A store’s POS hardware is an essential part of the retail transaction, and in order to get the most value out of their investment, it is important to keep these systems maintained. Here are a few of the areas which stores will need to be aware of in order to ensure that they are getting the most out of their POS systems:
Warranties, Upgrades, and Enhancements
Each of the various types of equipment that make up a complete POS system have different warranties and expected life rates. Maintenance packages that include on-site repair, extended warranties, or next day depot exchanges have changed the landscape of how often POS equipment needs to be replaced.
Because of quality proactive and reactive maintenance plans, there is undoubtedly a great deal of hardware in working condition long past its expectancy. This leads us to ask, “What drives a retailer to upgrade their equipment?" There are multiple reasons for POS equipment upgrades or enhancements, such as:
While a company’s IT department was once reactive to the operational or fiscal goals of the company, today’s CIO demands his or her seat at the decision making table, helping to determine how to grow customer loyalty and experience through IT initiatives. By remaining aware of the systems which their stores currently have in place and which upgrades and enhancements are available, these executives ensure that their POS hardware continues to provide the most value for their company.
A particular trend of note is the concept of having devices be “retail hardened”, meaning that they have been tested against the specific type of environments found in a retail/hospitality space, such as a dust or spills. While this was once seen as being extremely important and a strong selling point, the market has seen an increase in non-retail hardened devices, such as Apple® iPods or iPads, being introduced because their cost of repair or replacement is manageable due to their low selling price. The OEMs that produce retail-hardened devices have worked hard to produce “sexier” versions of their mobile or dockable devices to respond to the customer-driven Apple boom we have seen in the market.
Sticking to basic habits such as keeping as clean an environment as possible or properly training associates in use of POS systems can go a long way toward ensuring the longevity of hardware. In addition to these best practices, we recommend practicing proactive maintenance.
Typically, retailers find themselves in a reactive mode, only addressing their POS equipment when it breaks. A great value-add that retailers can benefit from is completing proactive maintenance on all their hardware while they have a technician in the store to address another issue. This may cause the tech to increase the amount of time onsite, thus increasing the cost of that particular job by a small amount, but the ultimate cost benefits will outweigh this additional charge. This proactive maintenance will decrease the chance of POS hardware failure, reducing the need to call the technician in for emergency repairs, as well as the worst-case scenario of hardware failure during a busy time that leads to lost sales and poor customer experience.
New Vs. Old Equipment
Because of the strategic open/close/remodel rates of retail stores, we are seeing more retailers conducting soft rollouts of new POS equipment. For example, they may only bring in new POS hardware into new/remodeled stores, and as older stores’ equipment begins to fail, the newly selected hardware will be introduced. This approach, like all others, produces many pros and cons. If you’re trying to determine the best approach for your business, we would love to discuss these options with you. Please contact us, and we can help you plan and implement a successful rollout.