Point-of-sale (POS) systems are now responsible for more than just facilitating transactions. These days, they can help you iterate, integrate and update your technology to drastically improve your customer experience.
Last year, almost half of operators intended to add new functionality to their POS system. But, actually executing a big change requires the right know-how. Here are seven integral steps for integrating tech with your current POS system.
1. Define your goals and priorities
In his book titled, ‘Start with Why’, Simon Sinek explains the one thing that Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers all had in common: They knew why they did what they did. In Simon’s case, he’s referring to shaping and defining the entire company purpose, but this principle should be applied to any major business decision. Once you take a critical look at why you’re doing what you’re doing, the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ should become clear.
You might be chomping at the bit, but, before you begin introducing innovations into your business, you need to understand why you’re looking for a change. Is it to improve customer experience? Or, is it to remain competitive and agile? Whether you’re integrating mobile Order & Pay or some other technology with your current POS system, use this method to make sure it’s the best choice for you.
2. Consider your technology roadmap
Many organisations have an 18-month technology roadmap, put into place to make sure they stay future-focused. The problem with this model is that it’s built on technology that would’ve been modern when plans started being developed. So when that 18-month mark comes around, those companies are still behind from an innovation standpoint. As our own Gavin Peters, Chief Strategy Officer at Wi5, explains: ‘[old technology is] why many merchants are still launching quite basic native apps right now to much fanfare while others have already moved on.’
Technology is fast-moving, and new innovations enter the market regularly. When looking at new integrations, ask yourself:
– Will this technology affect the long-term direction of my business?
– Has this been proven elsewhere in the market?
– How does this fit in with my current innovation road map?
Chances are you’ve already outlined the next two years of digital change at your business. Remain flexible and open to new opportunities, because market adaptation and diversification could be your biggest strengths. Don’t let an already developed plan get in the way of growth!
3. Get stakeholder buy-in
There are many stakeholders who will feel the effects of POS tech integrations, so you’ll want to get everyone on board with the changes before deployment.
Get the green light from the IT department by mapping out how the new tech will work cohesively with the current systems and propose a clear idea of how to manage risk. The IT department will be planning through months, or likely years, of innovation already so fitting a new opportunity in will be key. IT can be evangelists, but they can also be the blocker depending on where a business is on their technology roadmap. Something more advanced, like mobile ordering, might not be a priority if a business is still trying to move their systems from on-premise servers to the cloud, for example.
Marketing will want to understand how any new innovation will shape the brand value long term, while not disrupting customer experience short-term. If you integrate new technology into your current POS system, your marketing department will need to know how it works and what benefits it has for customers, so they can promote it effectively.
The Operations team is the glue that holds everything together, and they can’t risk any staff confusion or missed orders. So, approach them with thoughts on how a new solution will impact different areas of the business. They’ll likely project manage new technology deployment, and they have to make sure it all runs smoothly so that it doesn’t disrupt day-to-day business.
Founders/CEOs are busy. Get senior management support by providing a thought out, holistic overview to prove the benefit to the bottom line. They’ll want an idea of everything mentioned above: How new tech will integrate with current systems, how it will support brand growth, the impact to customers and what it will cost.
4. Clean up your menu
When you deploy an integration like mobile Order & Pay with your current POS system, you’re giving your customers access to your menu system.
While your staff might know to ignore a menu item that has been discontinued at the till, your customers won’t. It’s therefore essential to clean up your menu before you even consider launching new tech to avoid problems down the road.
Wi5 takes care of this step for you when the technology is implemented into your POS system.
5. Provide access to the necessary parties
‘It’s important that, from the very beginning, communication is established across all organisations involved to avoid integration roadblocks further down the line’ – Gabos Rojas, Technical Engineer at Wi5
To make a new integration seamless, you should give all relevant parties the necessary access to your systems. Namely, your POS provider and new technology provider will need to work together. The best way to do this efficiently is to create a direct line of contact … you shouldn’t be the bottleneck to progress.
6. Run tests first
To increase your chances of success, deploy a sandbox version of your integration so that you can isolate, test and fix any problems before you roll it out to the public. Wi5’s Chief Strategy Officer, Gavin Peters, weighs in again saying, ‘Someone like Starbucks can potentially take more of a test and learn approach; they can test something at a city-wide level and see if it’s working, and then roll it out. They have the scale to see if things work.’
At an enterprise level, you can begin deploying and testing this technology in select areas to see how the market reacts, before you decide to standardise across your entire business. For smaller restaurants or cafes, test new technology with your team as a ‘soft launch’ before rolling out publicly, and consider a phased marketing approach so that you can manage any issues that come up initially.
7. Offer frontline training
Finally, you need to train your staff. Introducing new technology will lead to questions, comments, uncertainty and maybe even some resistance. This isn’t uncommon, nor is it a reason not to innovate. But training is required for a new deployment to be successful.
We speak from experience. When we work with a client to deploy Wi5, we train the trainer. We’ll provide the relevant information and prepare someone inside the business with all the material they need to successfully train front-of-house staff, back office employees and anyone else who will be using the technology.
As always, think first, then act
Consider what is a short-term fad and what will be a long-term change. Before integrating technology with your POS system, you need to think ahead and not jump on the first new development you discover.
In 2019, mobile represents roughly 60 percent of all digital restaurant orders, and this figure will rise. A mobile Order & Pay integration, then, is a long-lasting solution that will improve customer experience, reduce the need for queues and increase the efficiency of your operations.
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