There is little doubt that the rapidly evolving point of sale (POS) landscape and the growing number of digital applications and mobile payment methods is exciting for many retailers. However, it is also challenging, as the POS environment must be made more agile and flexible. This is due to the sheer pace of change in the digital era, which means only those businesses capable of rapid evolution will ultimately succeed.
According to Norman Frankel, MD for Europe and UK at fintech solutions company Stanchion, constant innovation has become a challenge to solve, especially in an environment where security, regulation and compliance remain non-negotiable.
“The biggest challenge faced by POS service providers is that, while payment networks remain robust and secure, they also come with complex legacy messaging standards and protocols. Affecting change in this environment can take a long time. It is clear that although digitalisation is transforming the manner in which consumers use various payment methods, deploying these back into a legacy environment will slow things down and reduce competitive advantage, while increasing cost and frustration,” he says.
“It is worth noting, then, that protocol converters and payment grade rails can be used to speed up deployments without changing the existing investments in a POS environment. These, in turn, allow for faster processing and reduced costs, as well as better redundancy.”
Craig Duggan, Commercial Head at Transaction Junction, a fintech company that specialises in digital payment solutions for the future and is a partner of Stanchion, adds that as a POS service provider, it is necessary to be totally agonistic and to have a robust and flexible product set. In this way, he says, Transaction Junction can ensure that delivery options and time-to-market are kept as short as possible.
“Agile POS payment infrastructures need rapid digital integration for today’s apps and payment methods. Get this right, and you will be in a position to service all the needs of existing clients, and also be able to pivot quickly and introduce new channels as they become popular with consumers,” says Duggan.
“The business benefits of a truly agile POS system are massive. Firstly, the retail POS integration time can be reduced from around 12 weeks to about two weeks, while your transaction processing efficiency can increase by up to 5%. Crucially, it also provides a single point of integration solving for all transaction processing needs.”
“Other benefits include a reduction in environmental transaction failure rates and a dramatic reduction in time to deliver new customer enhancements. It also removes cost as a barrier to entry for innovation, making it easier to try new innovations based on real world experiences.”
Remember too, continues Duggan, that because you are creating an environment where multiple service providers can interact through a common platform, you are encouraging greater levels of collaboration, while also reducing the technical and financial barriers that increase the cost to do business.
Says Frankel: “We will soon see 5G, the Internet of things (IOT) and numerous other digital technologies coming to the fore. What this means is that the pace of change in the POS environment is not going to slow down – in fact, it is far more likely to increase. It is for this reason that businesses need to have the agility to integrate these new trends into the point of sale as fast as customers adopt them.”
According to Duggan, getting the right digital channels in place for customers is vital, if your POS solution is to deliver the service customers expect.
“It is critical to understand that the right point of sale system will not only be agile and flexible enough to handle this rapidly increasing pace of change, but – most crucially – will improve the customer experience by enabling the kind of super-fast reaction times that today’s modern shoppers are demanding,” he concludes.