For any manufacturers of point of sale software or equipment, keeping a finger on the pulse of retailers is crucial for developing products and services that suit their needs. The retail industry is fast-moving and what works today may not be effective tomorrow.
This is particularly the case with POS systems. As Vertical Systems Reseller noted, retailers can be hard to pin down. Buying a new POS solution isn’t always getting the best equipment available, it may be as simple as eliminating the pains they have encountered with their current systems. That means developers must not only be reacting to current events, but also the offerings of their competitors. If another POS developer comes up with a solution that does the same thing but more effectively, that can lead to a significant shift in the market.
Main reasons to upgrade POS solutions
VSR’s most recent report, State of the POS Market, delved into some of the leading reasons retailers are looking to upgrade their solutions. By keeping this in mind, developers can craft a compelling product that appeals to their target audience.
From the biggest priority to the least, here are some of the top reasons for upgrade:
- Achieve PCI compliance (53 percent)
- Integrate mobile POS support (49 percent)
- Improve customer service and the overall experience (39 percent)
- Increase speed of checkout (38 percent)
- Real-time reporting to the main office (24 percent)
- Enable new payment options, such as e-wallets (23 percent)
- Tighter integration with e-commerce platforms (22 percent)
- Enable omnichannel selling in stores (21 percent)
PCI compliance is by far the biggest issue noted by respondents and the issue has only become more pressing this past year, thanks to Microsoft discontinuing support of Windows XP, an operating system used in many POS systems.
“Only big box retailers and, to a lesser degree, department stores, give other POS benefits a higher ranking, presumably because they have sufficient IT staff to dedicate to compliance. PCI’s top rating among merchant concerns is a good reminder to make sure PCI compliance is highlighted in POS marketing campaigns,” the report added.
Mobile was the other big reason to upgrade and it’s not hard to understand why. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere - retailers use them to transact payments and to manage their POS solutions, while customers leverage them for research and to pay for goods. Nearly three-quarters of larger merchants (25 terminals or greater) said mobile devices were the primary reason they wanted to upgrade.
Finally, the customer is king at every retailer. If merchants can improve customer service and the overall shopping experience with a new POS solution, they’ll make the appropriate move to do so. A new or upgraded POS solution could help them improve the speed of the checkout, for example - if they are accustomed to payments being transacted in two seconds, waiting 10, 15 or 20 seconds at other retailers can be a huge disadvantage, the VSR report added. Greater security and loyalty systems are other reasons to upgrade.
Making the right decisions for the right environment
Although the VSR report noted some of the common reasons merchants want to upgrade their POS solutions, it’s important to realize that every retailer is different. As the VSR report noted, some settings, such as gas stations, may actually not be fit for mobile POS solutions, simply because flammable liquids such as gasoline may actually degrade touch screens and make the system difficult to use.
At the end of the day, it’s crucial POS developers understand the needs of different merchants and create a product that suits those demands.