Upgrading Your Payment Terminal to the Right Retail Solution

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Posted May 24, 2017 7:00:00 AM by Ryan Foust & filed under retail payment solutions, enterprise mobility solutions

The point of sale (POS) payment terminal can leave a lasting impression with a customer based on their in store retail experience. It can be a smooth, seamless transaction or it can get shoppers so frustrated they're already re-thinking their purchase. The right retail solution requires a payment terminal that meets changing shopper expectations and legal requirements. Let's start with the law, since there's no getting around that.

The liability shift and EMV adoption

The liability shift for credit card fraud officially occurred in October 2015. Any retailer that hasn't upgraded their payment terminals in the past couple years is likely now carrying the risk for any credit card fraud happening through its network.

Prior to the liability shift, the credit card issuer carried the risk for credit card fraud. Even before this shift, poor data and credit card security cost Target $10 million in damages to their customers who suffered unauthorized charges and lost time having to cancel their credit cards.

Since the liability shift, certain retailers who haven't implemented EMV-ready payment terminals are now presumed to be the weak link if credit card data is stolen – not the credit card issuer. There's no reason for any retailer to bear the burden of this financial and branding risk.

According to VISA, 39 percent of merchants now accept the EMV-chip readers and early EMV adopters have experienced an 18 percent reduction in fraud. If you're a retailer that doesn't have EMV-enabled payment terminals and back-end EMV processing, it's definitely time to upgrade your payment terminals.

The rise of mPOS (Mobile Point of Sale)

If there's an acronym for it, it must be transformative. But mobile POS really is. Having mPOS payment terminals, either through kiosks at key points on the floor or roving mPOS devices in the hands of sales associates, frees the checkout line from its single location anchor. 

Long lines impact shopper behavior negatively, including abandoned purchases and associating feelings of inconvenience with a trip to a certain store. Deployment of mPOS devices to address real time bottlenecks can keep checkout lines from getting too long. Sales associates with mPOS devices can turn a special display or demonstration into a new sales center on the floor.

mPOS payment terminals also free retailers from their own brick & mortar shops. Want to put up a popup store for a week to test a new location or have a retail-ready presence at a fair or convention – that's easy to do with an mPOS system.

GrowthPraxis research found that mPOS is growing at a rate of 9.2% while the traditional POS market is shrinking by -2.5%. Shoppers want responsive service that meets them – literally – where they are. mPOS lets retailers mold the buying experience around the shopper rather than forcing the shopper into rigid layouts.

Does your target market embrace mobile payments? 

If the answer is "yes," then your payment terminals need a reader using near-field-communication (NFC) technologies to process mobile phone and wearable tech transactions. That's right. It's not just native apps, like Starbuck's which now accounts for a quarter of all its in-store purchases, but a growing array of wearable tech like key chains and smart watches, that work with mobile wallet apps.

Mobile payments can speed up checkout lines and improve staff productivity, as Starbucks has found. Yet adoption of mobile payment technologies has been slower in the United States than in other countries. The United States was behind the curve on EMV technology as well, but we're catching up. As more banks and retailers create their own mobile wallet apps, thus freeing mobile payments from a specific platform (e.g. ApplyPay or SamsungPay), the demand of consumers to be able to shop without having to carry a wallet around will grow in the United States as well.

If you're not sure your customer base is trending towards mobile payments – first, find out. But in the meantime, keep in mind that upgrading to many EMV payment terminals include NFC readers as well. So you may be able to position your shop to accept mobile payments while upgrading to EMV.

Involving the customer

It started with the self-checkout lanes at grocery stores. Perhaps we can even date it back to the rise of self-service gas stations. But at some point, the checkout technology itself becomes so simple and intuitive, everyone realized that it doesn't take special training to use it.    

Today, retailers can engage buyers at the POS through flip-over monitors, set tip functionality and offering e-receipts through the buyer's preferred method. Even at shops where it doesn't make sense to provide self-checkout options (although don't assume it's just for grocery stores), today's POS hardware and software technologies create opportunities for the checkout process to be more responsive to customers' preferences and needs.

Lighter hardware and heavier software 

You can spot the retailers with upgraded payment terminals and sales solutions because the hardware is getting smaller and lighter, while the software expands to accept more payment options and purchaser preferences.  This is great news for retailers as it points to an arch of decreasing rates of hardware upgrade and sunk software costs. These more advanced POS solutions also drive the trend of moving sales associates away from being order-takers and letting them focus on being value-add consultants.  It's a shift in the customer-sales associate relationship that benefits everyone, not least of all the retailer's bottom line.

Explore the payment terminal upgrades for your store

If you want to get on the road towards reducing fraud liability and hardware costs while providing a more efficient and customer-friendly checkout experience, let DecisionPoint help you sort through your options. Get in touch with us today and a retail consultant can work with you to design an upgraded POS or mPOS solution your sales associates and customers will both love.

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