The world of business is constantly evolving and growing as technology advances, with new applications and softwares popping up on a seemingly daily basis. Many of them claim instant results; this one will help bring in more customers, while that one will make sales reporting a cinch! For minor applications, giving them a go is simple enough, but when it comes to major technological changes, such as POS software and hardware, be sure to consider the decision very closely before implementation.
Here are just a few things to consider before making a big change in your business tech:
1. Your Customers
This should be your primary concern when it comes to almost any business decision; does this change improve your customers’ experience in any way? Does it improve the speed of your transactions? Does it provide customers with a loyalty program or membership? Does it make your business more accessible to your customers with mobile or online options? All of these are questions to consider very closely. If a new software or hardware requires some sort of trade off, such as more customer loyalty and marketing options at the cost of reduced speed, consider what your customers value. Is your customer base more concerned with speed or with quality of service? Make sure you know the answers to these questions first.
2. Your Business
Your next concern is your day-to-day operations. How will this change affect your business? Will you need to close down for a few days to install the program and train your staff? Will this technology provide you with some feature or service that saves you time and money on the back-end of the business? Will it help your employees do their jobs more effectively?
This is a slightly harder question to answer; will this technology adapt to imminent changes? An excellent example is the recent switch to EMV chips in credit cards. Say a retailer purchases a brand new card terminal with all the features; it’s fast, reliable, easy-to-use and integrated with their systems. But it is unable to take EMV cards. That investment is essentially useless, and the retailer will be forced to change terminals again. This can be avoided by staying up-to-date with current trends and technologies, maintaining awareness of changes in the market, especially those directly influencing your field or chain.
This question also requires research; does this technology impose any risk to you, your business, or your customers? It could be anything from data loss to security breaches, and they are questions best answered after the technology has had some time to be tested by others. In this matter, look to product reviews written by specialists; they will know best how to test software and technology for potential issues. The last thing you want is to compromise your business’ image by compromising customer data or losing your sales information right before tax season.
Finally, look into the support team behind the technology. Getting a new POS software? Look up their customer service reviews, their tech support hours of operation, anything that could give you a clue to what you can expect when the unexpected happens. Beware outsourced support teams or support teams with poor customer service reviews. Also be sure to note whether the technical support is free, or if there is a period of time in which it is free. The last thing you want to happen is have an issue occur, spend hours working on it with technical support, and discover a month later that their help came at a cost.