Guest Column | September 23, 2022

Modernizing The One-Trick Pony POS System Into A Multi-Functional Workhorse

By Brad Fick, Direct Source

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Many of today’s consumers want a seamless payment transaction without the friction of human interaction, long checkout lines, or inefficiencies. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this preference, as social distancing mandates offered up greater access to self-service solutions, encouraging contact-free and contactless payment methods. Credited as a key driver for digital transformation, the pandemic allowed consumers to try - and become comfortable with – traditional point of sale (POS) systems safely and knowledgeably.

However, traditional POS systems are often referred to as a one-trick pony because they’re only used as payment vehicles. Modern POS systems can do so much more – like capture key business and consumer data, improve efficiencies for associates and consumers and accelerate the speed of transactions. The large, obtrusive hardware of yesterday has been replaced by an intuitive, customer engagement system.

But how can retailers adapt to customers’ changing shopping behaviors without having to completely eliminate traditional POS systems? The answer is modernization.

3 Tips To Ease Modernization

Whether it’s a convertible POS, mobile POS or dedicated self-checkout solution, understanding how to successfully implement modern POS technology can help retailers save time and money during rollout, ultimately creating a higher return on investment. Here are three areas retailers should consider when modernizing a POS system.

1. Use Easily Upgradeable Components

While modernizing a POS system across every brick-and-mortar location might sound like a significant undertaking, there are ways to upgrade more cost-effectively and efficiently. Many retailers assemble POS systems from scratch, bundling together individual components such as printers and touch screen monitors with a cash-management system. Instead of replacing all the components at the same time, consider upgrading each component individually at different times. By swapping out just one piece of hardware at a time, retailers can adapt systems to fit customer needs at a more reasonable pace, spreading out the budget in a way that works for them. This is especially useful for retailers looking to upgrade their legacy equipment. They can use their printers, scanners, and cash-management system to create a self-checkout, without having to reinvent the wheel.

Upgrading hardware elements over time can greatly reduce the up-front investment retailers need to make, compared to replacing entire systems. Just by replacing some components, retailers can decrease maintenance costs and increase equipment reliability.

2. Mirror the Customers’ Shopping Journey

The pandemic pushed both retailers and customers to try new technologies. For example, shoppers who may have been apprehensive about self-checkout in the past found that it was an easy option. Many are now choosing it as a preference due to its convenience, minimal human interaction, and line-busting efficiencies. As retailers look to get the most out of existing checkout lanes, having more of customers’ preferred POS options can drive business efficiency and customer satisfaction.

A convertible POS system combines the functionality of a traditional POS system with the agility of a mobile system to adapt to different customer needs at different times. By implementing a convertible POS system, retailers can provide both a cashier and cashier-less experience. Lanes can be used as self-checkouts or quickly transformed into fixed lanes when needed.

Having a mobile POS system—a handheld device that allows consumers to check out from anywhere within the store—creates opportunities for store associates to move more customers through the payment process, faster. Customers can complete transactions at a counter, on the sales floor, or even curbside for those who prefer an online, pick-up experience. A mobile POS system also gives store associates more freedom to assist customers with purchase decisions or check inventory on the fly, maximizing employee productivity.

3. Leverage Partner Expertise

In today’s retail landscape, it can be difficult to know what steps to take to successfully update existing technology. Ongoing labor challenges, evolving consumer shopping behaviors, and an abundance of retail technology options can all be barriers to fast and cost-effective improvements. However, retailers don’t have to modernize solutions alone.

An experienced and unbiased retail consultant and integration partner with the right mix of knowledge on consumer preferences, technology trends, and hardware and software options can be a big help when it comes to making decisions. Whether looking to update POS components or implementing new ways to improve the overall in-store experience, leveraging a partner’s expertise can reduce the time and effort it takes to create a plan, source products, and manage deployment across all store locations. By working with experts, like Direct Source with over 30 years of experience, that have seen and done it all, retailers can reduce risks and surprises, adhere to proper security and other regulatory requirements, maintain timelines, and get advice when there are bumps in the road.

Modernizing For Agility

The pandemic illuminated an overdue need to modernize payments and POS systems to keep up with changes in consumer shopping behaviors. Rather than maintain that one-trick pony, retailers that modernize and take advantage of expanded POS capabilities will be better positioned to evolve as quickly as shoppers, ultimately, boosting ROI and revenue, while optimizing the customer experience.

About The Author

 Brad Fick is President of Direct Source.