Technology changes so quickly these days. It seems every three months something new and exciting is coming out and we are all struggling to play catch up. These changes in technology also affect your POS software – are you up to date? Here are the top ten reasons why now is the time to update your hardware and possibly your POS system!
1 – New Operating Systems
We’ve all seen the commercials – Windows 7 is here and it is touted as the biggest change in the PC operating system world since the 90’s! With Windows 7 you will find using your PC becoming easier, with faster speeds to improve productivity and better compatibility with a wider range of programs. Does your current hardware or POS software meet the requirements for an upgrade to Windows 7 or is this the perfect excuse to upgrade your hardware?
2— Better technology for computers
All Point of Sale programs will have their own set of hardware requirements but one thing is for sure – all hardware is not created equal! There are POS specific computers that are more rugged and suited for the retail environment. These are NOT your regular office PC’s! They have better fans to account for the extra dust and heat from the lights in retail stores. They are also more compact all-in-one units that incorporate your cash drawer, receipt printer and scanner etc, saving valuable counter space! Many of these POS specific computers will also come with touchscreen monitors which speeds up training for staff and customer check out.
Your hardware takes a beating, running for long hours, 7 days a week, is your system up to the task? If you are running old computers your chances of a system crash increase dramatically after the three year mark. A system crash WILL cost you money in lost sales. Do you still have warranty coverage?
The cost of ownership for new technology is becoming more accessible to all retailers. Things like touchscreen monitors and inventory scanners were always on every retailers “dream list” but they were always cost prohibitive. With more competition in the market, prices have lowered, allowing everyone the opportunity to use these powerful tools.
4— Credit and Debit integration with POS and new security requirements
A hot trend for retailers these days is integrating their payment processing directly through their POS program. This speeds up transactions for customers and also eliminates cashier keying errors, saving time at cash out. Does your POS software have this capability?
Along with the integration however comes new security requirements that have been dictated by the credit card industry that will take affect mid 2010. This requires compliance by both retailers (PCI compliance) and by the POS software company (PA-DSS compliance). To find out more about these new security standards check out these links:
www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pdfs/pci_ssc_quick_guide.pdf and www.pcisecuritystandards.org/education/fact_sheets.shtml
5— Point of Sale software updates
Has your POS software been kept up to date on the lasted features and technology available? Can you modify screens to use a touchscreen monitor? Does it have a payment processing module? Does it have Windows 7 certification on its roadmap? Are you getting good support from your POS provider when issues arise?
If you haven’t seen any major changes in your POS software in years then it might be time to upgrade your POS software. With the changes in technology, there should be changes in your POS software. This is why it is so important that you have a program with Software Assurance, providing you with regular updates and new features and a strong support team to back you up.
6— New trends and Add on’s
There are many related technologies that give you more options. Some key trends that can integrate with your POS software include: security cameras, web stores, gift cards, traffic counters and credit/debit processing with chip and pin capability.
7— The Economy is changing
We have all heard the news, the economy is improving but SLOWLY. It is now more important than ever to use technology to fine tune your business. POS software will help you make better buying decisions based on your customer shopping habits, provide you with loyalty programs to bring your customers back to your store and give you valuable reports on the progress of your business.
8— Integrated marketing
Why pay an outside marketing company to provide you with valuable information that you can get from your POS program? Use the customer database to track your customers email addresses and buying habits and generate your own email blasts. Use loyalty modules to entice customers back in the store. Take advantage of the tracking options in your POS to better understand your customers.
9— The government wants you to – the Canadian Tax Benefit
The 2009 Budget proposes a temporary 100% CCA rate for computer hardware and systems software acquired after January 27th, 2009 and before February 1, 2011. In addition, the rule that restricts CCA deductions to one-half of the CCA write-off otherwise available in the first year will not apply to these computers.
Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this incentive when there are so many exciting things happening in technology right now? Get your accountant to do some homework and investigate this program further.
10— Because your competition is already doing this!!!!
Kirsten Hynds is the Western Regional Sales Manager for Canadian Retail Solutions. She brings ten years of retail experience, from the front lines to the general manager of three stores, to helping retailers find the best POS solution for their business. Canadian Retail Solutions represents three of the leading POS programs on the market: Retail Pro, CounterPoint SQL and Microsoft Dynamics RMS. For more information, visit www.retailbycrs.com or call 1.800.725.6810 for a consultation.