Welcome to the Age of Affordable EPOS
Today, you can set up an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system that will wow your customers and slash your admin, for as little as $2,000. Add the monthly costs of processing electronic payments, and a software subscription and you’re good to go.
Fast moving checkout queues, great customer service and incentive schemes, slick management tools, automated and integrated business processes are all within the grasp of any small to medium business taking payments at point of sale.
So what’s stopping you?
The biggest obstacle for most businesses is fear – there’s not enough time, it’s too difficult, it’ll cost too much - but nowadays these fears are unjustified. And the bottom line is you can’t compete in today’s retail environment without EPOS. EPOS isn’t just for those who want to grow – it’s a must for those who want to stick around. Of course, there’s some work to do, investment in time and resources, and some pitfalls to avoid, but your competitors are doing it, your customers expect it, and it’s easier than you think, so read on…
Small is beautiful
Today’s solutions are incredibly compact. The basic hardware set up comprises a tablet, a PIN pad, and a printer.
The tablet (or computer or smartphone) is the brains, and handles transaction data. You can choose a top of the range iPad, but many middle range tablets will do the job perfectly well.
The PIN pad provides the means to capture data from your customers’ card or other payment method (think phone, watch, tie-pin…), through physical insertion, tapping or through thin air, via contactless technology. The PIN pad doesn’t store any customer or card data, so data security worries are minimal.
You’ll need a basic Bluetooth printer - which uses wireless technology, so no cables to worry about. There are lots of great and affordable options for retailers. You’ll also need a cash drawer - somewhere to stash the cash and merchant copy card receipts, and you’ll want to pick up a barcode scanner if you’re looking to automate your stock and inventory.
With Cloud technology, you don’t need to store data on site, a big advantage when considering compliance with PCI’s Data Security Standards. As long as you have an internet connection, choosing a secure cloud storage solution means no worrying about the security of your data. There are plenty of options out there that are pre-certified PCI DSS compliant, removing a big potential IT headache.
It’s that simple.
…But don’t cut corners on POS
Choosing the right POS software will likely be your biggest challenge. There is a bewildering array of offers of software ranging from ‘free’ to eye watering. The key is to pick the right solution for your business. And, it can be tricky to get the right balance of price, functionality, ease of use and set up and support.
If you’re considering paid for options, you’re looking at either a one-time license fee, plus additional fees for upgrades and support, or a monthly subscription. Either way, you’ll be surprised how much you can get for a modest outlay.
If you’re a really small business and want to keep it that way, you’re not ready to automate your admin, like to learn by doing, or simply want a low cost option to process cards, then a free option, like Hiboutik or Imonggo, might be just the thing.
One of the downsides with freebies is that support will be limited or non-existent. A better option for many businesses will be to take advantage of the free trials offered by the better supported software options. Give it a try and see what suits you best.
Protect your investment!
Failing to physically protect your new POS set up is just as important as protecting your data. . While your PIN pad and tablet didn’t break the bank, electronics are always attractive to thieves, so make sure you secure your equipment with a lockable, fully secure mounting solution like Tailwind’s FlexiPole.
FlexiPole also protects your technology from spills and knocks, looks great at the checkout, and ensures you get long and fruitful service from your new team member. It will make your insurance company happy too.
No clock watching!
If you want to harvest the full potential of your new system, block off plenty of time in your diary. While the basic set up is pretty straightforward, particularly if you’ve got support, familiarising yourself with the full functionality, integrating your new system with existing systems and processes, particularly on the accounting and inventory sides, and training your staff, will all take time.
If you’re new to electronic payments, you’ll need to set up an account with a Merchant Services Provider (MSP) who will handle the transaction processing. You’ll also need to factor in some time to fulfil PCI DSS compliance requirements.
Hone your strategy!
The challenge, as with all aspects of running a successful business, is to be clear about your needs and to focus on your ROI. It’s not a walk in the park to get the right EPOS system up and running, but, take our word for it – if you’re running a retail operation, you already have the skills you’ll need.