1 August 2018

by Steve Hanrahan – Business Development Manager, AURES UK

Are You Getting the Best Deal
on your EPOS system?

As the gears of Brexit slowly grind their way towards the UK leaving the EU in 2019, no one can say with any certainty what the economic impact, short term or long term, is likely to be.

However, when it comes to the EPoS market, the outlook does not look great for UK customers. With most of the manufacture and sale of EPoS equipment handled in a dollar economy, the fall in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote does not spell good news.

In short, the costs of purchasing and running EPoS terminals and software for UK businesses is going up.

In that case, now seems like the ideal time for UK businesses to ask serious questions about whether they are getting the best value out of their EPoS system, and if not, what they can do about it.

Evaluating True Cost

The first question EPoS customers should be asking is whether they have a clear picture of what their point of sale equipment is costing them in the first place. In many cases, businesses equate the cost of EPoS only with the initial capital outlay involved in purchasing the system. But this ignores the ongoing running and maintenance costs involved with any computerised system.

According to research commissioned by AURES, initial capital costs account for as little as a third (34 per cent) of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an EPoS system. Typically, a customer will pay between £160 and £200 per terminal a year in support calls and maintenance. More significantly, a terminal failover will cost a retailer an average of £350 per hour. When you operate several terminals, that quickly adds up to a considerable ongoing expense.

If these costs continue to rise, this will have a significant impact on UK retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, pub and cafe owners, and businesses in the leisure industry. Getting control of those costs and looking where value savings can be made will become increasingly important. But to do that, more EPoS system operators will have to look at costs in terms of TCO, rather than just capital outlay.

Finding Value

A number of different factors influence the total cost of ownership of an EPoS terminal, and therefore the ability of a customer to reduce costs. These include build quality and reliability, longevity, scalability and how maintenance service contracts are structured.

The better the build quality of a system, and the less maintenance it needs, the cheaper it is going to be to run over time. This is an important factor when weighing up purchasing decisions in the first place, as you usually end up getting better value over time from a higher priced, higher quality product. This also applies to longevity – the sooner you have to replace a terminal, the sooner you are going to incur the capital purchase costs all over again, quickly cancelling out any savings you made initially.

A number of computer build components have been proven to increase reliability and longevity of EPoS hardware. Solid state drives and fanless temperature control reduce the number of moving parts in a terminal, which are always weak points. Projective Capacitive Touch (PCT) screens have been shown to be more durable as well as more responsive than normal touchscreen technology. Finally, integrated screen and processor units raise fewer compatibility issues than distributed systems which link up to an ordinary PC.

AURES deploys such components across our integrated EPoS range – multitouch projected capacitive (PCAP) screens are standard, while our Yuno terminal is fanless and the Sango is available as a solid state option. Our terminals have a less than 1 per cent failure rate.

Maintenance contracts are another area for end users to consider. Most customers still prefer fixed fee subscription services, for convenience and peace of mind. But for the most reliable products, the annual subscription can actually end up costing more than would have been paid out if maintenance had been dealt with incident by incident.

However, that is a difficult change in culture for many customers to consider. Recognising this, AURES has lowered its fixed fee service costs for all customers, focusing instead on covering actual maintenance costs by investing in the quality and reliability of our products.