Superior POS Systems Make Associates More Productive

Larry Alton
Larry Alton
Guest Contributor

A wonky POS system not only hampers shopper service, but also crushes sales associate morale and productivity, so keep a few principles in mind when evaluating your POS decisions.

Nothing kills retail productivity faster than forcing your team to find workarounds for failing or inferior equipment. Wanting to save money is understandable, but not when it will cost you more in the long run. Buying inferior equipment is guaranteed to cost you more than money, and the highest cost might be the toll it takes on your employees in the form of stress.

When employees are stressed, the common assumption is they’re juggling issues in their personal life or they simply can’t handle their workload. While studies have shown that a heavy workload is the source of stress for 46% of employees, that’s not the whole story. The reason for heavy workloads is often due to having to work around inferior equipment.

The biggest culprit in retail businesses? Point of sale (POS) systems.

Inferior and clunky POS equipment requires outside technicians to take down your entire network for repairs. They’re difficult to learn, and they freeze often. Modern POS systems aren’t perfect, but they’re easy to use and they don’t prolong the transaction time.

Some older POS systems are powered by a separate computer, like a laptop tucked away in a cabinet and connected via Ethernet. If this is what you’re using, consider upgrading to an all-in-one unit.

Upgrading your POS system is essential

Upgrading your POS system costs money, and it’s likely money well spent. A good POS system is an investment in your employees as well as your customers, and results in smoother transactions, easy returns, speedier checkouts and, ultimately, happier customers.

Strong POS systems embrace modern technology like touch-screen tablets. Tablets are already a familiar interface for many, and for first time users they are very intuitive. 

There are three qualities superior POS systems have:

1 – A new hire will be able to navigate your POS intuitively

If you’ve witnessed a cashier tapping the screen dozens of times in a hypnotic rhythm to ring someone up, it might seem impressive. Clearly, they’ve got their routine down. However, if you watch that same cashier train a new hire, you’ll see something different.

The new hire will get a lengthy explanation on where to find multiple menus and what various acronyms stand for. They’ll also be given instructions on how to work around various flaws in the software. They won’t be able to operate the register smoothly for several weeks because it will take at least that long to memorize the counterintuitive interface.

People shouldn’t have to train themselves into complex sets of counterintuitive actions to run a cash register. Today, both Apple and Android tablets have replaced most chunky computer terminals, but they’re only as good as the software they run on.

2 -The software is fully customizable

To organize your POS system intuitively, you need more than an iPad – you need a software interface you can customize.

You need to be able to customize everything from the shape and size of the buttons and text to the layout of the buttons on each screen. Great software will also enable you to delete unused buttons so there’s less on the screen to distract the cashier.

If a good POS system was expensive the last time you looked, look again. Prices today are lower than they were even two years ago, even for some of the highest rated POS systems you can find.

3 – Employees can reboot the system easily

A system that stays frozen even for ten minutes can cost you hundreds of dollars (or more). Some physical units place the reboot button in a counterintuitive, hard to reach spot that requires a special tool to engage. This makes sense because you don’t want anyone accidentally rebooting the system. You’ll see these difficult buttons more on older units. Newer units provide a standard reboot button behind the monitor.

Talk to your employees about what isn’t working

Some of your employees will grumble about everything you do; however, their concerns are often valid. When you’re not on the floor with them on a daily basis, it’s impossible to know the true extent (and source) of their frustration. You have a duty to explore their concerns. Their feedback might give you the insights you need to choose better equipment that makes everyone’s job easier.

About the writer: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter  @LarryAlton3 and on LinkedIn.

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