Businesses of all types and industries that directly deal with customers have one requirement in common – a modern and functional point of sale (POS) system. Whether it is a retail store, restaurant, healthcare clinic, hospitality or any other niche, a POS setup is used for speedy checkouts with accurate transactions.
An effective point of sale system, can provide your business with a multitude of benefits. These range from inventory management to employee management, and generating analytical reports, in addition to processing transactions. With new POS systems coming out regularly, how do you know when it is time to replace your existing system?
A POS system involves software and hardware components. Proper maintenance and timely updates can increase their life, but there may come a time when upgrade is a better option. Here is a guide on when you should consider changing your POS system.
POS Hardware Components
Point of sale hardware components typically consist of an operating system, display monitor, barcode scanner, printer, cash drawer, and EFTPOS. Typically, the POS hardware components have a life of 4-7 years. Appropriate POS maintenance, cleaning, and monitoring are necessary for smooth functioning and also help extend their life.
Here are a few signs that it may be time to replace the POS hardware:
1. Unreliable Performance
Reliability of the point of sale system is of vital importance for all businesses. Frequent shutdowns of any of the hardware components resulting in extended downtime can damage business growth. Especially during rush hours, sudden hardware outage is detrimental to brand image and increases risk of customers leaving without completing a purchase. While occasional errors are to be expected, if the functioning stops multiple times in a week, consider replacing the hardware component.
2. Time-Consuming Operations
If the POS hardware components work fine, it might be tempting to assume that there is no need for a change. However, the speed of operations should also be a concern. Time is money and if simple transactions are taking up a lot of time, that can accumulate into a loss for you. Slow operating POS transactions waste the time of your customers and employees, and customers are more likely to choose competitors with faster services. Pinpoint which hardware component is taking up the most time, and consider replacing with a faster model.
3. Outdated Features
Latest POS hardware components come with advanced features enabling greater connectivity and functionality. If your current POS hardware offers only limited features, you can try out more advanced versions. These latest alternatives are affordable, space saving, faster, and sleeker, enabling you to provide your customers with a better checkout experience. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are especially helpful for receipt printers, movable displays save space, and barcode scanners are able to read a wider range of codes much faster.
4. Limited Payment Processing Capabilities
Payment trends have continually evolved over the years, moving from cash to credit/debit cards and now to new contactless modes of payment. Facilitating new payment modes is a great way of encouraging customers to purchase from your business. If your existing EFTPOS card processing system cannot accept contactless payments, it might be time to replace it. Choose a versatile payment processor that is fast and accurate, and can support as many payment modes as needed.
5. Challenges in Integration
A POS system involves multiple hardware components that operate cohesively with the designated software. Accordingly, it is important that all hardware components smoothly integrate with each another and with the software you are using. If you have recently upgraded your POS software, or purchased a major hardware component, remember to check that the existing hardware can integrate with the new parts. If there are connectivity hang-ups, or screens are going blank due to integration problems, replacing the POS hardware might be needed.
6. Challenging Maintenance
For any POS solution, maintenance is a crucial part of caring for the system. As hardware components grow older, the required POS maintenance and care can become more challenging. The frequency of cleaning and checking will increase to make sure that everything is working correctly. Over the years, normal wear and tear lead to a higher risk of malfunctions and damage. If you find that a significant portion of time is going to repeated maintenance, replacing the hardware component with a more efficient model may be advisable.
7. Discontinued Parts
As with any other type of hardware, you may need to have the POS hardware repaired at some point of time. Unfortunately, if the hardware older, it will be difficult finding suitable support to repair the hardware if there has been any damage. In addition, it can be challenging finding replacement parts, especially if the model has been discontinued. Rather than spending time and effort in repairing an old piece of equipment, consider purchasing a replacement, which would come with a fresh warranty and years of problem-free usage.
At the backbone of any modern point of sale system is the software, which connects all the hardware components and issues the core commands. The software enables you to input products, calculate the cost, accept payment, and print the receipt. Most POS software will save the data from the transactions and offer additional features. POS software is usually available either on a monthly/annual subscription-based model, or as a licenced software with one-time fee and paid updates.
Here are some indicators that you might need an upgrade of your current POS software:
1. Unreliable Performance
If your POS software is frequently hanging up or requiring repeated reboots then that can be a sign of trouble. Of course, all software can have occasional hang ups, but if it is happening repeatedly despite updating the system and troubleshooting, it may be time to upgrade the software. Having an unreliable POS software, that needs rebooting multiple times a week and tends to freeze up on specific orders can discourage customers and hamper your business growth.
2. Software is Slow
Nowadays, speed is everything, and if you have a very slow operating POS software, that may be cause for concern. If the software is consistently slow, despite all your efforts and updates, you may want to consider changing the software itself. A slow checkout point wastes your time, and that of your customers and employees. Customers may also be discouraged by slow checkouts, and opt for competitors that offer faster transactions.
3. Difficult to Extract Data
Data has immense potential for a business. Accurate and timely data can help guide you in marketing campaigns, business plans, inventory management and overall management. In a POS system, apart from conducting transactions, all the pertaining data is also saved. If the software makes it difficult to extract the data in an accessible, usable and understandable format, you lose out on the potential of the data.
4. Difficulty in Scaling up
An ideal POS software should be able to support the growth of your business. This can include facilitating the establishment of additional terminals in a single store, multiple stores, or an eCommerce site in addition to the physical stores. The software should also be able to add an unlimited number of products and categories, as required. If there are restrictions on the number of products, terminals, or stores, or if the software performance begins lagging, it might be better to switch to a more suitable POS software.
5. Challenges in Integration
Advanced POS systems are capable of carrying out all the in-house functions of a business and easily integrate with other programs, reducing the need for manual efforts. If your existing software is not supporting easy integration, you would have to spend extra time and risk errors by transferring data between different tools and programs. Make the most of modern technology by switching to software that makes your work easier, while also boosting accuracy and saving time.
Over time, the cost of POS software has reduced, while the features have increased. If you are currently using a monthly subscription-based software model, it might be a good idea to check out other software options. It is entirely possible that you can find a cheaper yet equally or more effective software option. The initial change to a different software setup can be tiresome, but in the long run, you will save time and money.
7. Limited Features
Older POS software still carry out all the basic operations expected from a point of sale setup. So, the number of features doesn’t have to be a reason to get new software. However, latest software offers advanced features such as real time reporting, eCommerce compatibility, social media integrations, digital receipts, and email marketing campaigns. Depending upon the competition in your niche, offering these advanced features can help you get an edge over the competition.
For any type of equipment or software, adequate care is essential, however, after a certain point, replacement or upgradation to a better model may be better. The same holds true for point of sale systems. Whether it is the POS hardware components or the software that supports them, if they are hampering the growth of your business, it is time for a change.
As technology evolves and competition increases, POS solutions are becoming more advanced and cost-effective. For an inexpensive solution, you can replace individual POS components rather than changing the entire setup. Another option is to replace everything and choose an affordable bundle.
At POS Plaza we are experts in providing pos hardware for your pos system, and can help you find an ideal solution for your business. Reach out to us to discuss your needs today.