12 July 2019

From outdoor music events, farmers markets and street fairs to art-in-the park and wine tasting festivals, summertime means lots of outdoor fun ─ and a growing demand for seamless and secure on-the-go POS transactions.

Over the past couple of decades, outdoor events have given rise to their own retail and hospitality ecosystem. Thousands of small sellers specializing in goods from handicrafts to clothing, street food to craft brewing, make a living catering to the needs of outdoor crowds.

It can be a lucrative business, but also presents unique technology challenges. The modern festival goer expects to pay for food and goods with their card or smartphone the same way they would in a store or restaurant. Even the smallest sellers must be prepared to embrace technology in the form of a mobile POS system.  

Outdoor ready

Mobile POS is made up of three core components – point of sale software run on a mobile device with a cashless payment reader attachment. Nowadays, sellers can run POS apps on their tablets or smartphones, and buy a separate card reader to attach via USB. This creates a portable, flexible equivalent to a full point of sale terminal, complete with touchscreen and full access to business management software – much easier to carry and set up in an outdoor environment.

While mobile POS apps on smartphones make for a convenient option, outdoor selling can pose a high-risk for technology. With little more than canvas separating your temporary store or cafe from the elements, the threat posed by weather, heavy handling and unruly crowds have to be factored in. As great as they are, iPads are not designed to withstand drink spills or drops to the ground, and an accident like that could damage your device, if not halt your operations altogether.

Purpose built POS devices like those AURES manufactures, are designed to be robust and reliable in heavy-use outdoor environments. From water and dust protection to special anti-smash screens and chassis, they are built to withstand the rigours of outdoor selling while still providing full mobility.

Another critical factor to consider with outdoor POS is connectivity. Your mobile POS tablet will only be effective with a reliable wireless network connection. With mobile coverage in many remote outdoor locations being notoriously spotty and public Wi-Fi often oversubscribed, it’s important to cover all bases. Ask the event organizers if there is a separate, private and secure Wi-Fi network onsite for sellers. For payments processing especially, cover your back by finding a service that uses mobile 3G and 4G connections from major network providers, switching to whichever offers the best signal at any one time.