Retail therapy – how to choose an all-in-one POS system

Brick-and-mortar stores are facing tough times. The high street saw sales decline by as much as 10% in 2018 and fewer people are heading to town to shop (1). So, how can retailers capture shoppers’ attention and coax more spend from the people who step into their stores? Having a next-generation Point of Sale (POS) system can definitely help.

Given the current climate, you might think retailers would be reluctant to splash out on a new POS system. But there are good reasons why it’s a purchase that makes commercial sense. Today’s all-in-one POS systems are far more than a glorified cash register. They can also integrate with inventory, promotions, loyalty programmes and other parts of the shopping journey. This empowers retailers to reimagine the in-store experience for customers and bring a stronger digital experience into play.

Old isn’t golden

On the flip side, holding onto ageing POS systems is false economy. There’s a rising risk that the system will break down, meaning lost sales, a queue of frustrated customers and unplanned repair costs. At the same time, the retailer is missing out on the increased opportunities offered by current technology. And while one shop sticks with yesteryear’s POS, you can bet competitors are seizing the advantage and moving with the times.

What are retailers really buying?

When you’re sussing out retail prospects, there are three basic goals they might be looking to achieve through a new all-in-one POS system. One – to streamline business operations by increasing staff productivity and overall efficiency, leading to cost savings. Two – to drive revenue growth through greater sales effectiveness. Three – to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty in order to increase spend per head and profitability. Research shows that next-generation retail management and POS systems have been successful in helping retailers achieve all of these objectives, with survey respondents citing “significant” or “dramatic” improvement (2).

The good news is that retailers are aware of the benefits of upgrading their POS systems so it’s a market that’s open for business. In fact, in 2018, 54% of retailers cited system upgrades or replacements as a POS priority (3).

Wise buys – what to look for in a POS system

First off, let’s look at the advantages of an all-in-one POS system. Convenience is a key benefit. All-in-one means you get all the components you need on one bundle – typically a touch screen, receipt printer, cash drawer and magnetic stripe reader. Having all peripherals from one vendor simplifies set up, use and maintenance. If anything goes wrong, there’s only one manufacturer to call.

All-in-one systems often have a smaller, more ergonomic footprint that multiple-vendor POS set-ups. In tight spaces, this counts for a lot. Peripherals are arranged neatly, maximising visual appeal and making them easy for employees to use.

When it comes to total cost of ownership (TCO), all-in-one systems might cost a little more initially, but retailers recoup that outlay over time. Disparate peripherals from disparate vendors can be a costly headache to manage and maintain over their lifecycle. Whereas, peripherals from the same vendor are likely to have equal durability, meaning replacement of individual items may be less frequent.

Go retail-hardened or go home

Another note on cost versus value – research shows that investments in retail-hardened POS platforms have a greater ROI over time than commodity POS platforms (4). This is because retail environments are harsh on equipment. A POS system has to cope with a 16 to 24-hour workday, plus jostling, spills, dust, lint, poor ventilation and vibration. Opting for a budget system is risky. Choosing a hardened, all-in-one system that’s going to perform day after day, year after year, is a much smarter investment. It could save retailers 14% in costs per system over its lifespan (4).

Tick off the must-haves

With all POS systems doing the same basic job, what features should be top of a retailer’s shopping list of must-haves?

Let’s start with usability. They need a platform that accommodates commonly-used add-ons like biometric readers and printers, and is primed for what’s coming down the line in future. This means a variety of connection options is vital.

Flexibility is another major consideration. Look for screen size choices, mounting options and viewability so all employees can work comfortably. Then there’s the flexibility of OS options as these are the foundation of workloads and applications. Windows is a standard POS choice. Linux offers a smaller footprint and secure environment. OS is a critical question as it feeds into the retailers choice of software.

Serviceability is a factor that’s often overlooked, but this can make or break the value and longevity that retailers get from their POS system. The easier it is to maintain or fix a system, the more time the POS platform will be up and running. Ideally, all the hardware will provide easy access to components and only require everyday tools. Avoid systems that require special tools and have hard-to-reach access points. These limit a retailer’s ability to self-diagnose and fix problems as well as increasing repair times. Similarly, check there are no sealed units that prevent repairs being made and force retailers to buy a replacement.

Toshiba – check out with more in the bag

One brand that offers everything on the retailer’s shopping list and more is Toshiba. Its next-generation all-in-one POS systems give retailers the technology to transform the customer experience in-store and open up new sales opportunities. For example, adding a customer-facing screen to the main display, you can show shoppers special offers or video demos of products. Inside, there’s support for multiple operating systems, so the new POS solution can slot into the customer current setup with minimal disruption. Designs are sleek and appealing whilst providing retailed-hardened durability for years of reliability operation.

Available in the right size

For smaller retailers, an all-in-one POS system like the T10 is designed to be agile, flexible and reliable with the ability to scale as retailers and consumer demands change. It offers value, performance and style for budget-conscious businesses, in a small footprint. For bigger retail operations, where remote management and system monitoring is required, the TCx 800 all-in-one POS system provides ultimate flexibility. There’s advanced air cooling, flexible screen tilting and formalized cable management, plus easy access for servicing. And adding the right peripherals is easy, with powered and non-powered connectivity options.

What’s more, Toshiba’s ecosystem reaches far beyond the POS system. Its solutions are transforming retail by bringing channels, touchpoints and apps together to create seamless, engaging customer experiences and to empower retailers to succeed.

Supporting you with Toshiba sales

Our reseller partners can take advantage of the Toshiba Commerce Program Alliance which offers many benefits with regards to sales and marketing support. Resellers can also get hands-on with the products in our central London Solutions Centre, which can also be used for events, launches, training and more. You can go straight to Toshiba products here.

To find out more about Toshiba all-in-one POS systems and how Ingram Micro can help you capitalise, please contact our DC POS team on 0371 973 3699 or email dcpos-uk@ingrammicro.com

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SOURCES

1 https://www.statista.com/topics/4655/high-street-retail-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

2 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/why-retailers-are-upgrading-their-retail-management-and-pos-systems

3 https://www.emarketer.com/content/pos-systems-are-getting-upgrades

4 Edison Group research, comparing Toshiba all-in-one POS platform against its competitors, 2018.

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