Point of sale technology has evolved at a rapid pace over the past decades. POS is no longer just about cash-and-carry transactions: it has become a key point of engagement, and a critical source of data that retailers are using to feed other systems and enhance the customer experience across all channels. There are new touchpoints, new operating systems, new hardware solutions and new technologies influencing retail software and retail businesses that were unheard of just a few years ago.
Is it time to update your POS? Perhaps you’ve had it with service calls, complaints about your current solution’s performance, or maybe you’re looking to try new customer engagement strategies that aren’t supported by the legacy solution. Whether it’s limitations or frustrations (or both) that influence your decision to investigate other options, there comes a time when investing in a new solution becomes important for the business’ health and continued progress.
Progress is impossible without change. – George Bernard Shaw
1. Customer Experience Suffering
Does your POS provide you with all the tools required to craft the amazing customer experience you’ve envisioned? Perhaps you’re looking to provide new types of promotions, or manage loyalty programs in creative, innovative ways. Maybe you want to accept new types of payments or offer customers the opportunity to receive paperless e-receipts. Modern POS solutions like Mi9 Mosaic Store are conceived with the customer experience at their core.
Efficient transaction processing is no longer enough: today’s retailers need customer-centric features such as configurable customer profiles, surveys, omni-channel integration, online order fulfillment at the store and more. If you’re not able to provide the customer experience you require to keep up with competition and grow your business, it’s definitely time to consider updating your POS technology.
2. Unsupported Solutions
Most software vendors will only support their solutions for a limited amount of time. Eventually, customers will be forced to pay more for support, or to upgrade or change solutions. What’s more, POS software written many years ago was conceived for the operating systems and hardware that was available at the time. Many retailers are still using point of sale solutions developed for the now-defunct Windows XP, leaving them potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks and requiring them to pay more for support compared to modern operating systems. Faced with the need to update servers, POS hardware or peripherals that can no longer be repaired, replaced or supported, many retailers realize that it’s also a good time to modernize their POS software.
3. Omni-Channel Challenges
Consumer expectations with regards to omni-channel retailing have evolved tremendously over the past few years. Consumers demand a consistent brand experience, whether they’re shopping online or in stores. They don’t care where an item is in stock, they simply want their hands on it, and fast. It’s no longer acceptable for associates in stores to not know real-time inventory across the chain. Customers won’t wait for associates to phone other stores hoping to find the item they desire.
Retailers need to enable in-store pickup of online orders and store fulfillment of items ordered from anywhere. Some retailers try to get by with workarounds in older solutions that cause productivity loss and introduce lots of risk for error. A modern point of sale solution designed for the realities of omni-channel retail will enable automated processes for order fulfillment, provide a holistic view of the customer across all channels and allow all users to access real-time inventory data from all stores and warehouses.
4. Accommodating Growth and Change
Retail is always changing: we are faced with new markets, evolving products, growing consumer demands, changing trends and emerging competition. It’s important that in-store technology can support this evolution of retail. Looking to expand into new countries? If your local POS solution does not support multiple currencies, taxes or languages, you could implement and integrate another solution in new countries. However, integration brings along additional costs, challenges, risk and time. Perhaps expansion into new geographies is a good reason to revisit all your POS technologies, including those used locally. A unified solution such as Mi9 Mosaic POS provides the centralized, real-time visibility needed to make informed decisions along with all the international POS features necessary for cross-border retailing.
Scalability is also key to growing retailers: if you’re finding that your current system is lagging with new volumes of SKUs, more customer profiles and added stores, it is likely time to start looking for a modern solution designed for scalability. The Mi9 Retail suite of solutions is built on the Microsoft SQL database, a best-of-breed platform with well-documented scalability and availability.
5. Tied Down
Feeling tied down with bulky POS hardware? Need a whole IT team just to add one more point of sale terminal whenever there’s a sidewalk sale? More and more retailers are designing their new stores with minimal cash wrap areas that no longer accommodate the clunky PC-based POS hardware of the past. Mobile POS has endless advantages with regards to enhancing the customer experience, eliminating line-ups and adding extra checkouts when and where they are needed.
An important advantage to modern POS such as Mi9 Mosaic POS is hardware independence: the solution has been conceived to be device-agnostic and operating system-agnostic. As new fixed and mobile hardware solutions become available, the software will not become obsolete, as did some older mobile POS solutions that were designed for specific hardware and operating systems.
5. Lack of Insights
Without data, how can retailers take action to improve? Reporting and analytics can be a challenge with some older POS solutions. Perhaps you’re not able to view web and brick-and-mortar data side-by-side. Maybe you’re lacking the holistic view of your customers. Not only will a modern point of sale solution provide omni-channel visibility, but integrated retail analytics modules will present data in ways that make it actionable. KPIs, charts and graphs are all useful tools to help users zero in on the insights they need to implement meaningful change in their organizations.
Whatever your reasons may be for considering an update to your POS technology, it’s clear that modern solutions have numerous advantages as compared to what was available only a few short years ago. At Mi9 Retail, we’re passionate about retail technology and adore working with retailers to find solutions that help them grow their businesses. We’d love to hear from you and show you our newest innovations in the area of POS and other retail enterprise solutions.