Enabling mobile point of sale for museum staff

Diana Pan, The Museum of Modern Art, USA, Manish Engineer, Seattle Art Museum, USA, Rich Cherry, Museum Operations, USA


In July 2014, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York introduced an iOS based point of sale (POS) application to support membership sales in the lobby of the main Museum entrance. This solution enabled MoMA staff to be completely mobile when providing membership services, such as welcoming members or renewing memberships. In August 2015, the Museum also introduced mobile ticketing. In addition, secondary functionality was added to support the sale of retail items, member services for MoMA’s corporate donors, group ticketing sales, and ad hoc donation processing, among others. In summary, the staff at MoMA now have the ability to operate in a mobile capacity, thus freeing them from being tied to any specific location.  The Broad in Los Angeles, which opened in September 2015, has also deployed a mobile ticketing POS, as well as a mobile-first retail POS. Guests meet a Broad guest services staff member near the entrance to the Museum. This staff person checks to see if the guest is pre-registered and, if not, provide them with the next available reservation and also with parking validation, tickets for events and other local venues, and special deals, as well as reservations for dinning in The Broad’s partner restaurant. This efficient solution has allowed the Broad lobby to forgo the traditional admissions desk. The shop experience is similar, with sales associates working one on one with customers to check them out. This paper and subsequent presentation look at the technical and business challenges in implementing the mobile POS solutions at MoMA and The Broad. We consider the concepts and ideas that led to these solutions; the evolution of each solution to support an encompassing range of functionality across ticketing, events, membership, and retail services; the process of user adoption by museum staff to leverage mobile capability; and the results of how mobility has changed the way each museum operates.

Keywords: POS, point of sale, mobile, museum membership, ticketing, retail

1. Mobile point of sale at MoMA

Much has been made on the potential of mobile point of sale (POS) solutions, especially in the retail space. These solutions are expected to perform all functions of traditional cash registers, but in any location, generally relying simply on an internet connection, cloud technology, and a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. Because mobility allows all transactions and customer service to happen anywhere, the overall customer experience is expected to improve, resulting from decreased line-waiting times, which will also be accompanied by a corresponding increase in customer transactions processed, thereby driving incremental sales.

A mobile POS solution is also expected to be a cost-effective and easy-to-implement solution especially for small to mid-size businesses without complex legacy systems. Popular solutions that have been around for at least a couple of years include Square, PayPal, and Verifone. A recent Forrester report (Silverman, 2015), however, indicates that while many retailers have invested in mobile technology at checkout, the true return on investment has been “elusive.” In addition, according to the Forrester analysis, the opportunities lie in the ability to not just handle more transactions, but enable staff with a tool that should increase overall customer engagement. Below, we describe two mobile POS solutions that The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) implemented and their overall impact and effectiveness with the Museum staff and visitors.

2. MoMA’s mobile membership solution


In the summer of 2014, MoMA rolled out a point of sale built primarily around membership sales in the lobby of the main Museum entrance. The driving force was to replace the old POS running on a soon-to-be unsupported operating system. When setting out to build this new solution, four goals for the project drove the design of the application:

  1. Faster transaction times than previous system
  2. Mobile
  3. Streamlined hardware
  4. Streamlined business operations

Due to long queues at the membership desk, faster transaction processing was a key goal. Throughout the application design period, everything from number of screen click-throughs to number of fields per page were analyzed. Also around this time, the Museum’s expansion project began to take shape (Pogrebin, 2014), and in an effort toward providing the most flexibility during an upcoming period of potential uncertainty, mobility became even more critical. This translated to utilizing tablets for hardware, Wi-Fi and cellular data for internet connectivity, and connecting to a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system. The legacy system required internal network connections and had up to four pieces of hardware: a card scanner, two printers, and a card printer. This hampered mobility, made support difficult, and made the lobby desks look cluttered. Consolidating the hardware would remedy all of these issues. Last, many job functions were still done separately. Corporate memberships were handled at a separate desk from individual memberships and required a physical binder with business rules for each corporation. Purchases for retail items, tickets, and memberships were all done as separate transactions. Streamlining these business operations was key to improving the flow in the lobby and for providing improved customer service. This was accomplished by including corporate membership support in the application and adding shopping-cart functionality for multiple purchases in a single transaction.

What MoMA implemented

Focusing on the business need to process membership sales and remedy the pain points of the previous system led to the Museum’s solution. The initial screen consisted of a membership search page to either look up current members for renewals or ensure a new purchaser was not already in the system as a prior donor.


Figure 1: MoMA’s membership POS lobby application: home page

Once a member record was found, the sales associate, along with renewing the membership, could process a donation to the annual fund, process a gift membership, and sell member-discounted guest passes, general admission tickets, or retail items. The sale of tickets required integration with the Museum’s ticket-scanning system. Retail sales required integration with the inventory system and the back-end accounting system so they could be properly posted to the Museum’s general ledger, separate from membership sales. Further, in order to provide the best service to members, if a member is a trustee or committee member, or has an assigned development relationship manager, then this information is pulled from the CRM system, Salesforce, and displayed within the application.


Figure 2: MoMA’s membership POS lobby application: sample consolidated shopping cart

Once the core functionality to support individual and household memberships had been deployed, further enhancements were released with features to support corporate members. This included verification of corporate membership status and sale of discounted guest passes for corporate member visitors. Because corporate membership entitlements were added to the application, the reference binders previously used for such lookups were no longer needed. This also enabled the development team to see exactly how many benefits were being redeemed by the corporations they support.


Figure 3: MoMA’s membership POS lobby application: corporate membership verification and entitlements

For hardware, Android tablets and Apple iPads were evaluated. Both had pros and cons; however, the Apple’s iOS platform had similar solutions implemented and more options for sleeker peripherals. The devices selected ran primarily on Wi-Fi connections, but each had cellular LTE data plans as backup in case of Wi-Fi issues and to allow for seamless roaming if needed.

In order to be as mobile friendly as possible, the minimal amount of hardware was utilized. The legacy solution had consisted of three printers: a thermal paper purchase receipt printer, a tax receipt printer, and a card printer for membership cards that was wired to the laptop. The new solution consisted of one mobile thermal printer that could be clipped onto a belt. The tax receipt printer was removed, and such receipts were e-mailed only. If visitors still requested a paper tax receipt, it was then printed in the back office only. The card printer was connected via a network connection, accessed through MoMA’s Wi-Fi.

3. MoMA’s mobile ticketing solution


In August 2015, the Museum rolled out a new ticketing application built by ACME Technologies Inc, a young company new to the ticketing space. The impetus for this project was the need to move off of TicketMaster Vista, as this solution would no longer be supported after the summer of 2015. This opportunity was used to replace the old technology with a mobile solution similar to MoMA’s new membership lobby application. This would further streamline operations within the lobby, which currently had separate membership and ticketing desks.

What MoMA implemented

Many vendors were evaluated for a ticketing solution. Most fell short in terms of usability and modern technology requirements. The products had desktop applications force-fitted into a Windows tablet, mobile tools that did not yet have full functionality, or client-server-based architecture that was not in line with the Museum’s technology vision.

The team contemplated building a custom application or expanding the already deployed membership lobby iOS application. However, due to tight timelines to migrate off of the legacy system, expanding the existing custom-built application to include a full ticketing solution would have required significant updates to the solution’s architecture to handle the high data volumes and complex ticketing business logic. This posed significant risk and potentially high costs—a typical build-versus-buy dilemma. In the end, the Museum decided to implement ACME Technologies’ ticketing product, which was the only solution that was cloud based and had a POS built on iOS and a robust JSON RESTful API integration layer. This allowed the Museum to run both the membership lobby application and ticketing application on the same iPad device. An employee equipped with an iPad could perform either task of membership sales or general ticketing. This improves customer service in the lobby, allows for great fluidity in scheduling employees, and streamlines technology support.


Figure 4: MoMA’s ticket POS solution from ACME Technologies, Inc

However, there were, and still are, issues to running two POS applications on one device. The user interface was completely different from one another, requiring users to adjust to, and learn each application separately. Only one application can communicate to one Bluetooth printer at a time. This then required pairing two printers to one iPad to allow someone to utilize either application. This runs counter to the membership lobby application’s goal of streamlining the hardware. Attempting to migrate both applications to one printer also required both applications to support the same printer drivers, which forces two organizations to align their product roadmaps and supported technologies. Last, processing cash posed issues for having two applications on one device. If an employee processed one cash transaction in one application and another cash transaction in the other application, it would then require pulling reports from two systems and combining those reports in order to count their cash drawer at the end of the day. This adds room for error and requires additional time when handling cash. Further, reconciling the source of any cash drawer discrepancy became a timely effort. Eventually, building a tight integration between the two applications or migrating functionality to one application may be needed to maintain the goal of streamlined business operations. 

4. Observations of the mobile point of sale solutions

The MoMA front-line staff for ticketing and membership comprises about forty sales associates. Since MoMA’s reopening at the end of 2004, these associates used the aforementioned Windows-based laptops and PCs to handle sale transactions at designated desks. These desks also include various notebooks and files that contained other information pertinent to their work, such as copies of valid corporate member IDs and admissions passes from resellers. Moving from an inflexible Windows-based environment to one that is iOS, touch-based, and mobile, while having the potential to be transformative for the business, can also be intimidating for the everyday user. Because of this, great caution was taken in the rollout of these solutions. Specifically:

  1. The business team was deeply involved in the project from the beginning and remained involved through all phases of the project, including conception, product evaluation, user interface reviews, and multiple rounds of user acceptance testing.
  2. Training was provided for all front-line staff. Refresher training was also offered.
  3. The rollout of the mobile POS solutions was done in phases, so that both old and new systems ran in parallel, allowing the staff a transition phase.
  4. The new iOS tablet solutions were initially deployed docked and tethered, remaining in the same location and mimicking a similar usage pattern as the old systems. Mobile was introduced incrementally only when the staff was increased beyond the capacity at the desk to handle increased visitor volume.
  5. Feature experimentation influenced and shaped changes in the new solution.
  6. IT and vendor staff worked shifts at the member and ticketing desks in the lobby to provide extra support to the front-line staff during the initial weeks of the new POS deployments and also for subsequent major releases of functionality.

These steps allowed the front-line team to transition more easily into the use of the new technologies.

The next sections outline the successes and challenges observed over the last 1.5 years since the mobile solutions have been in place.


The implementation and rollout of the new mobile POS solutions at MoMA were a complex and exciting cross-departmental effort. Because all teams were involved from the beginning, there was high enthusiasm in the rollout. At the ticketing and member desks themselves, key successes were observed almost immediately in the areas of:

  1. Decreased transaction times as a result of shortcut buttons for common transaction types such as renew member, and use of emailed receipts
  2. Robust and faster member lookups through improved search functionality
  3. Use of innovative technology to aid in data entry, such as Google Places
  4. Sale of mixed “product” types in a single transaction (e.g., a member renewal, member guest passes, and a general admission ticket in one purchase transaction) assisted in faster checkout for the visitor
  5. Decreased transaction times freed staff to engage with the visitor on other topics, such as membership benefits and exhibition information


Figure 5: MoMA’s membership POS lobby application: shortcut “Express Renew” button

In addition to successes resulting primarily from an improved tool, new sales and membership conversion opportunities specifically through mobile were identified. Highlights include:

  1. Membership conversions and sale of member guest passes (“line busting”) at the exhibition entrance during member preview periods, especially for Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (October 2014)
  2. Membership conversions before the Museum is open to the public, during morning member-preview hours; again, especially for Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (October 2014), but also for other popular exhibitions, such as Picasso Sculpture (September 2015)
  3. Membership lookup and verification at art events outside of MoMA premises
  4. Membership lookup and conversions at MoMA special events, such as the first Artist Member Open House (January 2016)
  5. Timed ticket sales for general admission tickets at mobile stations for the Björk exhibit (March 2015)
  6. Enabling retail sales of MoMA-exclusive skateboards showcasing artwork from artist Andy Warhol at the Art Basel Miami Beach event (December 2015)


High enthusiasm is often accompanied by high anxiety, and the rollout of the mobile POS solutions at MoMA was no different. There were basic practical concerns that needed to be addressed, such as internet connectivity, battery life, Bluetooth connections, durability of tablets and peripherals, and overall application stability. Even as the implementation team planned for backup cellular enablement for internet connectivity, processes defined for verification of Bluetooth and network connections, and user testing conducted to ensure the durability of the tablet casings, stands, printers, and card swipers, it was observed that mobile adoption, in general, seemed slower than expected. While there was sporadic use of the solutions in a true mobile capacity, overall the staff seemed hesitant in adopting mobile as part of their regular and routine procedures.

In order to gain a better understanding of the barriers preventing the lobby staff from fully utilizing and embracing mobile technology, a study was conducted in December 2015 and January 2016 with input from the front-line team. This study included survey responses from twenty-nine of the forty front-line staff team, written feedback, and results from two focus-group sessions across sixteen team members. The study revealed some interesting insight that will shape MoMA’s next steps in mobile deployment. The results are below.

MoMA’s Mobile Adoption Study

The Pew Research Center’s latest report on technology device ownership (Anderson, 2015) among American adults indicates a significant increase year over year in smartphones and tablets. When compared to device ownership of the MoMA staff front-line team, however, the tablet falls significantly short compared to smartphone and desktop/laptop computer ownership.


Figure 6: MoMA’s staff device ownership compared with survey data from Pew Research Center on 2015 ownership across American Adults

While this may help explain some of the reasons why slower adoption of mobile technology in the Museum lobby has been observed, many other factors were cited by the Museum staff.

MoMA’s Mobile Adoption Study survey results indicates that 85 percent of the Museum front-line staff would prefer to engage with a visitor from across a desk or designated station. The reasons in the survey and additional written responses provide further insight:

  • Establishing physical boundaries and safety is a concern cited by many Museum staff. Mobile technologies remove such “protection” normally associated with a defined station or desk. A mobile staff member helping a single individual may suddenly find himself/herself swarmed by a disorderly crowd.
  • Without a defined station, desk, or “official” destination, 70 percent of the survey respondents felt that lines become unclear, visitors become confused, and the lobby could quickly become chaotic. Also, visitors sometimes appear uncomfortable being taken off the line to be processed separately, seemingly ad hoc.
  • While many customers may pay by credit card, a sales agent still needs to accommodate all possible payment forms, including cash. Of the staff, 56 percent reported that carrying cash, along with a printer, and an iPad, minimally, is awkward.
  • Many new members prefer to receive their new member packet and member card immediately, and not a temporary member ID printed out on the thermal paper receipt printer. Receiving the full packet in the lobby is also a more welcoming experience for a new member while, at the same time, being cost efficient for the Museum since it would not need to be mailed. The card printer is a larger device and is always tethered, so a mobile sales agent would need to be near the printer or would need to walk over to it to pick up the new member’s card and packet.
  • Of the staff, 67 percent indicated that entering information in the iPad can become uncomfortable over time. While some transactions with members are simple, common, and frequent, and therefore possibly more suited for mobile, such as the sale of a general admission ticket or a member guest pass ticket, many other transactions, such as signing up a new member or gifting a membership, are not. Such transactions are complex, requiring much data entry, including multiple contact names and addresses, with a multi-step checkout process. Language barriers and environmental conditions such as lighting and noise in the lobby can further hinder an already complex process.
  • Of the survey respondents, 44 percent indicated that they need to access or reference other information sometimes on the iPad/mobile device (such as moma.org for an events calendar) and sometimes away from it (such as Museum maps). While the introduction of mobile technology is designed to assist the sales associate to process a transaction more efficiently, visitor interaction is not defined entirely by the transaction itself. Equally important is the interaction associated with engaging with the visitor on the Museum programming, exhibitions, and events. Mobile technologies should help to enable that interaction and should not create a perception of “rushing” the visitor. Mobile should not be viewed as a commerce aid, but as an overall visitor engagement aid.
  • A number of the staff also mentioned the inconvenience of having two different POS applications, even if they are on the same iPad, and even if there is some amount of overlap in functionality.


Figure 7: Mobile Adoption Study – survey results

As the introduction of improved, modern technologies, such as mobile, in the lobby is ultimately one component of an ongoing effort toward improving overall visitor experience, many survey respondents also mentioned that there are other, non-technological aspects of the lobby that can be improved to help the Museum achieve this goal. The most common one mentioned is simply better signage to help visitors navigate the lobby for wayfinding. Better signage includes placing in optimal locations, supporting multiple languages, and using universally recognized icons and symbols in addition to text. Also mentioned is signage informing visitors of MoMA’s free Wi-Fi, audio tours through the MoMA website, and the MoMA downloadable application.

Ways in which mobile can work

Although the survey results show that 85 percent of the MoMA front-line staff would prefer to work with a visitor at a desk, the study also shows that the mobile aspect of the POS can be incorporated into the regular business flow so that it can be optimally effective and efficient for the staff:

  • Deploy the mobile POS in a limited capacity only, for operations better suited for mobile, such as for processing credit card transactions or timed tickets.
  • Deploy the mobile POS where no other option is possible, such as in the locations where we have seen some success already: outside the Museum entrance, outside the special exhibition galleries, and at off-premise art shows and events.
  • Deploy a hybrid version of mobile, such as on movable stations or mobile desks. A movable station would have all the benefits of mobile (one can set it up anywhere) but would be viewed by visitors as an “official” designation. This would also help staff manage lines and maintain crowd control.
  • Change the mindset of mobile tool usage to be as much about visitor engagement as it is about transactions. Redefine measurements for success to consider engagement time.

5. Conclusion

MoMA’s experiences with its mobile point of sale solutions clearly show, as one sales associate wrote, that “it’s not as easy as it looks.” Enabling true mobility has its benefits but can be awkward under certain circumstances. Each use case should be reviewed and weighed based on overall customer experience improvements as well as practicality for the internal staff. In addition, as indicated in the Forrester report (Silverman, 2015), a mobile point of sale solution should be considered more broadly as a point of service. Its effectiveness beyond just transactional, as we have also seen from our own Mobile Adoption Study results, is the enablement of sales associates with access to a lot more information, which ultimately drives better customer experience and—in some cases, though not all—will lead to sale conversions. Success metrics and key performance indicators associated with the rollout of mobile technology should include engagement time, in addition to transactions processed. Museums that look towards investing in mobility should consider concrete use cases where improvements can be made in both areas, as they are equally important.

MoMA recently announced new details on its multiyear and multiphase plan to expand its facilities, including its galleries and lobby spaces (Maloney, 2016). In order to create the most flexibility both during this period of construction and after, MoMA will be exploring the different concepts resulting from this study so as to provide the best possible toolset for its staff and convenience and experience for its visitors.

1. Mobile Point of Sale at The Broad museum

The Broad is a new contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The museum opened to the public in September of 2015 and as of this writing had welcomed more than 400,000 guests in its 6 months. The museum is home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in The Broad Art Foundation and the Broads’ personal collections. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140 million building features two floors of gallery space that showcase The Broad’s collections and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.

While The Broad museum is new, it is also home to The Broad Art Foundation, which was created in 1984 as a pioneering lending library dedicated to increasing public access to contemporary art through an enterprising loan program. The foundation has made more than 8,000 loans to over 500 museums and galleries around the world. As part of this effort the Foundation launched its first online collection in 1995! So when it came to building a new museum, digital access was considered a key design requirement.
From the website with online collections and online access to audio tours stops, to a mobile app with integrated ticketing, our team starts in thinking about how we can be as efficient and accessible as possible. This often means that The Broad is a “digital first” environment… or to speak anthropomorphologicaly The Broad was “born digital”

2. Mobile ticketing at The Broad museum

From the beginning The Broad team knew it would be difficult to integrate ticketing into the museum lobby from both an aesthetic and operational standpoint. Aesthetically the lobby and the architect’s desire for it to be viewable from the street made it difficult to design an admission desk and expectations of high demand creating long lines made it operationally challenging when if it was to be in the lobby.
Insert lobby images and floor plan.

The Broad’s Mobile Ticketing Solution

After a detailed review of the options available in the market a decision was made to partner with mobile app start up STQRY (now Area360) to develop a new mobile ticketing solution along with the public facing mobile app they were already developing for the museum. While it was risky to partner with a startup on such an important system there were several mitigating factors, including the fact that the company already had a successful private label ticketing platform. Another factor was discussions with other established ticketing vendors indicated that no major player had addressed our all of specific needs including a desire for a cloud based service, native mobile ticking and printing, online traditional, mobile and app based public user interface with location aware contextual screens.

What does a born digital ticketing system specification look like?
At a high level, the essential features of the ticketing system we requested were:

  • Ability to sell general and special admission, timed-entry, coordinated-entry, free or paid-for tickets online, via the public mobile app and onsite without a desk-based POS system.
  • Ability to sell other types of tickets, for example, restaurant reservations, meals, packages, and special events.
  • Ability for staff to edit ticket content and for that consent to be available via the museums web CMS.
  • Ability to easily modify what tickets are available when
  • Ability to print and scan tickets from mobile ticketing stations
  • Provide a beautiful and easy to use visitor and staff experience, online and onsite (this includes the backend and check-in/sales)
  • Ability to optionally collect visitor demographic information during this process
  • Sync all information to our newly deployed Salesforce CRM
    1. Integrate Salesforce with email marketing

As part of the design we specified the following design elements:

  1. Mobile App
    • Landing Page (at home, in-lobby, in-gallery, post-visit)
    • Calendar Page
    • Ticketing Workflow (including all screens/pages from selection through purchase)
    • Artwork or Tour Stop Page
    • Collection Browse Page
    • “My Broad” page – ticket purchases, points, favorited artworks, etc.
    • Additional Mobile App pages deemed necessary to wireframe during discovery process
  2. The Broad Website
    • “Buy Tickets” page
    • ticket buying workflow (including all screens/pages from selection through purchase)
  3. Ticket-selling app
    • workflow (including all screens/pages from selection through sale, including optional ability to collect information on the visitor)

What we actually deployed:

Anyone who has implemented a complex software (or construction) project has heard the acronym MVP or minimum viable product which, as it relates to software, is an app or program that has enough core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. As development of the various systems progressed we realized that our selected vendor was not going to be able to provide all of the features we initially wanted on the specified timeline. So in order to make our deadline for selling tickets a month before opening, we began to refine our request and push desired features that were not part of the essential requirements for when the museum opened to phase 2 and 3 deployments.

Features that were deferred past opening were:

  • special admission and paid tickets
  • Ability to sell other types of tickets, for example, restaurant reservations, meals, packages, and special events.
  • Ability for staff to edit ticket content via a cms.
  •  Ability to easily modify ticket availability and oversell

Further I think many of us have worked with vendors who don’t listen when you tell them demand will be high.

Mike Boehm, "Broad museum's online reservation system crashes" last modified Sept. 1, 8:05 a.m., http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-broad-online-ticket-reservation-crashes-20150831-story.html

Mike Boehm, “Broad museum’s online reservation system crashes” last modified Sept. 1, 8:05 a.m., http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-broad-online-ticket-reservation-crashes-20150831-story.html

We did however manage to deploy a functional public facing timed reservation system with all of the essential features including the various mobile, which was no small feat.

Broad app in the wild

Broad app in the wild

Broad app main menu

Broad app main menu

We also had a very stable mobile ticketing platform for our visitor service staff.

Broad ticketing app menu screen

Broad ticketing app menu screen

Ticketing app ticket record rpint

Ticketing app ticket record print

Ticketing app ticket record print

Ticketing app ticket record print

hip printer

hip printer

Additionally we had an app with integrated ticketing

Broad app ticket list screen

Broad app ticket list screen

Broad app ticket screen

Broad app ticket screen

And shortly after that we had our CRM data in Salesforce

SalesForce ticketing dashboard screen shot

SalesForce ticketing dashboard screen shot

Ticketing Workflow

Guests to the museum will meet a Broad visitor service associate (VSA) as they exit the parking garage near the entrance to the museum. The VSA checks to see if the guest is pre-registered for a free timed ticket and if so directs them to the appropriate line for their time slot. Once in line, another VSA scans or looks up and validates their ticket. Visitors without a timed reservation are directed to a rush line where a VSA will ticket them with the next available ticket and also provide them with parking validation. In the future tickets for events and other local venues, special deals as well as timed tickets for dinning in our partner restaurant will be available. Once we start paid ticket changing exhibits, an additional check will be made upon final entry to the special exhibition gallery.
Flexibility of customer checkout and line busting are key benefits of this system, allowing guest services staff to better help guests have a smooth and fulfilling visit.

The future of the Broad online ticketing system

As mentioned, many features were not deployed in the initial deployment… in fact we found that scalability was a major issue and Area 360 decried to rebuild the system from scratch to take into account our specific needs.
Mobile Retail POS at The Broad
Like the ticketing system, The Broad team knew it would be difficult to integrate a Point of Sale into the museum retail area of the lobby from both an aesthetic and operational standpoint. One of the challenges was the retail area’s U shape with the desired cash wrap area out of view in the main store area. This again convinced us to look at a mobile option, preferably “born digital.”
In 2009, when Apple adopted mobile purchases in its Apple stores, Mobile POS took off. With iPod touch devices outfitted with a magnetic stripe reader, Apple provided a model for what could be done. Mobile POS isn’t new. Rental car companies had adopted these technologies in the 1990s, deploying handheld computers, scanners and printers to enable onsite agents to check in returned cars in a fraction of the time required by desk-bound staff. The deployments removed a major hassle for travelers anxious to get to their flights and yielded big gains in customer satisfaction and streamlined operations.
Mobile POS changes the shopping experience. It allows retailers to capture the customers by leveraging the retail floor staff. Connecting with the customer on the floor reduces the likelihood of abandonment and enables agents to propose upselling or cross selling opportunities. The result is not only more sales, but more sales at higher average value.
What Makes Up the Broad POS System?
The Broad mobile POS is system is a solution from cloud based TeamWork Retail and is built around the iPad using the Mini as a handheld device with an attachable sled with a magnetic stripe reader (with a forthcoming shift to EMV chip based authentication a new sled will be required) and a standard iPad at the cash wrap using additional peripherals with a base stand, stand alone CC swipe/ EMV chip reader, an additional customer facing mini to display the order and cost, and cash drawer. Additional retail technology includes a reader to verify large bills and a reverse ATM deposit safe where cash that is fed in to the machine immediately is deposited to the museums bank account.
Teamwork Retail had a number of the options we desired in a mobile POS:
• Form-factor and design matched the overall experience at the museum store
• Facilitate high-touch customer service environment
• Accommodate consignment, UBIT, unusual categorizations of items
• API to integrate with Salesforce


This paper acknowledges the contributions and collaborative work over two years across several MoMA teams, including individuals from the Membership, Development, Marketing, Information Technology, Digital Media, Retail, Finance, Accounting, and Internal Audit departments. This paper also acknowledges contributions made by teams within Appirio and Mindtree Limited. Finally, this paper especially acknowledges the contributions from MoMA’s Visitor Services and Member Services front-line teams, which provided the invaluable data and feedback presented in this paper through MoMA’s Mobile Adoption Study.


Anderson, Monica. (2015). “Technology Device Ownership: 2015.” Pew Research Center, Internet, Science, & Tech. Published October 29, 2015. Consulted January 26, 2016. Available http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/

Maloney, Jennifer. (2016). “Museum of Modern Art Unveils Revised Expansion Plans.” The Wall Street Journal. Published January 26, 2016. Consulted January 29, 2016. Available http://www.wsj.com/articles/museum-of-modern-art-unveils-revised-expansion-plans-1453845600

Pan, Diana, & Manish Engineer. (2015). “The 360-Degree View: Why an Integrated CRM Platform Is Important in Growing a Museum’s Membership Program.” MWA2015: Museums and the Web Asia 2015. Published August 21, 2015. Consulted January 29, 2016. Available http://mwa2015.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/the-360-degree-view-why-an-integrated-crm-platform-is-important-in-growing-a-museums-membership-program/

Pogrebin, Robin. (2014). “Ambitious Redesign of MoMA Doesn’t Spare a Notable Neighbor.” The New York Times. Published January 8, 2014. Consulted January 29, 2016. Available http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/arts/design/a-grand-redesign-of-moma-does-not-spare-a-notable-neighbor.html

Silverman, Adam. (2015). “The Business Case for mPOS Is Associate Enablement.” Forrester Research Report. Published April 23, 2015.

Cite as:
Pan, Diana, Manish Engineer and Rich Cherry. "Enabling mobile point of sale for museum staff." MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016. Published January 29, 2016. Consulted .