Point of sale (POS) technology is a tool some retailers just want to set and forget. They purchase a POS system and hope they never really have to think about it again — or at least not for the 7-to-10-year industry average between POS refreshes they read about. But there are risks to limping along with outdated technology, especially with systems as central and influential as your POS.
Below are four of the red flags that indicate your POS system may be past its prime:
- It’s Slow as Molasses. That might be an overstatement, but then again, maybe not. Does your POS touchscreen freeze up on a regular basis, not responding to cashiers repeatedly tapping away? Does it take forever and a day to advance from one screen to the next? Or maybe the printer is slow to spit out a faded, illegible receipt?
If that’s the case, your POS system may be on its last legs. Until you replace it, any glitch, hiccup, and delay along these lines can create headaches for your staff, annoyance for your customers and potentially lost sales for your business. Furthermore, if you have skipped annual POS software updates, working with outdated technology puts you at greater risk of security breaches, especially with today’s cyberattacks becoming increasingly frequent.Your POS terminal software may be running fine, but there could be a lack of integration that’s slowing you down. If your eCommerce, inventory management, CRM, loyalty, and other applications can’t communicate with terminal POS, there are probably inefficiencies that limit productivity — as well as the quality of customer service you can provide.
- You Can’t Accept New Payment Methods. Speaking of security, can your POS accommodate EMV-compliant solutions? If the answer is “no,” that’s a sign you have outdated POS technology on your hands.The transition to EMV in the U.S. has not been particularly smooth, but it’s important to protect your customers and your business from payment card fraud — especially with liability for fraudulent payment card transactions made with EMV cards falling to merchants that don’t have EMV-compliant technology. Your POS system also needs to be agile enough to allow you to accept other payment types such as near field communication (NFC) mobile wallets including Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay — and whatever else the future may bring.
- Functionality is Limited. Like payment trends, consumer behaviors and technology are continually changing, so your POS system needs to evolve as well. You may be aware your competitors are sending mobile offers to shoppers’ smartphones as they enter stores, seamlessly offering “buy online, pick up in store” options, and managing inventory across all channels with a single stock pool. If your current POS system can’t deliver this level of functionality, you need to consider upgrading your outdated technology to stay competitive.
- Dissatisfied Customers. Take a step back and evaluate from the customer’s perspective the types of shopping experiences you offer. If you were the shopper, how satisfied would you be with the level of personalized service and convenience your business provides? To put it simply: the customer experiences you offer must be as good as — or better — than your competitors to keep existing customers and to win new ones. With so much competition in the retail industry, you have to find ways to differentiate your business and it’s hard to do that with outdated technology.
An important tool that helps you provide the types of experiences customers are looking for is data. Your POS system needs to provide real-time, on-demand data analysis about your inventory levels, sales figures, labor stats, and more to help you steer your business in a profitable direction. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and outdated technology is limited in how much information it can provide. By upgrading your POS, you can run your business faster, smarter and with data-driven decisions.
Don’t let an obsolete POS system hold back your retail business. When you see a red flag that your POS system is outdated, start investigating options for an upgrade or a change to a digital store platform that provides a total retail management system. If the signs point to the fact that you have outdated technology, they are also signaling problems with the customer experiences your business provides — and that is something no retailer can afford to ignore.
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