In the retail world, one of the main tools for all business is the cash register. Every company that wants to make a sale needs to point of sale system, but there is a number of different ways that companies can now accept payments, as well as manage the back-of-house systems that go along with it.

A recent article from QRSweb.com makes the case that there is no better time for merchants to upgrade their POS system than right now. The piece features interviews with several industry experts. Traditionally, retailers and restaurants wait roughly every six years to upgrade their POS systems. The problem with following this pattern is that the development cycle for this technology has been revved up and totally new solutions can become available much quicker than every six years.

"If you're not keeping up, you are losing business to your more connected competitors. And you're spending more to handle the same number of orders," Jennifer Wiebe, marketing manager at SpeedLine, told the news source.

One of the biggest factors in the retail market is the impact of online shopping. This is something that is affecting every business that makes sales. For example, pizzerias are reporting that 40 percent of their sales come through the web or specific mobile applications.

"Online, mobile and self-serve ordering systems are critical not only in improving ticket averages and reducing costs, but also in improving customer satisfaction. Customer loyalty programs are delivering strong ROI to restaurants who see increased customer frequency and retention. Making these systems work seamlessly with in-store POS often requires an upgrade," said Duessa Holscher, director of strategic products at Granbury Restaurant Solutions.

Aside from keeping up with the demands of customers, by upgrading a POS system and software, organizations are also able to keep up with PCI compliance upgrades. As technology has evolved, so too have security processes. The latest version of the code was released in the second half of last year.

Many legacy systems are no longer compliant with the latest regulations. For example, systems that store credit card data locally violate best practices and immediately put companies at risk. Newer solutions offer end-to-end encryption, cloud-based processing and tokenization, which eliminate the need for local storage.

Laura Gaudin, product manager at Revention, put it well when she said that "PCI compliancy is a moving target that will continue to change as software hackers discover new vulnerabilities."

What are the key features for businesses?

There are many different features that organizations are looking for when it comes to picking the right POS system. But what are the main areas that decision-makers should focus on? Holscher pointed out three specific keys. They include:

  • Fit it to your business – A POS system should answer your specific business needs.
  • Connections – Credit card processing, gift cards, customer loyalty, online ordering, social media, mobile apps, business intelligence reporting are all crucial and should also be integrated together.
  • Business insight – All the data collected can be used to improve overall operations and make better decisions.

Every merchant needs the right POS software. With the help of a retail solution provider, any organization can easily make moves to upgrade to a cost-effective solution.