Point-of-sale (POS) systems are no longer just ordinary cash registers. In the retail payments space, POS activity has evolved into intuitive, all encompassing systems that can be fully mobile and cloud enabled. Some even come equipped with video surveillance capabilities to help with on site theft or inventory shrinkage. With seemingly limitless capabilities, today’s POS equipment fulfils a retail organization’s software and hardware needs.
Today's POS transaction systems help ensure that a retail operation’s administrative side remains secure and its service runs smoothly and efficiently. It’s safe to say, however, that nothing in the business world runs smoothly without performance management tools to monitor and troubleshoot. Some features of digital POS transaction systems include:
- Handling multiple types of payment, with flexibility, allowing the introduction of new payment methods.
- They can be linked to back-end accounting systems and card payment processors.
- They can alleviate the need to keep physical back-end servers in multiple locations.
- They can integrate with other back-end apps like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and inventory management.
- The intuitive nature of these POS transaction systems allows employee productivity tracking and if video is enabled, can even help with theft prevention.
What is POS Monitoring?
With the complexity of some network-enabled POS systems, businesses have begun to understand how critical it is to monitor them in real time. POS systems are notorious for encountering problems, many of which can be prevented or fixed faster with POS monitoring and surveillance, and by gathering data and analytics:
- POS security – constant surveillance to curtail hacker activity is a vital part of keeping your system and customer payment card data secure. The necessity to protect your POS data is not only important to protect your customers, but it can even prevent future attacks and loss through theft from fraudsters.
- Slow terminals and connectivity problems – WiFi network problems can derail a customer experience in moments. A strong, reliable connection and mobile visibility into your network is key to keeping your POS environment running smoothly.
- Confusion over whether a transaction went through – false ‘transaction declined’ messages and duplicate charges may often be due to faulty software, or slow connectivity issues, which can lead to unsatisfied customers, not to mention frustration for employees.
- Inaccurate reporting – digital POS systems can provide you with a wealth of important information including analytics and data, but if your data doesn’t seem to tally up, then there may be a flaw in your system.
- Usage issues/lack of employee training – it’s important to select the right system for your business. Experience matters, and monitoring provides information which can pick up usage flaws. For example it can pinpoint areas where employees continually struggle to use it optimally.
- Software problems – an off-the-shelf POS system might seem like an economical option, but often these products are not suited to your type of business or service. It’s important to get the right advice from the start.
- Mobile incompatibility – not all businesses are constantly operating from just one location, so a high-quality POS system should be compatible and easily synced with your mobile. You need this flexibility whether on-site or on the road.
Without proactive transaction monitoring and surveillance, your entire Point of Sale environment is vulnerable and prone to inadequate security. Proactively monitoring the activity inside a POS system is usually not something that store personnel can do, so responsibility naturally falls on IT and security engineers at data-center level.
The good news is that all these issues can be addressed with the right performance management tools in place. POS monitoring and troubleshooting tools can improve performance and security of a remote POS system as well as continuously maintaining, measuring, and improving retail operations.
Software: The difference between on-premises and cloud POS
POS equipment is made up of software and hardware components that make running the daily operations of your business easier and more efficient. Scalability is important, so businesses need to understand what POS software options can offer. For example, your POS vendor needs to work with your payment processor/gateway and your existing applications.
Source: Software Advice
Hardware: POS system components
The physical components of a each system vary from business to business, but typical hardware includes:
- Monitor or tablet – There could be several of these throughout any business. They display the database and enable other functions, like employees clock-in features, as well as the ability to view sales reports.
- Card reader – Secure EMV-compliant card readers are essential in every retail business that processes a POS transaction. Non-compliant retailers could potentially face fraud liability resulting in huge losses.
- Barcode/QR scanner – These automate the checkout process. Scanning barcodes gathers product information and adds it to the checkout total. They also integrate with inventory management to keep track of stock levels.
- Receipt printer – Many POS equipment gives the option of email or text receipts, but paper receipts are essential for providing customers with an on-the-spot tally of their purchases or returns.
With the payments industry evolving quickly, businesses need POS monitoring to effectively manage booming transaction volumes, emerging technologies, regulatory challenges, and higher customer expectations. On top of this, the ever-increasing risk of fraud highlights the need for security vigilance.
IR's Transact suite of solutions simplifies the complexity of managing modern payments ecosystems, bringing real-time visibility to your entire payments environment. Whether you’re a payments processor, merchant or acquirer, Transact reveals unparalleled surveillance and insights into transactions and trends. This helps with loss prevention, and streamlines the payments experience. It also turns secure data into intelligence and assures the payments that keep you in business.
Transact’s effective real-time monitoring solutions allow admins to set thresholds on a range of different metrics that can help address such issues as card-not-present (CNP) fraud, and seamlessly monitor approvals, declines, returns and refunds. Acquirers and processors can gain insight into their top merchants’ transactions and receive instant notification of abnormalities.