Retailers who have extended older point of sale systems well beyond their normal use will be forced by compliance deadlines and for business survival to replace these old systems.
As a result capabilities to implement new features that help increase sales and improve customer service are not anymore possible. So although the hardware has lasted a long time, the technology under the covers of the old POS systems is not current with the processors and memory needed to run more modern applications.
Why should you replace your POS system that has reached its end-of-life?
There are compelling justifications for such replacement and a variety of affordable options available to retailers.
- Protection of customer data: News headlines have provided ample examples of the cost of breaches of sensitive data of retail customers. The costs to the businesses have been in the millions of dollars in addition to significant damage to the retailer’s reputation and customer loyalty.
- Hidden cost of hardware failures costs: Although there are high quality systems in the stores, as these systems are utilized for excessively long periods of time, the failure rate increases over time. Component failure results in lost time in the stores and interruption of customer service.
- Limitation of lacking maintenance: When POS systems reach their end-of-life, updates and maintenance are no longer available because the product is no longer being developed. If you are not ready to take that step, make sure to look up when all extended support ends.
- Limitation of old hardware and software: In addition to speeds and capabilities of the newer hardware, the retailer can benefit from a whole host of new features and applications to provide the best customer experience, build loyalty, and ensure repeat business.
- Software incompatibility: New applications are optimized for the most recent OSes. That means when using older operating systems, you can’t upgrade to the latest and greatest, so you’ll have to hold onto legacy applications.
- Legal and regulatory liability risk: Companies relying on obsolete hardware and software can face heavy fines and even legal action if they don’t comply with government or industry regulations, particularly when a data breach occurs resulting from the use of older technology.
- Customer expectations: Consumers expect to be presented with value, to be serviced quickly and reliably, and for the retailer to have state of the art systems to support them. If a retailer does not have a current system, it can impact the consumer and result in lost business. All the hard work, marketing, merchandising, and store sales personnel efforts come down to the point where the consumer faces the point of sale system to complete the transaction. This is the make or break point for customer satisfaction.
How to deal with end-of-life technologies?
Before looking at the available replacement options, company stakeholders define the requirements for the next solution. While these can include capabilities featured in the last system, decision-makers should take the opportunity to find something that goes above and beyond their last solution.
Sometimes, the system nearing end of life is purely for the use of employees. Other times, it may form the backbone of a client-facing resource. Administrators must consider how the switch will impact their relationships with customers.
It is recommended to look beyond generic systems and choose a software that can be customized to suit all of the store’s priorities and requirements. The five-step evaluation process includes: analyzing, focusing, evaluating, validating and testing.
While some migrations can be done slowly to reduce the immediate impact, others are best when the change is carried out in one fell swoop. When this latter option is favored, it is best to do the actual migration when the technology is not being used by employees – after office hours or on the weekend. This will prevent workers from not having a system accessible, ensuring productivity is not hampered by the process.
Finally, before the new solution is deployed, IT managers should ensure that those who will leverage the system are properly trained in its use. Hosting several small training meetings can allow participants to ask questions and get the most out of the meeting. Covering the basics up front will ensure that users understand the main functions, and other, more in-depth training sessions can follow soon after.
What are the benefits to replace your end-of-life system?
The decision to replace your POS software is not one to be taken lightly, but before pulling the trigger, it is important that you recognize the signs that your current system might be past its prime. Keep in mind that there are many benefits to upgrade your solution, such as:
- #1 New features and functionality can increase revenues: Centralized returns, customer loyalty, centralized customer marketing, gift card programs, fast centralized credit authorization and other features found in today’s software can result in reduced costs and increased revenues for the retailer.
- #2 Enhanced integration can improve overall business: In the past point of sale applications running in the stores were information silos of limited data that was batched overnight to corporate retail systems. Now with high speed internet connections to the stores, point of sale applications provide an integrated system for the retailer that allows them to perform real time functions to support their sales and operations.
- #3 Adjust to your customers’ expectations: Inventory management has always been a key driver of point of sale transaction tracking. Now more than ever, having rapid and reliable data on inventory movement in the stores is critical to adjusting to a consumer demand that has changed during the recession from the demand that the retailer had experienced before. Multi-Channel retailing and integration of e-Commerce and brick and mortar stores can be handled by the newer systems.
We use our experience in the market to bring retailers competitive options on hardware, software, leasing, and other options to deliver retailers a complete solution that fit their financial needs and support key business strategies.
Retailers are often surprised that they can in fact afford to upgrade their store systems and achieve a new level of business success. Contact us to discuss with one of our POS experts and get a free live demo.