Insight on POS Solution Selection for Independent Merchants
POS Implementation Guide
Most merchants go through a detailed process to select the right POS (point-of-sale) solution for their business. There are several factors to consider which we discuss in our POS Solution Selection Checklist and our POS Selection Guide. These factors vary in level of importance from one market segment to another. Once that decision process comes to a close and the POS selection has been made, the merchant is faced with the POS implementation process. Most of the challenges and issues involved with the implementation process are consistent among the different market segments. The POS implementation process is critical to the success of the POS deployment.
So, what can a merchant do to ensure a successful deployment of the new POS system to protect the investment? There are several issues to consider and tasks to complete by both the POS solution provider and the merchant prior to the first live transaction processing through the new POS. Below are just a few critical items that require attention and cooperation between the solution provider and the merchant.
1. Hardware – Whether purchasing all new hardware or salvaging hardware from previous systems, it is critical that all hardware used in the deployment is compatible with all the new POS software. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling through compatibility issues when rolling out a new POS solution. Vendors and merchants must work together to ensure that every last detailed requirement is met from a hardware perspective prior to installing new POS software.
2. IT Infrastructure – Similar to hardware, proper networking components and topology are critical to the success of a POS solution deployment. POS systems handle sensitive data that must be secured. POS systems are mission-critical in retail and hospitality environments so network connectivity can be key to the successful operation of the POS on a daily basis.
3. Data – With POS data, a few factors come into play during a new POS solution deployment. First of all, data must be converted from previous systems to avoid countless hours of typing just to get the new POS off the ground. When converting from a cash register to an automated POS system, data can be gathered from the merchant’s suppliers to be massaged and converted into the database format of the new POS system. Configuration of a data backup and disaster recovery plan also needs to be part of every POS deployment. The POS data is the only component of the POS solution that is truly unique to the merchant and cannot be easily replaced in the event of a disaster.
4. Integration to Existing Systems – Prior to launching a new POS system, it is critical that seamless integration is provided to existing systems that will continue to be in use by the merchant. For example, be sure the new POS system will integrate smoothly with the back office accounting package in place and the merchant services/payment processing systems in place.
5. Adequate Training – End user training is arguably the most important factor in a successful POS deployment. Typically, owners and managers are trained to be “site experts” on the new POS solution. This allows them to be somewhat self-sufficient moving forward so that ongoing training from the POS solution provider becomes less necessary. As new employees come onboard with the merchant, owners and managers need to have all the knowledge and tools necessary to teach employees proficiency in the operation of the new POS system.
Protect your POS investment by focusing the required time and energy into the implementation process. After all, a great deal of time, energy and money are normally put into the POS solution selection process. It doesn’t stop there. The POS deployment project must be carefully planned and executed to ensure the success of the project. For more information on issues to consider when deploying a new POS solution, download our free guide today.