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April 23, 2014

The Modern Point-of-Sale System: More Than Just Ringing Up The Sale

Merchants today know that to stay competitive, multiple business processes must be streamlined and completed within a single, integrated system. You should be able to ring up transactions, manage employee time-clocks and payroll, and track inventory all through a single point-of-sale (POS) platform.

However, the marketplace has been a bit overwhelming for merchants lately. So many new technologies have been flooding the market that it’s become harder for merchants to decipher what software tools could be right for their business. Frustration sets in when clear answers are few and far between, and merchants decide not to act because ‘analysis paralysis’ sets in, as they get the feeling the time and costs involved to integrate their POS is just too much.

Demand for POS integration solutions is strong. Merchants want an integrated system that can provide them powerful insights into their business operations and offer their customers the latest payment-acceptance technology. Any business would benefit from having everything properly set up all in one place, coming from a single vendor who knows their business. There is simply not time to see multiple salespeople for multiple products. Furthermore, there is a common belief that using multiple forms of technology across different systems to manage daily business functions will cost more time than it will save. And merchants do not want to have to buy a new system every few years just to keep up with technology.

What’s Important For Merchants

The major concerns for merchants come down to simplicity and security. Being able to rely on a single POS system for multiple functions helps business owners better serve customers and keep track of accounts. As new forms of payment roll out, merchants need flexible systems capable of integrating these new options, like an updated gift or loyalty program, or starting to accept mobile coupons. However, if these new programs can’t be integrated into their current POS system so all card processing activities get rolled into one statement, then value is lost and the whole thing becomes a headache. A business manager should not have to spend valuable time pleading with their POS system to work, or merging data from multiple different accounts. Merchants need high speed transactions from easy-to-use systems that ensure they get paid as quickly as possible.

Security is another big discussion point with any POS system, but especially when working to integrate all accounts into one place. Customers and merchants alike are more aware than ever about the dangers and risks of security breaches. Customers look to the merchant for comfort and confirmation that their card data is being handled securely. The industry has pushed consumers into an awareness mode – this forces merchants to be pro-active in demonstrating to customers their data is safe. Consumers find comfort with fast, efficient checkout machines that display advanced security features or third-party compliance endorsements. Remember when dealing with your customers that perception is reality. If they experience a cumbersome, or unorthodox checkout, you lose good faith, and the assumption becomes that your process for handling card data after the sale is just as poor. Streamlined all-in-one systems instill confidence in your shoppers, and they won’t feel concerned to look further to know their data is safe.

Integrating Your POS System

Competition is heating up for smaller merchants to compete with the big boys. No one wants to be the last shop on the block (or the last website) with the latest technology. At MBN, we are finding that value-added service opportunities beyond just accepting credit cards are making a big difference for merchants. We provide customized POS solutions tailored for your business. This means a food service business can add tablets so wait staff can process cards table-side, or outside for to-go orders. These types of solutions are what merchants need to level the playing field with bigger competitors.

We also understand that merchants can’t afford any down time transitioning to a new system. New equipment and software must be integrated without excessive interruption to current day-to-day operations. At MBN, we take the headache out of upgrading from one system to another and can work within your schedule to get you processing like a pro in no time.

Like it or not, if you are still operating with a cash register and magnetic stripe swipe only card reader, you will have to be replacing your terminals over the next couple of years. High-tech features are not everything when it comes to a new system, but integration of accounting, reporting and payroll functions is. A newly integrated POS system should be complete with flexible terminals for accepting and adopting new payment options like digital wallets, along with the software capabilities to bridge the gap between accepting traditional magnetic swipe cards and accommodating EMV chip cards.

The future checkout counter standard will consist of a customer facing, EMV and TAP capable terminal, that can work seamlessly with the POS system and cash drawer. If you are already feeling that your current POS system is bogging down operations, the future is upon you. Continued growth in cloud-based transactions and mobile payments ensure that merchants who adapt quickly will be the most protected.

Learn more about what EMV ‘Smart Cards’ mean for your business.

Also check out our latest point-of-sale terminals!