5 Essential POS Selection Tips for Retail Merchants

Point of sale (POS) is the terminal where retail transactions end. A lot depends on the quality of the POS system. One with subpar quality causes downtime and errors, and triggers customer dissatisfaction.

Retail merchants are recommended to use the best quality POS. Problem is there are plenty out there and all come with the damper of being the “best.” How to look beyond the cheapjack damper and X out the low-quality ones?

POS Selection Tips

Here are some tips that retailers can follow:

Security checks 

People are aware of the rising incidences of hacking and online theft. Many are reluctant to purchase online. This reluctance has permeated into deeper layers of their consumer psyche, as in, many even feel hesitant to swipe their cards in retail POS systems.

Merchants need to ensure their POS systems are fully secure. The EMV liability shift puts the onus of customer information breach on the merchant. Hence, to be on the safe, merchants need to follow PCI compliant guidelines for POS.

Isolating the POS system from other enterprise technologies is necessary, in order to keep it secure. Curious to know why? A senior retail security solution architect called Mark Bower explained it: “POS systems are often the weak link in the chain and vulnerable.”

Adding an extra layer of security doesn’t hurt, especially if it comes at a pocket-friendly price range. Encryption services function as this added layer. It’s wise to install end-to-end encryption service. This kind of encryption service renders all customer data useless once security is breached.

Accumulated payment options 

Cutting-edge POS systems are more equipped than outdated retail terminals. Those systems serve multiple purposes. Digital wallet, E-cash and card solutions are to name a few. Merchants can use the digital wallet feature to earn customer’s trust. Sometimes, customers want to deposit money instead of readily purchase something.

Prepaid cards and solutions are a new vogue in the retail industry. Companies like Paysafe offer customers prefer prepaid consumer currency cards, so they don’t have to use debit cards. They refill the card when its currency plummets.

Shopping digital often requires online cash or net banking. A POS system must handle electronic cash transaction without trouble. For that, it needs to have a presence in worldwide market. Or else, it cannot quickly touch base currency values of different nationalities.

Mobile crowd engagement 

The POS must pull and engage the mobile crowd. When it comes to engaging the mobile traffic, two things matter the most:

  • Responsive POS
  • Millennial customers

The two are apparently different from one another. Responsive design is a webpage layout technique and millennials are a demographic group. A detailed analysis, however, reveals the two are connected.

Responsive POS signifies HTML5-based responsive design for POS applications. On the development front, such applications require debugging of Javascript and CSS conflicts. It’s not that difficult for an experienced developer. Responsive design not only makes the applications visually enticing, but flexible and advanced.

Millennials are always on a hurry. They can’t wait for a retail application to load. Responsive POS applications are flexible and load quickly. Besides, those applications come with a fluidic interface and allow media queries, so POS advertising runs smoothly. Such applications can bring more customers and retain them.

Service availability 

The last thing the owner of a retail business wants is service downtime. Downtime during the peak hours, when customers are all over the store, implies only one thing – client dissatisfaction and ensuing loss of sale. Service availability, therefore, is among the key requirements of retail POS.

Even a temporary downtime can be disastrous for a retail merchant. Here’s an eye-opener for those who think POS service downtime is not that big of an issue:

The estimated loss of retail sale, caused by POS downtime is nearly $5000 a minute. 

The major causes of downtime include but are not limited to:

  • Human errors
  • Technical glitch such as power or cable fault
  • Weather problems
  • Lack of failover solutions
  • Site architectural issues

No matter how sophisticated a POS system is, it can always fall victim to cyber attack or a malicious trojan virus or network problems, which is why, it’s customary for retailers to have a BDR (backup and disaster recovery) system at place.

A POS system with 24/7 service availability lowers the odds of downtime or failure. With BDR, the risk of downtime comes down to almost zero.

Cloud and IoT 

POS systems need to be armed with relevant business technologies. Two such technologies, taking the business world by storm are cloud and IoT. The biggest advantage of cloud POS is mobility. Cloud virtualizes hardware setup, nullifying the possibility of downtime.

Cloud can customize the POS functionality according to business needs. For example, customers can place orders using their Smartphones and the checkout formalities can be completed instantly, with them obtaining the receipt via email. Cloud is uber cost-effective, as it can operate in a hardware-less environment.

POS systems with IoT compatibility amounts to a wider choice of device selection for customers. IoT brings Internet connectivity to all forms of devices, even the ones that can be easily shoved inside the pocket. These devices can be turned into POS terminals. Online POS systems designed for IoT environment enable customers to buy from anywhere, at anytime, without even needing conventional devices such as Smartphones or Tablets.

Summing up 

The five aspects, discussed above define a worthwhile POS system, one that’s worthy of investing money. A retail merchant needs to bear these five requirements in mind and look for them when selecting a POS.

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