5 Reasons NOT to Invest in Handheld POS With an easy-to-grasp concept, not to mention benefits that are immediately apparent, there’s no real surprise that the adoption of handheld POS terminals has been a chief interest among our current customer base going into 2016, and have even been at the center of our most recent Future POS system installations with a few high-profile local restaurants.If you’re considering going mobile in your store or restaurant, consider these top 5 reasons NOT to invest in a handheld POS solution.
Handhelds Break Easily By now there have been enough bad handheld implementations to disseminate the notion that handheld devices will create a nightmare for retailers, and a hell-like scenario for restaurants in particular. This is absolutely correct when you’re installing an iPad or some other consumer-grade tablet, as they simply aren’t designed to be durable enough for today’s retail and restaurant environments.
The answer is to choose a purpose-built handheld that has been ruggedized to take on the challenges specific to your environment. These purpose-built handhelds, like the Touch Dynamic Quest Tablet, which we’ve recently installed in several high-profile local restaurants to supplement their traditional station terminals running Future POS, can withstand the bumps and drops and spills that will inevitably occur on the floor or in the back office.
While it can be tempting to purchase a lower-cost consumer device, the long-term effectiveness of these products really should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to handhelds. Low-cost consumer devices, like iPads, can break easily, generally aren’t designed with security in mind, and often have severe connectivity issues.
Commercial-grade products, on the other hand, such as the aforementioned Quest Tablet running Future POS, offers you greater security, higher-quality wireless and scanning performances, enhanced manageability, a longer battery life, and overall better features that are more ideal for the harsher environments of retail and restaurant settings.
Handheld POS Devices Aren’t Secure When we’re talking about handheld security, there are two aspects that we’ll need to talk about – physical security and data security. From a physical standpoint, having a small and expensive piece of tech. floating around a store or restaurant is an understandable cause for concern among many merchants. Interestingly, consumer-grade tablets are typically exactly what criminals and nefarious employees want to walk away with. By choosing a commercial-grade device, you are much more likely to reduce the likelihood of losing a device to a would-be thief. In either case, however, there are mobile device management tools available that utilize GPS and/or geofencing to effectively make it useless if it leaves the store… Some will even alert you automatically if a device enters (or leaves) an area.
When we talk about data security, handheld devices are really the same as a traditional POS, in that multiple levels of security are needed. Handheld units can secure data by using a combination of hardware authentication and end-to-end encryption designed to secure credit card, debit card, and personal data from the moment a transaction is initiated, all the way through to the storage of encrypted information on bank server networks. You can further reduce your liability by utilizing an EMV-compliant solution with your handheld devices.
Handhelds Are Not Feature Rich Again, we’ve got two different aspects to consider – hardware and software. From a hardware standpoint, today’s industry-leading ruggedized tablets (like the Quest mentioned above) feature a number of technologies to provide customers with the tailored experience they are seeking. The key is to choose a handheld device that boasts powerful processing speeds, and enterprise-grade operating systems (such as Windows 7 or 8.1 Professional). This will allow the handheld to provide a variety of services that go beyond entering transactions or food orders and processing payments, and in some cases, function exactly the same as would any fixed-station terminal.
As for software, some restaurant owners and merchants worry that handheld software is watered-down, or has a different layout and configuration from the program used on fixed-station POS terminals. This is absolutely true with lower-end software, and even some of the bigger players in the POS market.
The common (problem-laden) solution to overcoming this issue is to rely on a remote desktop connection to effectively emulate a traditional POS terminal through the handheld device. Unfortunately, it’s very common to have recurring unsolvable issues with the handhelds operating in this manner, and we definitely advise against this kind of approach. Better (and less expensive) POS software programs, like Future POS, were designed with these nuances in mind and run identically across all devices, be they mobile or traditional.
Where’s The ROI? Return on investment (ROI) is typically a top consideration for operation managers in the retail and food service markets. It’s a no-brainer that handheld POS devices should save time, make routine tasks easier, increase customer and table turnovers, and seamlessly integrate into the larger scheme of your POS system. Ultimately, ROI from handhelds comes down to choosing the right device, with the features required to fulfill the duties demanded of it. Your handheld POS devices need to be rugged, and offer add-on options (such as handheld barcode scanners, payment devices, or communications devices). It’s important to consider the longer life-cycle of commercial-grade handheld products, as the hardware is more sustainable and has a lower total cost of ownership when compared to cheap consumer-grade products that need to be replaced more often.
Handheld POS Devices Are Expensive While the total cost of handheld POS devices have reduced over time, some small business retail and restaurant owners are still hesitant to invest their IT budgets into handheld devices. For those that do, if done correctly, one of the benefits is that you’re actually killing two birds with one stone: Not only are you gaining the benefits (and ROI) offered by mobile POS, but you’re also reducing your overall liability and ensuring regulatory compliance by upgrading your network infrastructure to securely communicate with these devices. Once you factor in the overall reduction in liabilities with the ROI offered by going mobile, and then add to it the fact that you can reduce costs long-term by choosing a high quality commercial-grade hardware that will last for a long time, the total cost of running handheld devices works out to be about the same as high-quality fixed-station POS terminals. Further, there are a litany of options available to reduce or offset the initial costs of implementing handheld POS devices. Lauvers Business Systems offers third-party financing options with low interest rates, as well as special discounts for switching to one of our preferred credit card processors as part of a new installation or system upgrade.
If you'd like to learn more about implementing handheld POS devices in your store or restaurant, we'd be happy to help: 313-294-2600
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