Why Your Retail Business Can’t Afford an Outdated POS System

Apr 22, 2024

Online shopping has upended the retail marketplace around the world. To stay relevant, retailers must retain focus on the customer — especially for in-person purchases. As your competitors adopt seamless, innovative experiences, you have to think about the customer experiences as a means to differentiate your store from the competition.

Organizational pivots to support shoppers throughout the pandemic dramatically shifted shopping methods and buying habits. Consumers got used to conveniences like online ordering and curbside pickup. Now, those “temporary processes” have become essential requirements for the online retail experience. 

Meanwhile, your in-store experience continues to lag behind consumer expectations. If your payment system is 20 years old, you’re effectively offering consumers a 20-year-old experience. Customers no longer expect to hand over their credit card at the point of purchase as today’s systems empower them to swipe or tap on their own.

An outdated POS system isn’t just a technological or customer service issue. It’s also a security problem. Retailers remain targets for cyberattacks, which could compromise your customer data and impact the reputation of your business. 

How Modern Retail Systems Enhance Your Competitive Edge

Speed is the key to the success for many retailers. Updated hardware offers form factors that streamline how customers checkout in a way that mirrors digital shopping. At one time, the point-of-sale experience typically looked clunky with boxy registers surrounded by a mess of worries. Those norms don’t apply any longer.

When you work with the right consultants, you can consider the value of an expanded customer-facing display and how much that may save time during transactions. You can offer a faster experience through updated hardware.

For other retailers, an elevated mobile experience provides a way to differentiate your stores from the competition.  Today’s systems allow you to move cashiers out from behind the register so they’re free to help customers. Touchscreen tablets also enable your team to quickly offer customers additional sizes, colors, or other options as they consider a purchase.

By incorporating updated experiences, your customers can find what they need and complete their payment faster. And, at the same time, you increase loyalty to your brand by responding to consumer needs.

External Factors Increase Pressure to Modernize Your Retail POS

Along with creating a more frictionless customer experience, an updated POS system relieves pressure on your Store Operations teams. Outdated hardware and software isn’t just a security risk for your business. It also runs the risk of breaking compliance with payment processing standards.

If your retail system doesn’t conform with the latest PCI security standards, you run the risk of losing the ability to take Visa, Mastercard and other card payments — and losing loyal customers along with their preferred payment methods. That’s simply an option you can’t afford.

Plus, payment processing remains a moving target for all retailers. Low income payment standards shift from state by state and even county by county. If your stores are in cities attracting luxury shoppers or areas with large student populations, your POS system should support foreign payment options. Modern systems that support mobile wallets and apps like Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal further enable your business to meet customers where they are.

Benefits to Modernizing POS Systems

Updating a retail system can feel like a high-wire act. Not only do you need to adopt potentially complex technical changes to address shifting consumer habits, you also need to implement a new system without closing the store and sacrificing sales. Worse yet, if something goes wrong during implementation, you and your team will be the ones held responsible.

Fundamentally, companies benefit from modern systems in two operational ways:

#1: Resolve Technical Debt for Improved Security

If your stores use older systems, your requirements to comply with the latest cybersecurity standards are always moving forward. PCI standards are always evolving, and POS systems are inviting targets for hackers. As threats to security continue to expand, you need to remain up-to-date with all the current standards and best practices to keep your business protected.

Complying with the latest PCI standard coming in 2025 requires reducing the scope of your POS system. If your system is out-of-date, your team will experience the pain of complying with the latest security requirements every year. With a modern POS system, you can do it right the first time — and save a massive amount of time by resolving core vulnerabilities in PIN pads, ports, and debit readers only once going forward.

#2: Reduce Process Debt for Greater Flexibility

Retailers develop new processes as a natural part of their evolution. For instance, when something breaks during development, your teams add stage gates to incorporate an additional level of review. 

Though helpful in the moment, every additional process artificially raises the price of implementing the next evolution. For example, managing debit readers often requires a manual inspection to ensure the tape on the seal isn’t broken as it’s plugged into a location. It’s a valuable step, but as technology evolved it’s grown outdated.

A modern system allows you to read the serial number at the register and quickly detect any tampering codes from the device. Once the hood is up on your POS processes, the right consultants will allow you to evaluate your security practices and uncover new possibilities for automation and increased efficiency.

Tap into Proven Expertise for a Seamless POS Transformation

When you work with experienced consultants, you gain a vital outside perspective into your processes. Changing out a POS system is like a heart transplant in that you’re changing out the core of how your organization functions. You need to ensure your new system functions in a way that will benefit customers — and your business.

When you work with Kitestring, you gain an experienced perspective toward your point of sale software to evaluate the pros and cons of a new system. We can work with you to evaluate your system through the lens of your current needs and capabilities:

How are you managing it today? Who are your teams, and how are they working? What are you currently equipped to handle? Along with building an understanding of your software needs, we have experienced developers who can augment your capabilities. 

Plus, we can look at the varying form factors available through hardware that will improve your customer experience, save time during transactions, and reduce costs. For example, a mobile POS requirement doesn’t just free your cashiers from being behind a desk. It also reduces the number of fixed terminals you need to maintain.  

We understand the architecture and we know what it takes to build a new one in a way that unlocks new potential for your stores. If this approach to modernization would benefit your business, we should talk.