Owning a business isn’t just about coming up with innovative ideas and raking in the cash benefits; it also involves making a number of important decisions about how your business will run. This means considering the type of payments that you will accept – and how you’re going to accept them.
For some time now, point of sale (POS) systems have been at the heart of every retail business available, and they are one of the largest technical investments you will make in the initial introduction of your company. Of course, as we progress further into the future, with new ideas emerging within the technological areas of life on a frequent basis, new ways of accepting payment are arriving onto the market. To some, the mobile point of sale technologies have begun to transform the face of brick-and-mortal retail – but others are reluctant to move away from the reliability of fixed POS. The reason for this is that fixed point of sale will continue to remain a crucial and relevant part of business for the foreseeable future – regardless of what new technology may emerge.
The Different Options for Point Of Sale
Today, there are two ways in which businesses can accept payments through point of sale. The recent introduction of mobile POS systems has allowed companies to process payments using credit card readers attached to tablets and smartphones, digital wallets that process online payments (such as PayPal), mobile apps, and mobile wallets. On the other hand, traditional point of sale systems use technology such as:
- Credit card terminals
- Cash registers
- Barcode scanners
- Receipt printers
- Touch screens
As with any new technology, each solution appears with its own list of pros and cons. First off, most businesses are more familiar with the format of traditional point of sale systems, which have been around for nearly 3 decades. These fixed POS methods are the most accepted and recognized way to process credit card, check, and cash payments. However, they lack some of the conveniences offered by mobile payments, which can be processed anytime, anywhere. Most companies are asking themselves whether the sheer convenience of mobile POS is worth the numerous problems currently associated with it.
The Common Problems with Mobile POS
As is often the case, the introduction of new tech brings with it the delivery of new potential problems. Though mobile point of sale systems are continually being improved and updated – like any technology – they continue to have some issues. For example, if you’re a small business setting up for the first time, an mPOS costs money to install and upgrade. Updates to hardware and the cost of improving your current systems can have a significant impact on your budget.
Another issue is the fact that it will take time and money to train employees on how to use mobile POS. Although we live in a technical age, it’s worth remembering that not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, and few may understand how to use one for serving customers. On top of this, even with adequate training, there have been issues reported in the past wherein mobile POS systems hold payments back without any explanation. This can cause problems for banking and cashing records, as well as the customer that is being served. PayPal and other services sometimes freeze accounts and withhold funds from time to time, so employees will need to know what to do if this happens including how to reassure the customer or point them in the right direction to deal with the problem.
Furthermore, unlike with traditional point of sale systems, everything in a store, restaurant, or at an event will hinge on the fact that a good internet connection can be maintained. If you are using mobile point of sale to take payments, then a reliable and sturdy internet connection is essential to keep you running at full potential. If your connection drops, or starts to become temperamental, your business can begin to suffer. Not only will you feel the impact of the problem on your company, but your customers will start to feel it too and will likely become frustrated as they wait for you to fix an issue that is beyond your control.
Finally, not everyone is completely comfortable with the advent of web-based technology. Though new innovations arrive on a regular basis, it’s important to recognize that even the most tech-minded individuals can be overwhelmed by new developments – particularly when it comes to instances of security. If you decide to begin using mobile POS systems, you may find that some of your customers are untrusting of new technology and may feel more comfortable making payments using traditional methods. As a business owner it may be easy to reassure your customers that everything will be fine, but remember that published studies have suggested that using a mobile POS system can make customers more vulnerable than any other payment platform.
Fixed Point of Sale Isn’t Going Anywhere
Though some businesses will struggle with making the choice between sticking with traditional POS systems or moving to mobile options, it’s fair to say that fixed POS will always have a place in the market. Research has found that the brick-and-mortar stores of today still process 95% of all payments through traditional POS terminals, and believe that mobile options offer a potential enhancement – rather than a replacement – to fixed POS.
Though companies are developing mobile systems to both replace and augment traditional POS systems, the chances are that these new technologies will never completely replace traditional fixed solutions. For many businesses, experts still suggest that traditional POS systems are the best choice because they offer a sense of familiarity and security.
POS systems will continue to hold their position in the industry since they continue to serve a crucial purpose for all merchants. Aside from processing payments, these systems also include inventory control and accounting systems, as well as store databases of customer information.
What do you think about the introduction of mobile point of sale? Do you believe that anything could replace the comfort and convenience of a fixed POS system?