Integrate POS services at tills
The use of multiple terminals at till points leads to inefficiency, lack of productivity and affects retailer profits. Wasted cashier time and longer queues are just the start of the challenges, for multiple standalone terminals puts retailers at much greater risk of mistakes and fraud. The solution is integrating all those services into the point of sale.
Customers expect more and more value-added services from retailers. However, adding a new terminal or hardware peripheral device for each service creates challenges. If one has a credit card terminal and maybe a second one from another bank and need to add yet another to support gift cards and loyalty, the till environment can be unacceptably cluttered.
The fraud aspect arises when the card payment terminal is not integrated with one's point of sale software and every payment transaction has to be manually performed on a card payment terminal and then captured on the point of sale as well. That invariably leads to mistakes and typically manifests itself in end of day reconciliation exceptions.
Adding a new terminal for each service also means training and retraining staff. That is a large expense on its own and it probably will not be enough. If one is incentivising staff by how quickly they can move people through the till, but checking loyalty points on the terminal takes a few extra seconds per customer, they have a very good reason to forget about the loyalty programme.
Finally, there are all the attendant problems of managing multiple pieces of hardware and associated consumables. Three terminals might mean three different network connections and three different printers, which take three different kinds of paper. This can be a waste of resources.
Integration leads to efficiency
Integrating services onto the point of sale means retailers only need to deal with one POS system, one printer and one network connection. It also means 100% accuracy, transactions are faster to process and it is easier to train cashiers. Services such as coupons and loyalty, which require reference to the actual items purchased, can only be optimally implemented when integrated to the point of sale. This supports the implementation of common business processes across all value added services, with the associated savings and productivity.
Retailers are best at doing retail. Managing multiple bits of IT is not their core business, especially in smaller retailers and it should not have to be. Rolling up multiple services into one's point of sale system makes life much easier.
About Ian Steyn
Ian is the Product Executive: Customer Engagement at Innervation PAN African Payment Solutions. He has over 15 years experience in the integration and operation of large range Value Added Services and Payments into various tiers and verticals within retail. Ian was part of a team that deployed the first online and real-time prepaid electricity vending in South Africa in 1998.