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Crossing the chasm for the Internet of Things

“Crossing the Chasm” is one of my favorite business books of all times. Geoffrey Moore describes the lifecycle of new technology adoption that, by now, should be familiar to everyone in high tech. One of the key points in the book is that there is a chasm in adoption between innovators and early adopters on the one side and the majority of users on the other side. In fact, in order to cross this chasm and achieve widespread adoption, a different way of marketing, selling and supporting the new technology is required.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the connected home, in particular, might now be facing this chasm. There are solid predictions that the IoT market is taking off and tens of billions of IoT devices will be deployed by 2020 – with at least half of them directly involving end consumers. For instance, Gartner predicts that 25 billion IoT connected devices will be installed by 2020. At the same time, industry analyst firm Parks Associates reports that 39% of consumers are experiencing problems with various smart home devices, and approximately 10% are experiencing more than one problem with each device. 

Such findings highlight the chasm between the early adopters of connected home technologies and the majority of households that are now next in line to buy these technologies. Parks Associates estimates that 40% of US broadband households are planning to buy a smart home product in the next 12 months. This chasm reflects the fact that we are transitioning from the tech-savvy initial IoT buyer to the less technologically adept one. It also reflects that IoT solutions themselves are transitioning from premium to mainstream purchases.

Here are five key areas that the IoT world (both businesses and consumers) needs to address in order to cross this chasm: Interoperability – It is still the case that despite multiple standards, IoT devices don’t talk well to each other. This limits the potential for new and exciting uses. Imagine your smart thermostat talking to your smart lock, or to smart sensors throughout your house, or to your connected vehicle and GPS (even though each device might be from a different provider) – in order to know when the house is empty so as to regulate temperature and achieve energy savings without your intervention. Different connectivity standards exist and are optimized for bandwidth, range or power consumption, but there is still some way to go for easy inter-connectivity across devices supporting different standards. In essence, the interoperability issue should not be viewed from the individual device perspective, but rather requires a more holistic view at a platform or hub level.

Security – IoT devices are perceived to be very personal because they can control access into our homes. And this obviously raises a lot of concerns about security. The scenario of someone hacking into a connected home’s security system (many of which are now online) and disabling security settings is a scary one. Or the idea of someone hacking into our smart phone that now drives both our virtual and physical world is no less scary. Recently, a team of security experts hacked into a Jeep vehicle as it was driving down the highway and brought it to a stop as part of a controlled experiment. How security is handled at the edge as well as in the cloud, and what mechanisms are available to safeguard against security breaches – or contain them when they happen – will be an ongoing (and difficult) effort. In the IoT, technology will be more pervasive, so the impact of security breaches will be much large 

Privacy – This is another important one. IoT devices can collect a lot of data that is sensitive at its very core, because it’s data about our lives. How individuals are identified, how devices are identified, how the collected data is treated in the cloud, and how transparent vendors and service providers are about the use of the data they collect, are all very serious issues. Although collecting data is key to vendors understanding customer behaviors and providing better use cases, consumers are very aware about their privacy when at home. And rightly so. At the same time, consumers need to be more careful and diligent when reviewing the fine print in the Terms & Conditions of these new products and services. Consumers should also understand that the person agreeing to the terms might be only one of the household members using the technology. According to a brand new survey by CABA, consumers view loss of privacy as the second greatest barrier (behind cost) to purchasing connected home products.

Support – The general idea is that IoT devices are meant to be very easy to connect, configure and use. However, they are also increasingly complex, which means that the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) model does not work as often as expected. What happens if the installation is complete but the solution does not work as planned? It is said that consumers have about 20 minutes of patience for learning to put a new technology to use. If they can’t get the technology to work within this time, they either return it or put it aside. For the connected home to succeed, these early customer experiences have to be successful for the consumers, and cushion set-up, configuration and use with access to meaningful, proactive, ongoing support (regardless of whether the solution was a professional install or a self install). These early customer experiences will influence buyers’ satisfaction and loyalty and – most importantly to the brands – their intention to adopt and use additional connected devices in their connected home.

Personalization – IoT devices are fully expected to adapt to our needs and become part of solutions that bring clear and tangible value to our lives. If we anticipate these devices to become mainstream, these expectations must be met, and met fully. But the true value is in the connections between these devices, rather than in the devices themselves. The inter-connectivity is what will enable truly personalized solutions for each household and each consumer. There are a couple of points to make about this. The first one is around the user interface to control these inter-connected devices. In the short- to medium-term future, it is unlikely that there will be a single interface concept to control all devices. At the same time, it is also unlikely that there will be a universal way to seek and receive customer service and support; instead this will be fragmented between communication service providers, device manufacturers, and specialized retailers. These trends may limit the initial potential for a truly personalized customer experience across solutions.

The connected home can be a smart home too. Fortunately, the market is learning quickly, and providers are starting to realize what and where the gaps are and how to address them. The IoT is opening amazing new opportunities for new consumer experiences. If we succeed in supporting both the early adopters and the majority that follows, at whatever stages and in whatever forms they prefer, we are in for quite a ride. – See more at: http://www.support.com/crossing-the-chasm-for-the-internet-of-things/#sthash.rfYsAOcp.dpuf

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the connected home, in particular, might now be facing this chasm. There are solid predictions that the IoT market is taking off and tens of billions of IoT devices will be deployed by 2020 – with at least half of them directly involving end consumers. For instance, Gartner predicts that 25 billion IoT connected devices will be installed by 2020. At the same time, industry analyst firm Parks Associates reports that 39% of consumers are experiencing problems with various smart home devices, and approximately 10% are experiencing more than one problem with each device. Such findings highlight the chasm between the early adopters of connected home technologies and the majority of households that are now next in line to buy these technologies. Parks Associates estimates that 40% of US broadband households are planning to buy a smart home product in the next 12 months. This chasm reflects the fact that we are transitioning from the tech-savvy initial IoT buyer to the less technologically adept one. It also reflects that IoT solutions themselves are transitioning from premium to mainstream purchases. Here are five key areas that the IoT world (both businesses and consumers) needs to address in order to cross this chasm: – See more at: http://www.support.com/crossing-the-chasm-for-the-internet-of-things/#sthash.qDmVxGO2.dpuf

10

The Evolution of Customer Engagement (And How It’s Changing Everything)

How do you measure customer engagement? If you’re like most marketers, it’s all about the revenue. And while revenue is important, much of what we think about customer engagement is changing considerably.

For example, according to a recent report by eMarketer, most executives look at metrics like clicks, conversions, shares and traffic as prime indicators – but these metrics can’t really measure engagement per se and nor can they measure a customer’s satisfaction with the service they received.

In fact, just look at how marketers view the shifting customer service landscape:

 

CMOCouncil-Changing-Ability-to-Reach-Engage-Customers-Jan2016

Nearly half of those surveyed felt that they needed to better align with sales and support to deliver a complete customer experience. But how exactly do you do this? Looking at three of the more considerable metrics on the chart above reveals some insights when it comes to personalization, filtering and what information is collected about customers (and what information they choose to share).

The Signal-to-Noise Ratio

It’s evident from the graphic that customers are now available and open to receiving information than ever before. But for the uninitiated company, this doesn’t mean simply “throw out all the advertising you can at them and hope some of it sticks.” People are tired of being marketed to like brainless zombies, and instead want their business to be valued. They want to share their experiences with friends on social media and rave about the latest deals or what fantastic service they got.

BUT – and this is a big one – customers don’t want to be babysat. They don’t want to be reminded for the umpteenth time to leave a review about the cat litter they just bought. Nor do they want to be doggedly followed from site to site showing ads for that lingerie they were looking at. They want less noise and more tailored offers, personalized to their tastes.

Importance Versus Satisfaction

In customer service, a lot of effort goes into explaining (and looking for ways to create) “memorable moments”. These are moments where the customer shopping experience was so good/timely/affordable that they can’t help but remember it.

Now, it’s important to note that a customer isn’t going to have a memorable experience every single time they shop. But looking at these experience (and their relative levels of importance) is a good way to set and manage customer experiences.

custex

 

 

 

Imagine for a moment if expectations were low, but experience was high. A customer might remember that moment, right? And conversely, if expectations were high and experience low – a customer will definitely remember it – and likely tell others.

Being able to accurately pinpoint where (on the map) the customer interacts with the company and how to make these points as even as possible is the “sweet spot” every company – whether you’re selling lingerie, or cat litter – needs to aim for.

Physical Versus Emotional Variables

There are a lot of core physical variables that customers look for no matter what they’re buying. Things like:

  • Functionality (does it work as intended)
  • Time (is it easy to set up/use)
  • Attractiveness / Cleanliness
  • Environment (the ambience of the store / website)

These are all physical points that you can control to some extent. Interjecting emotional value into physical points broadens the overall customer experience into so much more. Love it or hate it, you know when you’re entering a Hollister store. The dark lights, the music, and even the smell.

That’s not to say that all customer experiences should be 100% sensory only. But making them feel things in connection to shopping online (the excitement of getting a branded package from Amazon.com, for instance), greatly heightens their satisfaction and in effect, doing business with you.

Tying Customer Experiences to Measurable Goals

Here’s the real question: How do you measure something as intangible as customer experience? Sure, the aforementioned metrics are a good place to start, as is overall customer satisfaction levels –but they don’t paint a complete picture.

It’s vital when considering customer experiences as a whole that you look at the areas where improvements can always be made – such as:

  • How easy it is to find information
  • How to get help when they need it
  • How their personal data is being collected and used
  • Appealing, interesting content

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This marketing matrix, from the Customer Experience (Spain) shows how you can tie those improvements to overall goals to make real progress toward your customer engagement improvement initiatives. This will give you concrete milestones to work from as you keep improving your process. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually, you’ll be able to see impactful improvements to metrics like time-on-site, lower bounce rates, social shares and other measurable points.

And if you’re not getting the kind of results you’d hoped for, don’t be afraid to make changes and shift with the changing customer experience tides. People are rightfully expecting a lot more out of the companies they’re most loyal to, but companies aren’t afraid to take some risks and step up to the place to align themselves with their customers’ needs too.

The bottom line is always going to be to look at what your data is telling you. Draw meaningful conclusions, but don’t doggedly cling to it. We’re all human, and sometimes unpredictable and wavering in what we really want from a brand.

But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In an August 2015 survey from Ovum and Opinium Research LLP, nearly 81% of the customers surveyed reported that the issue [which would give them the greatest positive experience with a brand] would be to simply have their questions answered. That’s not asking for a lot, is it? They’ve set the bar incredibly low – presenting the perfect opportunity for smart companies to not just meet their expectations but exceed them.

2

Google Fiber eyes Chicago and L.A.

Google Fiber could be coming to Chicago and Los Angeles, where more than 6 million people live, Google announced Tuesday.

The company invited the two cities to get the 1Gbps service, then plans to work with city leaders to collect detailed information on factors that would affect construction, such as topography and city streets.

Networks technology internet

“While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to bring Fiber to Chicago and L.A., this is a big step for these cities and leaders,” said Jill Szuchmacher, director of Google Fiber Expansion, in the blog.

Google Fiber currently serves three metro areas: Kansas City (in both Kansas and Missouri), Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. Six more cities are listed by Google as “upcoming” Fiber cities and 11 others are potential cities, including L.A. and Chicago.

Those two cities would be the largest metros for Google Fiber. “Whether it’s filmmaking or entrepreneurship or more abundant bandwidth at home, Chicago and L.A. are the perfect cities to show us what’s possible with gigabit Internet,” Szuchmacher said.

Google’s announcement follows by one day the news from AT&T that it plans to expand GigaPower 1Gbps fiber to 38 more cities for a total of 58 cities. GigaPower was launched in Los Angeles on Monday and had previously been available in Chicago and nearby cities. AT&T’s first city was Austin, Texas, starting about two years ago.

High-speed Internet access to homes and small businesses is considered a key to a city’s economic development. Cities without it will be at a competitive disadvantage, said Jeffrey Kagan, an independent analyst.

3

Facebook building a 100-gigabit switch to keep up with video, VR traffic

acebook is more than doubling the speed of its Wedge open-source network switch, which is good news both for Facebook users and for anyone who may want to build a 100-gigabit switch.

The Wedge sits at the top of a rack of servers to connect them to Facebook’s network. It was announced in June 2014, and thousands are already deployed in the company. Plus, the social network made the design of the Wedge open source so other manufacturers could build switches like it.

Networking server data centre

However, less than two years later, the 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports in the original Wedge are proving no match for the fast-growing traffic on Facebook’s network. To keep up, the company is now developing a version of the switch with 100-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. It gave more details in a blog post but hasn’t said when the new switches will be ready.

Much of the traffic in Facebook’s data centers is just among the company’s own switches. But it’s growing along with much more bandwidth-intensive content on the social network, including big video files and virtual-reality content like 360-degree videos that Facebook recently introduced.

“Whenever there is capacity, people will build stuff to consume it,” said Jay Parikh, vice president of global engineering and infrastructure, at the Structure conference in San Francisco on Thursday. Facebook says it has more powerful servers, and more of them, than it did when the first Wedge was introduced. As many as four servers can be hooked up to each port of the Wedge.

The Wedge 100 will have 32 100G ports, the same maximum number as on today’s Wedge but all at the higher speed. Like the current switch, it has a non-blocking design, meaning that it can fully feed all of its ports at the same time if necessary. Thus the total capacity of the Wedge 100 is 3.2Tbps.

Facebook designs its own switches and writes its own software for them because it wants the flexibility to meet its own rapidly developing needs. In addition to the Wedge, earlier this year it introduced the 6-pack, a modular switch for connecting server racks to each other. The 6-pack is based on the Wedge and can have as many as 128 40-gigabit ports. Facebook has also developed its own data-center network design.

What Facebook invents in network hardware, it makes available for others to use. At least one vendor, Accton, already sells a customizable top-of-rack switch based on the 40-gigabit Wedge. The design has been accepted by the Open Compute Project, which Facebook founded in 2011 to share open-source hardware designs. It also plans to share the Wedge 100′s design.

The company uses an internally developed OS, called FBOSS, on its own switches. But it has also joined up with Big Switch Networks to offer an open-source network operating system called Open Network Linux for others to use.

The advent of so-called “white box” networking gear based on open hardware and software could trickle down from giant IT shops like Facebook to provide enterprises with an alternative to traditional systems from companies like Cisco Systems. But Cisco says its overall architecture costs customers less in the long run.

4

P.O.S SYSTEM

Why sell abroad?

An online business looking to expand will naturally open up to selling abroad. The first and arguably most difficult step is deciding which country to enter. Understandably, certain countries are more culturally similar to your home country (e.g., you may share the same language) and should be your first choice. However, there are other deciding factors. Read on to learn about the starting points to consider as you step onto the global onlinestage.

Black and white photo of Paris

  1. Cultural research

Every culture has its own habits, characteristics, values and principles. Understanding the consumer of the country in question is integral. Their values, preferences and needs will determine your site’s content, how you choose your products and any communications with your customer base — essentially, your entire eCommerce strategy. Are these consumers price sensitive? Do they expect free shipping? Do they tend to abandon their carts? What kind of customer service do they expect?  Have you researched local holidays and cultural sensitivities around imagery and metaphors? All of these points will help you tailor your customer experience and make a positive mark on local shoppers.

  1. Language

This may seem obvious, but perfect language is key to connecting with locals. Certain pages are of particular importance, such as payment pages — confusion at this stage can certainly lead to cart abandonment.

  1. The competition

What better way to learn about a new market than looking at the competition. What are they doing right? What kind of feedback are they receiving? You want to stay on top of current and future local trends.

  1. Payment habits

Preferred payment methods differ between countries. Some are credit card-centric, others go for debit cards or online payment sites such as PayPal. Some users don’t feel comfortable filling out credit card numbers online, while others don’t hesitate. Spanish consumers, for example, tend to not fully trust online payments and rather choose cash on delivery.

  1. Shipping

Running a successful international eCommerce business requires an in depth understanding of logistics and local geography. Is delivery more common to homes or drop-off points? Certain areas may not provide the same standards of delivery as others, some may even be known for their notoriously unreliable services.

  1. Social media and online marketing

Understanding local usage of social media is invaluable. Are users social media savvy? Connecting with users on their platforms of choice can do wonders for your business, instantly creating increased brand awareness. You should also look for opportunities to post banner ads, get sponsored content and appear on price/product comparison sites to increase local exposure.

  1. Google AdWords

Initially, when you enter new territory, you’re not going to have a strong organic following on Google. A great tool to help improve your ranking isGoogle AdWords. Identify local keywords and go from there, to increase online visibility.

Image for moving your ecommerce business abroad

Certain countries adopt online shopping habits faster than others, so you must be careful when deciding which foreign markets to enter. In certain markets, the trend of buying online may be growing and you could jump on at the right moment, while other markets may be saturated with similar products to yours and should be avoided.

The key to your success is having a good reason for entering a particular market and ensuring you have the ability to adapt your business to its cultural standards. This applies to all elements of your business, such as  design, language, product, online promotional strategies such as Google AdWords, shipping and payment options.

5

Why your café needs a POS system

Perhaps you’ve been running your café successfully with only a pen and paper for years — and it works. Have you been using an old-fashioned cash register without any issue? Maybe an older POS system did the trick.

While there are many ways to successfully go about something, there are certain ways to improve the efficiency of your business and work in a streamlined fashioned. A modern, cloud-based POS system could help you manage your business day to day, so you can focus on growing and delivering exceptional customer service.

How can a cloud-based POS system help your café or bakery grow?

Create your ideal setup
Take payments wherever you are! With integrated credit card payments offered by POS systems like Lightspeed, you can print customizable receipts and finalize bills from your iPhone or iPad — in your café, terrace, market stand, kiosk or even food truck.

Lightspeed adapts to your way of running things. Take orders at the counter or table with an iPad or iPhone/iPhone touch, or create a more traditional counter setup.

Offer superior service and get to know your customers better
Give your customers the freedom to pay as they prefer. Depending on your payment processor, you can take cash, debit, credit card — even Apple Pay!

A POS system that allows you to print customizable receipts also allows you to build closer relationships with your customers. You can include anything you like on your receipts, such as QR codes linking to your website or Facebook page, or messages about upcoming specials.

Make well-informed menu and business decisions
Update your menu based on the information you gather from your POS. A cloud-based POS system with reporting features lets you track inventory, determine top sellers and analyze profits, giving you the tools to make the business decisions needed to move forward.

Don’t worry about losing information
With a cloud-based POS system, you’ll always have access to your menus, reports and sales data. Lightspeed POS also offers back-up 4G/LTE and offline server solutions to ensure you don’t run into any issues.

Link the front-end and back-end staff
When orders are taken on an iPad or iPhone, they’re sent directly to the kitchen (or anywhere else you choose), ensuring orders are completed quickly.

Save space with a modern POS
Lightspeed Restaurant’s POS doesn’t take much counter space — a printer, cash drawer and an iPad or iPhone are all you need to take orders and run your business.

6

How Restaurants Can Benefit From Self-Service Kiosks

Order, pay and seat yourself without talking to anyone. This is common in European and Asian quick service and fast casual restaurants, and now Americans are catching on by using self-service kiosks.

Kiosks are electronic ordering systems that provide a touchscreen menu for guests. Kiosks integrate directly with your point-of-sale (POS) system, making order processing extremely easy.

Take Panera Bread for example. The restaurant chain started to modernize their customer experience in 2014 by releasing Panera 2.0, a self-service kiosk featuring online payment, customized ordering, links to the loyalty program, and more. This year their CEO plans to replace all cashiers with kiosks.

While there are reasons economically that make this a good change, we’ll focus on the benefits that a kiosk can bring to a restaurant. In the right environment, Bepoz’s kiosks could:

  • Increase Revenue – Some restaurants claim to experience anywhere from 10 to 30% increase in revenue when implementing a self-service kiosk. This happens because every customer receives suggested upsells during the ordering process. They can also receive lists of the best menu items first, as well as any specials.
  • Increase of Accuracy – Guests feel like orders are more accurate because they are directly involved in ordering, and that perception can help improve a restaurant’s overall customer service.
  • Eliminate Long Lines – A set of kiosks can help speed up the check out process by offering guests multiple places to order.
  • Reduce Labor Costs – Since kiosks replace cashiers, this helps to reduce labor costs.
  • Focus on Expediting – Employees can spend their focus on creating and expediting the food. This can also increase the output of food delivered.
  • Showcase Promotions – Guests can view the newest menu item, special prices/discounts, as well as participate in a customer loyalty program.

The Truth About Cloud-Based vs Standard POS Systems

You’ve most likely heard of “the cloud.” In its simplest definition it’s the place where data is stored.

When evaluating any type of point-of-sale system, you have the option to store data in a main computer that’s perhaps linked to several checkout terminals, or you can store data in a main computer off-site hosted and maintained by a third party service. This is called a cloud-based POS system, and they are increasing in popularity.

When most people think about cloud-based point of sale systems, they think of a system that have a virtual web back end for management and reporting. Most of these systems run in IPads or Android tablets. For the sake of this article, this is type of cloud system we will be addressing. Many of these systems have a very low cost barrier to entry. Is it really worth following the trend of moving away from a standard POS system to use a cloud-based one? Although there can be some advantages to the cloud, here’s the truth about making the switch that you may not have considered.

Data Ownership

Your agreement with many cloud point of sale software systems includes verbiage that makes the Point of Sale Company the owner of the data, or at least gives them full rights to your data to sell it to third parties. It is the rule and not the exception among cloud-based point of sale companies to sell your data.

Speed

Many of today’s cloud systems are running on tablets with low memory requiring constant communication with cloud services for continuous operation. In side by side tests performed by many business owners and dealers, traditional on premise systems simply outperform cloud-based systems regarding speed of service, and speed equals money in typical businesses. This makes sense considering that much of the data required to operate these systems is in the cloud and not on location. Also, the consumer grade hardware used for many of these applications is not built for speed in a commercial environment.

Reliability

Because most cloud-based point of sale systems are based on consumer tablets without multiple ports necessary for reliable operation, peripherals like printers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, etc., as well as network communications are typically run on Bluetooth or Wifi. This becomes the Achilles heel of these systems. These wireless technologies simply cannot match the reliability of a traditional wire to keep your business running. After all isn’t running your business what this is all about?

Security

The cloud moves computing workloads off-site and mobilizes data on rented space on a giant server. Most cloud-based POS systems maintain private cloud systems that are typically in several geographic locations. A traditional POS system is housed in a back office where you manage your own in house security and data back up. If you use a cloud-based system you have to depend on others, meaning you have to trust who you are using to make sure they are providing high-end security and back up services.

Internet Connection

Using a standard POS system does not require an internet connection, but using a cloud-based system does. If your internet goes down, chances are your business goes down, and you could be missing out on sales. However, there are some cloud systems that can store some internal memory. This memory can store some transactions until you can get back up online, but who wants to take this chance?

Also, what happens if you have a system that is dependent on communication with other stations in the network? Such is the case in table service restaurants where a table stored on one station may need to be recalled at another. In this case, a simple network outage could take the business down, or at least leave it crawling at a snail’s pace. No one can ever predict how long an outage will be.

Cost-Effectiveness

When you consider the just speed of service and the possible down time risk that comes with a true cloud-based point of sale system, the costs can easily mount up to cost much more than the price of simply operating a standard system.

So if you’re considering moving to a cloud-based POS system make sure you consider security concerns, internet connection, reliability, speed, data ownership, and cost effectiveness. The truth may be that a standard POS system is still the better choice for your business. Many people want a cloud-based system until they get one.

8

History of the POS System

It’s hard to believe, but the beginnings of the first Point-of-sale (POS) system dates back as far as the late 1800s. James Ritty, a Dayton, Ohio, saloon owner, was known as the “father” of the cash register. He invented a device that could register the amount of cash transactions recorded at his saloon because he wanted stop employees theft. He called it “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier,” or as we know it today, the cash register.

He would later sell his rights to the cash register to Jacob H. Eckert. Eckert wanted to manufacture cash registers to a wider audience. So he founded the National Manufacturing Company. That company would later be sold and the name changed to the National Cash Register.

In 1906, Charles F. Kettering created an electric motor for the cash register. This made it easier for employees to process transactions quickly, rather than ringing up sales by hand.

In the 1950’s in London, brothers Sam and Henry created a manufacturing company called Gross Cash Registers where they built, sold, and exported cash registers. In 1971, they created the only cash register that could handle the conversion of currencies, which made their business boom.

Then the first POS systems were introduced to the market in 1973. IBM announced the electronic cash register (ECR), as a mainframe computer packaged as a store back end. It was limited in capability and functionality, but ECR’s were the first computer-based client-server technology to be used in a commercial atmosphere. This system was able to pinpoint top selling items, and print out a summary of the report. By 1974, the system was installed in Pathmark Stores in New Jersey and Dillard’s Department Stores.

In 1979, Gene Moshel, a New York restaurateur, used this technology to pioneer a system for his deli. Mosher wrote software that worked with his computer where customers would order at the restaurant’s front entrance. Then their order would print out in the kitchen.

In 1985, Mosher introduced the first color touch-screen driven POS interface. This software operated on the Atari ST, which was the world’s first consumer-level color graphic computer. This was the beginning of POS system helping business owners to track reports, keep inventory, and monitor employees.

Through the 90’s and into the 21st century the point-of-sale system would continue to evolve, moving from bulky systems to back office services, and tablet based mobile systems. Also, cloud computing would allow POS systems to run as SaaS software, a service accessed from the internet.

Bepoz made it’s mark in POS history, starting in the early 70’s as Business Electronical Pty Ltd. Established in Sydney Australia, the company sold office products and cash registers. Through the years the company would move with customer demand distributing electronic programmable cash registers in the 80’s, and in the 90’s selling POS system solutions.

In 2004, after years of reselling other solutions Bepoz decided to develop it’s own POS software called Bepoz. This revolutionized the POS market with a fresh, intuitive, feature rich, yet easy-to-use, point of sale software. They became both an end-user solution provider and a major software developer in the Australian market.

In 2007, Bepoz started building a worldwide distributor network in New Zealand, the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, and of course the United States.

9

Is It Time For A POS Upgrade?

Point of sale (POS) technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and it’s leaving some retailers behind in implementing necessary upgrades.

The reluctancy comes because of the cost and time it takes to complete the upgrade, but what they don’t understand is that an outdated POS system may not only be holding their business back, but endangering their customers as well.

Today, a POS system is not just about a sales transaction; it’s also a critical source of inventory management, data collection, customer experience, theft protection and more. So failing to switch to new POS technology can have serious consequences such as slower transactions, lack of usability, and lost profits. Plus, you could be putting your customer’s data at risk.

Here are five signs that indicate it’s time to update your POS system.

1. Customer Service Suffering

Are you looking to promote creatively? Is your loyalty programming performing the way you want it to? These are questions you should ask yourself. Today’s retailers need customer-centric features such as configurable customer profiles, surveys, omni-channel integration, online order fulfillment at the store and more. If you’re not able to provide the customer experience necessary to keep up you’re your competition, then it’s time to consider updating your POS technology.

2. Omni-Channel Challenges

Do you know your inventory? Consumers are looking for a consistent brand experience, whether they’re shopping online or in stores. They don’t care where an item is in stock, they simply want it—now. It’s no longer acceptable for store associates to be clueless when it comes to real-time inventory. If you’ve got to count and make calls to other stores, send emails, etc. to see what’s in stock, then you’ve got omni-channel challenges.

3. Stuck In One Place

Feel like you need a whole team in place just to run a sidewalk sale? Or perhaps your POS system is clunky, taking up a lot of space and not offering what you need it to anymore. A Mobile POS has endless advantages with regards to enhancing the customer experience, eliminating line-ups and adding extra checkouts when and where they are needed. Take your store outside your brick and mortar business, and rack up on sales at festivals, fairs, or anywhere else you can make money.

Perhaps, mobile doesn’t sound right for you. Also consider this, if your business has a standalone POS system, it’s probably perpetually outdated. If you wait too long to upgrade, the cost to upgrade starts to increase exponentially. An integrated solution, on the other hand, allows for software updates to be pushed through automatically, without requiring new hardware or much effort on your part.

4. Data Deficient

Can you view web and brick and mortar data side-by-side? Can you see a holistic view of your customers? Reporting and analytics can be a challenge with some older POS solutions. Without the right data, how can you make any smart decisions to improve your business growth? If you want to make wise business decisions when it comes to data, consider and upgrade.

5. Stressed Out

Sometimes we can just look at technology benefits and forget about the human sanity benefits when considering and upgrade. Do you have any little quirks with your system? Maybe, the coupon button doesn’t do what it should do. Perhaps, it doesn’t do what you want it to do anymore? Do you have to show employees a loop-hole way around the weird blip in technology? Save yourself time and stress. Update and feel confident that your POS is doing what it should, and what you want it to do to meet ever-increasing technology trends.