Guest Column | June 26, 2013

Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes When Pitching Mobile POS

By David J. Gosman, CEO, pcAmerica

Mobile POS is hot right now. Everyone wants it and for good reason--we have seen first-hand the benefits of mobile solutions: shorter wait times, better service, and better access to product information.

There’s no doubt mobile POS is a game changer for stores and restaurants, but mobility is not a “one size fits all” solution. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s pitching a solution that’s not going to work for them—it’s a losing proposition for everyone involved.

Here are several things VARs can do to avoid some commonly made mistakes while presenting to potential clients.

Do your homework: Don’t get anyone’s hopes up before you know the facts. Evaluate the business’ operations to make sure mobility is a sound choice, because sometimes a mobile POS isn’t a good fit.

Telling the client they can ring up sales anytime, anywhere conjures up images of extreme efficiency: no lines, fast checkouts and happy patrons who turn into repeat customers. But a mobile POS works best in a store where the average transaction is 10 items or less. Anymore than that, and mistakes begin to happen—double scanning, difficulty bagging items, etc.

So before marketing a mobile POS solution to any client, make sure to do your due diligence and find out, how many items are sold in the average transaction? How will these items be handled if traditional register areas are eliminated? What will be used in their place to fold, wrap and bag items?

Don’t present something as mobile if it’s not: Tablet-based solutions can create some confusion. A tablet that can be carried around is mobile, right?  The answer is actually a little more complicated---a tablet-based system designed to be used at the counter is not the same as a mobile POS system. These systems are alternatives for storefronts that are short on space or for businesses with limited budgets.  The weight, size and ability to carry the hardware heavily influence how mobile a “mobile POS” truly is.  A system that is meant to be stationary should stay in one spot.  The transaction flow and hardware interfaces within the POS software will also be different in stationary uses versus the mobile alternative.

Be honest about the cost: A lot of decisions boil down to the price tag; so don’t represent a mobile POS package as less expensive if the small print says otherwise. If you are pitching a “software as a service” model, spell out the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the solution, which eliminates surprises down the road. Make sure the end user understands the pros and cons of the SAAS model—it’s lower cost upfront, but could be potentially more expensive over the life of the system depending on maintenance costs, processing fees and replacement cost if something breaks and isn’t covered by the warranty.

Consider what’s already there: Pitching a mobile POS that doesn’t work seamlessly with other internal systems already in place can mean a lot of headaches, extra work and unhappy customers. It’s a bad idea to introduce technology that is not compatible with the components in use, because anything that throws a wrench into with a business’ operations can cost time and money. You can save some trouble for everyone involved by making sure the new mobile POS is compatible with other functionalities in play, including a kitchen video or security system, accounting or payroll integrations.

Mobile POS is on the verge of changing the landscape of the way people shop and resellers can help facilitate the process by being open and honest with their consumers. Mobile POS isn’t a good fit for everyone who wants it, and trying to force the pieces together is a sure way to lose a customer.