With all the attention being paid to mobile commerce, wearable technology and other cutting-edge developments in the world of retail IT, the in-store POS terminal is sometimes taken for granted. However, employing a rugged, durable POS terminal that can withstand the rigors of the modern retail environment can have a major impact on in-store customer experience and sales.
Chain Store Age recently spoke with Ron Chan, director of marketing, Posiflex USA, about the importance of durable POS terminals.
How can POS downtime negatively affect the customer experience?
Waiting to check out is a leading factor that customers use to gauge satisfaction levels: The longer the wait, the lower the approval. And this makes the difference between a repeat customer and one who never comes back. Business depends on word of mouth and social media reviews to drive new and repeat business.
Maximum uptime is critical especially to convenience stores or locations with 24/7, 365-day service where customers come around the clock. Your store is open for business, and your POS terminal must be ready as well.
How can POS downtime negatively affect the bottom line?
There are several ways in which POS downtime subtracts from a retailer’s bottom-line performance. First, there is lost revenue as customers just turn around and walk away when they cannot pay for their purchases. There is also the cost of maintenance, repair and labor. In addition, during downtime, each transaction takes much longer and more mistakes are made because sales associates have to manually calculate sales.
During the holiday season, when retailers earn the majority of their profits, downtime is especially damaging. Long lines and multi-item transactions become more cumbersome, and the holiday-specific purchases are irrevocably lost because they cannot be made up at any other time of year.
What are some of the major causes of POS downtime?
As time goes on, software patches, updates and upgrades demand more and more RAM and CPU resources, which slows a terminal to a crawl. Retailers should always buy more processing power than needed to future-proof their POS investment — not only as software continues to bloat, but also as databases keep getting bigger.
Other major causes include operator abuse, such as the use of pens, pencils, credit cards or other pointed objects on the touchscreens, high traffic and usage, spills, employees being rough with hardware, and dust. Heavy holiday store traffic and transaction volume also can put a particular strain on POS terminals.
What elements ensure POS uptime?
Quality parts, engineering and testing. All terminals generally work out of the box when they are new. The great differentiation between a good and bad choice of POS system is time, and Posiflex lasts for the long run. Initial cost is not the only consideration as repairs, downtime and maintenance can make a terminal, which is initially inexpensive, very costly down the line. Low long-term cost of ownership occurs when a terminal needs little to no maintenance, especially since POS terminal life spans four, five, six or even seven years of life.
What kinds of POS solutions is Posiflex offering retailers?
Posiflex provides best-of-breed hardware that can run virtually any software application utilizing touchscreen technology. From a POS perspective, which is the most common use, Posiflex can run off-the-shelf standard software like PC America, but also in-house custom software. The trend is that POS software and hardware companies have merged. Posiflex lets a retailer select the best-of-breed software, whether internally or externally designed, so the retailers can run it on best-of-breed hardware.
Posiflex goes beyond point-of-sale functionality, and is really a point-of-service provider as our terminals are used in kiosks to drive digital signage, bingo machines, ticketing, self-service checkout and healthcare patient check-in.