POS systems are essential to almost every retail business. So essential, and common, that they are just about as easy to buy as a regular computer. But that doesn’t mean that the problems with your POS system are as easy to fix as problems with a computer. Especially if you have more than one system in your store, or systems in many different locations.
Perhaps worse, your POS system problems can lead to serious issues, including security breaches due to cyber attacks. This can include your customers sensitive, personal and financial information.
So, the more aware you are of potential issues with your POS system, the fewer problems, and risks, your business will face.
The Most Common POS Problems
1. Insecure Systems
We’ll address that cyber security issue first because of the serious consequences it can have for your company. Again, unlike a regular computer, a POS system has multiple points of vulnerability, including the following.
- POS terminal
- Credit card terminal
- Internet link
- POS endpoints (data storage)
Especially in older systems without proper encryption, each one of these points can be an inviting target for a hacker. It’s important to ensure every component of your complete POS system is PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant.
2. Risky POS Vendors
We said that POS systems are ‘just about’ as easy to buy as a computer because POS terminals are generally purchased through third-party vendors instead of directly from system manufacturers. You may rely on your POS vendor for a number of functions for their POS system beyond supply a terminal. These can include technical support for the terminal and connecting multiple terminals to a network.
Depending on the tools and security your POS vendor uses to supply its service, your business may be at risk through their systems. You need to know that your POS vendor uses secure remote access systems and are compliant with regulations surrounding the services they supply. You can ensure that these and other protections for your business are in place in the Service Level Agreement you enter into with your vendor.
3. The Wrong System for Your Business
Obviously, if you have a single-outlet boutique, you have different POS system requirements than if you’re a national retail chain. But even smaller retailers need to be very aware about the system they choose. You may find what looks like a bargain terminal, only to realize that you are charged extra for exceeding the number of transactions you’re allowed.
There are exponentially more things to look for in larger POS systems and networks. Did you get the right training, at all the different locations your business operates? What’s included in your SLA? Are you tied to a particular financial institution? Do you get what you need from the system, including inventory tracking and reporting? And, of course, what does it all cost?
4. Installation & Support
One of the biggest source of POS downtime relate back to installation issues. From connectivity issues to compatibility problems, the numerous points in a POS system also complicate their installation.
Even worse, you may have a problem due to poor installation, but not have the support in place to fix it. Again, the problems are exacerbated for larger multi=location systems. Looking again at training, if all your staff aren’t properly trained, it increases a chance of support issues arising. Did they get the right training? Are you covered if something was missed?
5. Hidden Costs of Issues
This isn’t really about surprise extra costs. They can be a problem, but we trust that your vendor search will have weeded out those types of operators. But there are costs to all of the issues listed above that many businesses don’t realize or account for. Something as simple as a brief interruption in service can cost any business untold losses not only in lost sales, but lost customer goodwill. And how much did it cost you in marketing and merchandising to get those customers into your store?
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article Cost Considerations of In-House IT Professionals vs Managed Service Providers.