24 October 2018

For any retail or hospitality business, point of sale is an essential piece of the operational jigsaw. A well-managed, efficient, smooth running POS system plays a significant role in how the business performs overall. On the flipside, errors made with POS systems can have unforeseen consequences that you probably would rather not have to learn about the hard way. Here, we take a look at four common POS mistakes to avoid, particularly when planning or upgrading a new system.

Inadequate Hardware Specifications

Not so long ago it was commonplace for many retailers to use standard PCs to run their POS applications. In the early days, when applications were relatively basic, this would work fine. But as POS platforms became increasingly sophisticated, it became apparent that many desktop computers just didn’t have the speed or capacity to run the most advanced programs or reliably support sales transaction volumes. Things have changed with the advent of cloud-based POS software, where you don’t need to install the program on a physical drive. Still, you need a good amount of RAM as well as a reliable internet connection to reap the advantages of cloud-based POS. It’s also worth bearing in mind that standard consumer PCs and tablets are not built with the industrial-grade components to handle hours of high-use daily run time for years on end. With modular boxes or dedicated POS terminals like the AURES YUNO and AURES SANGO, you get “retail hardened” hardware designed  to run the most advanced POS platforms and to withstand the rigors of continuous daily use.

Poor WiFi Security

Some of the biggest cases of identity theft and credit card fraud have stemmed from poor security around networked POS services. In the mid-2000s, notorious hacker Albert Gonzalez stole the details of more than 90 million credit cards used across TJX group stores and other retail and restaurant chains in the US. How did they do it? They hacked into poorly protected WiFi networks on store premises, which gave them access to POS systems and, ultimately, to card payment data. 

Cabling Mishaps

Alongside data security, another key area of compliance for retailers and hospitality businesses is health and safety. All companies have a legal obligation to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries on their premises by taking appropriate precautions, including the removal of hazards posed by POS equipment cables. Having cables suddenly ripped out by someone tripping over them doesn’t do your hardware any favors either, and can potentially lead to extended system downtime. Good cable management should be prioritized during installation to make sure power supply, ethernet and other leads are safely concealed and out of the way of store traffic. 

Underuse of Software Features 

Whatever type of POS system you choose, you should seek the best returns possible. Modern POS software platforms are highly sophisticated and capable of managing and automating all sorts of front-line tasks for your business. To use your POS simply as a cash drawer to process transactions is to under-utilize its capabilities, so you’ll fail to capitalize on the full value it can deliver. It pays to know the range of features your POS platform offers, and to ask your supplier about systems training for your staff. During slow times or after hours, POS systems can be used for data logging and processing applications (which, if used correctly, can greatly benefit your overall CRM and business intelligence), to operational tasks such as stock taking, updating loyalty and promotional programs, handling online customer queries and even training of new staff members to improve customer service in your stores.