No grocer takes the decision to replace their point of sale system lightly. As we’ve discussed before (See 4 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your POS Hardware), all equipment eventually reaches the end of its duty cycle. But, when it comes to POS hardware, “replacing” is not necessarily the same as “upgrading.” Whether it’s time to replace the entire system, or upgrade the components which are no longer viable, your upgraded POS system should deliver innovation and establish a foundation for your store’s future success.
But retail technology is changing fast. Before deciding on an upgrade path, you need to understand how cost, capabilities, customer expectations, and more affect your decisions about future POS hardware. Here are five top considerations for decisionmakers when upgrading a grocery’s retail POS hardware.
Retail hardware needs to be retail-hardened
We call it retail-hardened for a reason. In a grocery environment, you process thousands of transactions every day. Just as you wouldn’t ask a light-duty pickup truck to move ten tons of steel, you wouldn’t trust a conventional PC-based set-up to handle your sales volume without experiencing a hiccup. After all, system failures will only disrupt the two most vital business processes your POS system supports: counting your money and recording customer data.
A retail-hardened system is one in which both hardware and software are durable, reliable, and serviceable. Traditional retail-hardened POS manufacturers keep product models available for an extended number of years. This isn't because they are slow to innovate their products, but rather to guarantee retailers can procure replacement equipment, parts, and new units to maintain and build out a working system. By contrast, PC cash drawer manufacturers cycle through hardware models left and right, shortening the replaceability of their hardware to between nine and 14 months. Retail grocery operators simply can’t replace their POS components that often.
Price is not total cost of ownership
With any big purchase, upfront costs always loom large. But grocers should have to look beyond the initial price tag to true return on investment. One retail POS system might require more capital investment than a competitor’s model. Yet if it generates a greater ROI in a shorter period, it represents a better value than the so-called less expensive equipment.
What does this look like in practice? Consider the following scenario. Your store operates seven lanes of traditional registers. Ask yourself: "Do we need to do a one-to-one refresh of those seven lanes, or is this an opportunity to add self-checkout?" Entertaining the latter option means potential labor savings, as well as satisfying customers who expect a modern store to offer self-checkout. In short, the upgrade is not limited to your POS system. It touches every aspect of your operations.
Will you be supported after the sale?
When deciding how to upgrade your POS, it’s essential to consider service and support. Purchasing off-the-shelf components and installing them yourself may appeal from a cost perspective, but DIY often means FIY, or “fix it yourself.” Your POS software vendor isn’t going to accept responsibility when the scanner scale you installed on your own decides to stop working with it. You’re likely on your own.
Purchasing from an experienced, reputable manufacturer who offers integrated software and hardware presents distinct advantages. Such vendors tend to treat your relationship as a partnership rather than something transactional. They understand that your success creates long-term business opportunities for them as well.
Does your POS put the customer experience first?
The POS hardware your customers see and interact with can inspire confidence that you’re paying attention to their needs and expectations—or it can convey that you’re stuck in the past. It’s hard enough competing with the rival grocer in the neighborhood, but the shopping experience you provide is also constantly being compared with online grocery shopping options.
Make sure your POS technology provides a customer experience that’s contemporary in look, feel, and function. For example, your customers will be far more impressed by an LCD touchscreen display than an old CRT at the cash register. They’ll expect your payment terminal to be compatible with mobile-friendly payment options such as ApplePay. Your system should scan digital coupons and barcodes on a smartphone. Start with a clean, modern POS system that removes any friction from the grocery shopping experience.
A full-featured, modern POS also helps your employee productivity. If you want your team members to provide your exceptional customer service, give them the tools they need.
Compliance should be a big selling point
Your POS upgrade must allow you to adhere to regulatory standards, or you’ll find yourself upgrading again very quickly. EMV chips are the new standard for enhanced security features of today’s payment cards, and soon every retailer must be able to read them and handle them.
Far from being just another cost of doing business, compliance can be a valuable asset. Take the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), for example. By upgrading to a POS system that follows these guidelines, you lower your risk of being the victim of a massive data breach—and the subject of headlines everywhere. POS systems that are optimized for compliance protect your brand’s reputation, your customers’ loyalty, and your bottom line.
When the time comes to upgrade your grocery’s retail POS hardware, keep these considerations in mind. And remember that the experts at TRUNO have the knowledge and expertise to set you up with the grocery retail system that best fits your needs.