Business tips

Eight ways a smart terminal can declutter your counter & help safeguard your business.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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When you first decided to open a retail business, you probably never imagined that you would also become an accomplished juggler. Okay, maybe you’re still not a master at throwing and catching six or seven knives or balls simultaneously, but you have likely become adept at skillfully completing multiple tasks at the same time. If you have not already discovered how a smart terminal can be a trusted ally in this endeavor, there is no time like the present to learn more about these resourceful, multi-faceted devices.

What are smart terminals?

Maybe you’re still a bit vague when it comes to what a smart terminal is exactly and the role it can play in your small to mid-sized business. Start by imagining a standard cash register that rings up payments and prints receipts. Add to that a “dumb” credit card terminal that simply accepts plastic payments and communicates information to your payment processing company. Then combine those two with a suite of intelligent features that not only assist in accepting payments but can also streamline your entire business operations. What you now have is a modern device that can truly work wonders for your retail store in a myriad of ways.

1. Easy setup and maintenance.

As a busy entrepreneur, the idea of onboarding new systems can send your anxiety level into the stratosphere. After all, you are already pinching pennies to the max and are likely overwhelmed with more responsibilities than you feel equipped to handle. Piling on complex staff training and maintenance requirements may often seem like more than you can bear.

The good news is that smart terminals are both affordable and easy to set up and use – even for the non-tech-savvy neophyte. Initialization usually takes no more than a few minutes. Maintenance is minimal. Finally, patches and upgrades can be installed via the cloud with little fuss or difficulty.

2. A more efficient use of your space.

Although your smart POS terminal packs a big punch in terms of the benefits it brings to your operations, it can be a compact powerhouse that does not take up a lot of space on the counter. In fact, even smaller smart terminals can function as combination card readers, barcode scanners, and receipt printers, leaving you with extra room and greater efficiency all around. Best of all, you never need to sacrifice your ability to accurately monitor your inventory.

While we are on the subject of space, it is also important to think about your entire physical retail floor as your checkout area. With a wireless smart terminal solution, you no longer need to tether staff to your cash register. Instead, purchases can be completed from anywhere on your property – and even far away from your physical store. Because your terminal is cloud-based and mobile, you are free to take payments from any place at any time, thus freeing up both space and human resources.

Once you incorporate a smart terminal into your checkout, you can also look forward to happier customers and staff. Whether they’re in front of or behind the counter, no one enjoys long lines at the register. Since many of the transactions at your smart terminal will be done using digital wallets and smart credit cards, checkout times should decrease drastically.

It all happens thanks to the near-field communications (NFC) technology contained in your smart terminal’s card reader, as well as your customers’ smartphones and wearable devices. This technology allows a buyer to simply place their phone or smart credit card within an inch or two of your reader to complete their purchases seamlessly, securely, and safely.

3. Efficient inventory management.

Accurately managing your supply of products is one of the biggest headaches that an entrepreneur can experience. Keeping track of what is selling and what is not, inputting and changing product discounts, minimizing human data entry errors, and coordinating the modifying of prices can be a full-time job. Fortunately, smart terminals can take over many of these tasks.

Thanks to their built-in barcode scanners, smart terminals allow you to record the sale of each product as it happens. No longer must you rely on your memory or your staff’s ability to keep track of paper receipts. Instead, the quantities of each item that you have in stock are updated automatically with every purchase. Consequently, re-ordering becomes altogether easier.

4. The ability to offer contactless payments.

Allowing your customers to pay safely has never been more important. With a smart payment device, you can give them several ways to make their purchases without ever coming into direct contact with your readers or employees.

• Accept touchless payments initiated through customers’ digital Samsung, Apple, and Google Pay wallets.

• Process transactions made with “smart” credit cards. As is the case with customers’ smartphones, these contain a chip that interfaces with your reader to securely exchange payment information.

• Take echecks and other alternative forms of payment, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

In addition, your mobile terminal p enables you to accept customers’ payments curbside, in their homes, and so forth. 

5. Run your back office more effectively.

While providing excellent products and customer service needs to be a high priority, your enterprise will fail if it is not being run efficiently behind the scenes. The attention you devote to your back office is, in fact, just as important as what goes on in your retail space or on your website. Fortunately, your smart terminal can become one of your most staunch allies as you strive to operate the best possible retail store.

Achieving optimal success in your business involves keeping careful track of your inventory, employee performance, profits and losses, sales trends, and so much more. With the right smart solution, you can harness the information in your customer and staff databases to monitor sales trends, make forecasts, and adjust to industry changes in real-time. In mere moments, you can quickly take the pulse of a particular worker’s or store’s sales performance over a specific time period, making adjustments as needed. Best of all, you'll be able to make tweaks from anywhere since your terminal will be cloud-based.

6. Reduce paper usage.

While smart terminals are capable of printing paper proofs of purchases, they also allow for a more environmentally friendly digital solution: Electronic receipts that can be instantly emailed to customers. The result is a reduction in paper use as well as better record-keeping for both you and your customers. Consequently, tracking and product returns are far more efficient.

7. Maintain robust digital security.

Although smart terminals facilitate fast and efficient payments, data security is not compromised in the least. Whether customers make their purchases with credit cards or via their digital wallets using a smartphone or wearable device, their information is encrypted before it is transmitted, thus preventing criminals from accessing it. As a result, both shoppers and you as the merchant are protected from the expense and anxiety of a data breach.

Because hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to break into digital defenses, your smart terminal’s cloud-based software is designed to be upgraded as soon as each update is released, thus ensuring that you remain as protected as possible against new and emerging forms of cyberattack. Your system should be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) right out of the box, which gives your business credibility while simultaneously shielding buyers’ sensitive payment data from cybercriminals. 

8. Easily expandable with your growing business.

Unlike equipment of the past that was rigid and performed just one or two functions, today’s more versatile smart terminals are built to help you create efficiencies throughout your business. As your company’s needs and priorities change, your payment solutions should be able to grow right along with you. Instead of needing to frequently replace your system with the latest cutting-edge version, upgrading should be as simple as remotely optimizing your current equipment with the latest updates.

It doesn’t matter what size your business is or what industry you’re in: Bringing a smart POS terminal into your retail model is likely to become one of the best decisions you have ever made. This payments and back-office dynamo can streamline your sales and reporting functions, foster customer satisfaction, and simultaneously provide the gold standard in data security. When you consider all of the advantages it can bring to your retail operations, isn’t it time to take your company to the next level with a smart solution? Doing so is one of the best ways we can think of to become an entrepreneur-juggler of the highest order.