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POS Hardware: A Commodity or Strategic Decision?

When it comes to the purchase of POS systems, many vendors look at the systems as a commodity and search for the cheapest solution. By not considering what is needed to run and maintain a POS system many are risking increased costs of support and interruptions of business. POS systems, being the financial lifeline between the customer and a company's income, should be treated as a vital solution to doing business.

While it might be cheaper to shop for POS systems from an online resource or catalogue vendor, those savings might be very short lived. There are many considerations when choosing a source of hardware. Some questions to consider include the following:

Support - Who supports the hardware? Is it the company that sold it or the manufacturer? Are there per service costs? Does the service provider understand your market needs and language? Does support have any idea of when an issue is software vs hardware? Who updates the systems? How are updates handled?

Deployment – Who will configure and deploy the hardware? Do they have experience with the POS application? Are they trained to test? Can they deliver a completely configured system or will it arrive in pieces? Do they have experience integrating the software to a back end system? What experience and tenure does the staff have? Can they handle international markets if that is a concern? Will they work with partners or do the work themselves?

Project Management – Is the seller involved in the rollout and management of timelines? Will they communicate issues? Will the company be fluid with complex implementations?

Every one of the concerns outlined above can add cost to companies that might have lower upfront savings.

When purchasing POS systems, a better practice would be to treat the purchase as what it is: a critical part of doing business. Finding a vendor that can support the POS software and hardware will reduce delays in support, speed time to market, and give one point of contact in the event of an emergency. Companies spend a lot of time making their POS software decisions. Including hardware in the decision process and thinking ahead will reduce headaches, downtime, and costs in the future.

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