Cluttered tills are a sign of inefficiency, lack of productivity and impacts retailer profits, says Ian Steyn of Innervation – and integrating all those services into the point of sale is the solution!
“Customers expect more and more value-added services from retailers,” he says. “But adding a new terminal or hardware peripheral device for each service creates challenges. If you have 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 get unacceptably cluttered.”
Wasted cashier time and longer queues are just the start of the challenges, says Steyn. “Having multiple standalone terminals at your till puts you at much greater risk of mistakes and fraud. For example, when your card payment terminal isn’t integrated with your point of sale software, it means 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’s a huge expense on its own – and it probably won’t be enough. If you’re incentivising your 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 multlple 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 real issue, and a major waste of resources.”
Integrating services onto the point of sale means retailers only need to deal with one POS system, one printer and one network connection, he says. “It also means you get 100% accuracy, transactions are faster to process and it’s 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,” he says. “Managing multiple bits of IT is not their core business, especially in smaller retailers, and it shouldn’t have to be. Rolling up multiple services into your point of sale system makes life much easier.”