When working with customers, we have encountered many cases in which they spent 2-3 hours a day on manual work to transfer data from different software to Magento, POS and vice versa, or from POS to Magento. Noticeably, some situations have even happened for more than 10 years. Moreover, a lot of them only came to us to look for an omnichannel POS solution just a few months before their existing POS license expired. They often say something like “If only we knew”, “If we have known it before”, or “We should have paid attention to it”. Yes, it’s all about “IF”. But you can definitely do something about this.
In this article, we’d like to share with you an ultimate guide to switching POS systems for Magento. Therefore, you’re more aware of the time and what to prepare for upgrading your POS. Let’s scroll down for details.
6 signals it’s time for switching POS systems
POS technologies develop at a rapid pace to bring more and more ease, convenience, and comfort for retailers. A good-fit system makes it easier to keep track of customer and sales data, increase staff productivity and satisfaction, and boost customer service. There is really no point in having a system that can’t satisfy the needs of your business. Business stuff can get you busy the whole day. But it’s necessary to take a break and review the current workflow. If you’re using Magento and spot one of the following signals, it’s time to upgrade or switch your POS systems.
It’s difficult or impossible to manage inventory and sync data in real-time
This is the number one cause of tedious, time-consuming manual work. Let’s imagine that one of your staff has to spend 2 hours a day updating data across all systems and devices (like the case we’ve mentioned in the beginning). In total, one staff needs 14 hours/week to complete the task. If you have 5 staff, the number rises to 70 hours/week. Sometimes, there may be human errors and the staff needs more time to fix the bugs. Thus, the total hours can be higher than 70.
How about your customers? When they buy online and find their favorite items in your stores are out-of-stock. But actually, those items are still in stock but haven’t been updated yet. It means your customers get a bit disappointed and you lose these potential sales.
These are just some real situations when a POS system can’t update or sync data in real-time. That makes it difficult for inventory management which can cost you plenty of customers and hours for updating data manually. In such situations, an omnichannel POS is a perfect fit, especially the one that can natively integrate with Magento. It will help you say goodbye to messy and boring manual work.
It can’t help with staff management
Staff management can be a top time-consuming task for retailers. You need to make sure you have the right number of employees working at the right place and time. One noticeable thing is that employees are the ones interacting and working mostly with POS systems. Thus, how to utilize your POS to track and manage staff performance effectively and efficiently?
In this case, you need a system that allows separating staff logins to track their performance, orders, cashflow during their working shifts. By that, you can reward staff with outstanding performance, provide timely training, or help those who may have difficulty. Moreover, by looking at the number of transactions at a particular time from POS data, you can easily arrange staff schedules, especially during peak sales hours in your stores.
It is unportable when you need mobility
Waiting in long queues for checkout can discomfort your customers and lead to unhappy shopping experiences. To solve this problem, you can take advantage of every corner in your stores and make it a checkout counter.
A PWA POS (Progressive Web App) which allows you to open the POS screen with just a link and on any browsers or a hybrid POS system can help you deal with the situation. You can easily bring your POS with you to move around the stores. By that, you can interact, assist, even process payment for customers.
More interestingly, if you want to promote your products or services in trade-shows, offline events, a POS which can work well in offline mode is such a perfect solution.
It is too expensive
You might need a suitable POS to serve your current needs. As your business grows, your POS systems also need updating to meet further business’ requirements. Therefore, you should pay attention and get familiar with the term Total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO includes the purchase price of a particular product, plus the operating costs over its lifespan. When it comes to a technology product that needs changes constantly, you can’t ignore the TCO right at the beginning of the purchase.
Every company wants to provide customers with their best products. Thus, the POS products are continuously updated, and sometimes you need to pay monthly or yearly fees for the subscription. If that expense is reasonable then there’s no need for you to bother. But if it costs you much, it signals the time to consider switching your POS.
It can’t support a customer loyalty program
Customer experience has a powerful and critical voice in retail businesses. Another top concern of any retailers is how to win customers’ hearts. One of the most suggested answers is to operate a customer loyalty program such as reward points, gift cards (physical gift cards, e-cards), or store credits.
You may need to know this, a study by First Data on 2018 Prepaid Consumer Insights indicated that US consumers who pay with gift cards, spend about $59 more than the value of their gift card. It means if you overlook the loyalty program, you are about to lose customers and of course sales revenues. If your existing POS systems don’t support this, you’d better think of changing to a new one.
It has no mobile option
An analysis on Mobile POS Payment from Statista indicates that transaction value in the Mobile POS Payments segment is projected to reach $372,163m in 2020. The number is expected to grow on an annual basis of 22.6% to reach a predicted total amount of $840,752 by 2024. What do these numbers mean? If your current POS system doesn’t support mobile POS payment, you’re going to lose a piece of the cake. In other words, you should think of investing in a new POS system.
Challenges when switching to a new system
Making a switch isn’t easy especially when you’ve used your current POS system for such a long time. When considering a switch, you should know some possible challenges you may or have to encounter. The better you are aware of them, the earlier you can anticipate and deal with them. We’d like to share with you some key insights based on our 10+ years of working with customers. For your convenience, we will divide this part into 3 stages including before – during – after the switch.
Before switching POS systems
Your existing system license may expire before you can start working on your new system. That is the first and foremost notice we’d like to remind you of. In the beginning, we shared with you that many of our customers only came to us to look for a POS solution only 1-2 months before their current system got expired. Some of the cases seemed to be easy to handle in a short period of time or just right in time. But then, it turned out that we needed more time than predicted. The common reasons for the extra time are customers require more customized features or because of the unexpected system conflict when switching. Then these customers had to use partly the working product while waiting for the complete POS to be successfully installed. Of course, it brought inconvenience to their daily retail operation.
Let us share with you one fact, the average time for a customer to have a full solution (calculated since the day they contact us until their solution goes live) is from 3-4 months. We used to deal with a lot of big cases which had the lead time up to 6 months.
So the key takeaway for you is, if you’ve thought of a switch, put it in your plan or calendar. You’d better make a real plan for switching POS systems and take it seriously. Then, arrange your time to start early. Remember to check the expired date of your current system as well. The earlier, the better.
During switching POS systems
The biggest concern in this stage is to transfer data to your new system. When you have chosen an appropriate POS provider, you should communicate your requirements and demands clearly. Thus, the system provider can give you the best-fit solution. Again, you need a practical plan beforehand.
Please keep in mind that your existing system is going to expire soon so you should pay attention to the working time of the switching project as time is money. Added that, you also need to follow the project timeline to make sure you can launch your new system before the old one expires.
Moreover, transferring data can become a nightmare if you don’t do it right. A trusted POS provider totally can handle this tough task for you. The thing here is you also need to decide what kinds of information you want to transfer so that that can save time for both – you and your new POS provider.
After the switch
It is your staff who uses the new POS the most. So you also need to put a critical task of communicating and training your staff about the new system in your plan. Normally, the POS provider will work with you closely during the whole switching process to fix any possible bugs. Remember to choose the provider who can get back to you timely and effectively.
Checklist for switching POS system process
To make things easier, we would like to summarize a key checklist for changing the POS process.
- Design a software roadmap
- Draft an outline for hardware, platform, infrastructure roadmap
- Research about the tender and payment authorization process
- Check the ease of management
- Test and evaluate the basic functionality
- Consider the modern functionality
- Address security concerns
- Estimate costs and understand what’s included
In the next article, we will show you in detail how to conduct each step and what should be noticed. In the meanwhile, you’d better review your current retail performance to see if you encounter any of the above red-flag signals. If yes, it’s high time for you to switch POS systems.
Changes can be a bit hard at the beginning and may make you daunted. However, it is great if you know it’s time for change rather than being unaware of the need. We hope that this article can give you useful information on reviewing your operation. Stay tuned for the next article on the process of switching the POS systems. Or if you need a personal discussion on this topic, let’s talk with our experts.