify stock, examine stored customer information, and process sales from an in-store mobile device.

The scalable as-a-service system, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, HP, and Australia's major banks, is designed to improve staff productivity and efficiencies in customer service and sales, Optus said, and is able to integrate with bank payment terminals.

According to Optus, the sales and customer information will be transmitted across a secure and reliable network and hosted on retailers' own systems.

"Optus Business developed Retail Assist in response to requests from retailers for better ways to service their customers," said David Caspari, vice president of Business Technology and Solutions for Optus Business.

"We were mindful that retailers typically already had sizeable investments in various point-of-sale, customer management, and other systems, so we designed Retail Assist to integrate all these systems, ensuring they complement rather than replace existing technologies.

"We are committed to building on our 20 years of experience in the payments business, which includes transporting large volumes of transaction data between merchants and banks to deliver market-leading solutions on behalf of retailers and businesses in other industries."

Enterprises can sign up for Retail Assist on a 24-month plan, with the service available on a variety of devices.

On the customer side of retail, Optus in February extended its Cash by Optus near-field communication (NFC) payments platform to Apple smartphones through the use of a sticker, with a wearable smartband also enabling customers to make contactless payments worth under AU$100 without their smartphone present.

Without either accessory, Android phone users can purchase a Cash by Optus SIM to insert in their device.

Optus first launched NFC payments on Android in November 2014 through a SIM announced in partnership with Visa and Heritage Bank.

Optus last month revealed it would be restructuring its Enterprise and Consumer divisions through a series of redundancies, with a "reshape" of its workforce planned in order to support its transformation into a multimedia company rather than a pure telecommunications carrier.

Under the restructuring, Optus will consolidate and make redundant a number of jobs, with a company spokesperson telling ZDNet that depending on "redeployment opportunities", the upper limit on the total jobs to go would be 480.

"Optus Business, and the Wholesale and Satellite divisions [will] rationalise roles and optimise resources in response to the increasingly competitive trading environment," Optus said in a statement at the time.

"These changes require Optus to reshape its workforce with the skills required in an increasingly digital world and to invest in the capabilities required to bring ideas to market more quickly. As a result, Optus is proposing to make a number of roles redundant."

Optus rationalised the process by saying it would allow Optus to become more streamlined and "innovative".

Optus is due to report its fourth-quarter results on Thursday afternoon.