I walked into a convenience store while in New York last week that appeared well kept and clean. The owner had clearly invested some time and effort to make it a comfortable place to shop. The lights were bright and the floors were squeaky clean. But the cash register is what really caught my attention. It was clearly a state-of-the-art machine - maybe ten years ago when it was first installed.
I couldn’t help but think to myself, all this effort had been put into updating the place and creating a great setting but here is this clunky, grungy, cracked machine that doesn’t even accept chip and pin, let alone contactless. Here’s the kicker, it was held together with tape! People don’t want to pay on a machine like that. Especially post Covid.
It sends a bad message to customers. They’re not going to feel safe using that machine. Not to mention that transactions will take longer.
Here’s the thing. Technology is advancing quickly, as it must in order to keep up with all the changes in how payments are processed, what currencies are used, how fraudsters are targeting business owners and consumers.
Full disclosure - I’m in the business of helping people upgrade their outdated and obsolete systems. Maybe it’s like the car wash owner telling you it’s a good idea to wash the car at least weekly in the winter. But that does help prevent salt damage. And, having an updated system can help your business grow.
For starters, you could be losing sales if you have a system that looks sketch. Who wants to take a risk like that? Many consumers think that older systems are easier targets for scammers. If they see an outdated system, they may not want to buy out of fear of having their info stolen. A criminal with a counterfeit card is more likely to look for a swipe-only terminal without the security of a chip and pin.
And let’s not forget about the line that extends down the aisle where shoppers are trying to browse. The line that you’re stuck standing in when you’re already late to a meeting because each transaction takes so long. How many times have you heard, “sorry, the computers are so slow today.”
Time is money. And that slow terminal is costly.
Newer systems are faster and easier to use. That means more transactions, which is good for any business. And, it means more time for other important business.
Looks-wise, the newest systems are generally sleeker. That may seem minor, but it sets a tone in the customer’s mind that it’s safer and that this is a shop keeping up with the times. On a side note, they may also be smaller, which means more counter space for products people might want to grab at the last moment.
An optional benefit, which can be a game-changer, is the ability to go mobile. That means flexibility in where you use them. If you want to set up on the sidewalk for a few hours, no problem. Or set up in another area of the store to keep the lines moving smoothly.
Newer systems are also equipped with Fort Knox-type security. These are not easy targets. They’re systems that will keep out the bad guys at every step of the process from when the customer taps the machine through when the money is deposited into your bank account.
A hidden value is the reporting options available. It’s easy to track transactions. You can see when you’re busiest, what’s selling best, when the best tips are coming in and so much more. That’s data you can use to make decisions about how to run your business better. And it doesn’t cost extra.
The other important factor is capabilities. These systems can handle a full range of payment methods including debits, credit cards, mobile payments, and NFC like Apple Pay or Google Pay. That means fewer lost sales. A customer might forget their wallet, but they’re not going to leave their phone behind.