It can be both an exciting adventure and a stressful decision-making process when you select your new point of sale (POS) system and peripherals. The options seem endless! That can be great news because new technology can make checkouts a breeze; however, when you’re faced with the decision of which peripherals are best to include in your all-in-one, it can become daunting.
POS vendors that offer all-in-ones will often give you the choice of peripherals so you can configure the system to your business needs. Which peripherals to choose all boils down to your specific application. By asking yourself questions about your processes, your employees, and your customers, you’ll be able to better narrow exactly what’s best for your business, and ultimately the best financial investment for your business.
Answer these questions:
1. What types of barcodes are you scanning?
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make regarding all-in-one peripherals is whether to choose a 1D linear barcode scanner or a 2D imager. Are you only scanning linear barcodes, like UPCs on items listed in a database? If that’s your only application, then you may choose to opt for a 1D scanner.
Are you scanning loyalty and promotion coupons from customers’ phones? If that’s the case, then you would be better off with a 2D Imager. 2D imagers can scan digital images (1D scanners cannot). 2D imagers can also scan both 1D and 2D codes, and they are omnidirectional, so you don’t have to line up the barcode for it to scan properly—increasing scanning speeds and accuracy. They are also able to scan barcodes from a greater distance, and may have utility purposes, like capturing signatures and document images.
2. What are your labor management needs?
Mom-and-pop shops that operate with a few staple employees require different labor management tools than a larger retailer or restaurant with many employees and a higher turnover rate. If you fall into the second category, you should be looking for an all-in-one with peripheral options for a biometric fingerprint reader. These give you more control over transactions by employees and offer irrefutable proof of who made the transaction.
The benefits of this POS peripheral are two-fold. First, it makes the process of sign in simpler. Remembering complicated passwords is no longer required. Second, it creates a stronger security barrier between your employees and the critical data housed on your POS. According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), 30% of shrinkage is attributed to employee theft. Fingerprint scanners can reduce theft at the POS terminal, as well as time and attendance fraud.
3. How do you use LCD screens?
Will you use LCD screens for check out, self-service, or digital signage? Is the screen on the all-in-one sufficient or will you need to add additional screens?
Also determine whether your all-in-one should include capacitive or resistive touchscreen technology. POS peripherals with capacitive touch enable easy, flexible operation. They have a higher degree of contrast and facilitate more accurate input. Plus, they can continue operating even if the screen becomes damaged.
On the other hand, resistive touchscreens offer more industry acceptance, are less expensive, and react to multiple types of touches (even with a gloved finger).
4. What types of payments are you taking?
There are two main considerations when selecting your all-in-one’s PIN pads and card readers — security and customer trends. The EMV security standards protects both your business and your customers from card-present card fraud, but you need to choose the EMV card reader option instead of a magstripe reader.
Additionally, your all-in-one should have the features that customers are craving—including near-field communication (NFC) technology. Many consumers are ditching their traditional wallets for virtual ones — using a simple scan of their phone to make payments, scan electronic loyalty cards, or cash in coupons.
5. Do you require scales?
If your operation includes weighing items for sale, you’ll want to verify which standards for scales apply to you. Scale manufactures with NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) approval have met the standards for NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology) Handbook 44. However, NTEP scales are not necessarily legal-for-trade and may require additional certification.
In general, any business that buys, sells, or charges based upon weight within the US should be using a “legal-for-trade” scale. Make sure your all-in-one can support the correct POS peripheral.
Even after you’ve weighed your peripheral options, it may be helpful to consult with POS experts to help evaluate your business needs, and ensure you’re meeting all applicable industry standards with the peripherals you select.