Not long ago, Point of Sale (POS) technology deployments were extremely cumbersome and cost prohibitive projects that retail IT managers loathed. However, advancements in retail network cabling coupled with sophisticated network infrastructure make POS rollouts a walk in the park compared to just a few short years ago. With that being said, a successful technology rollout still offers some logistical challenges that require detailed attention.
Here are four tips that will ensure a successful retail POS rollout:
- Vendor Selection: A critical aspect of any rollout, especially for a specialized point of sale deployment, is to partner with a vendor who has expertise designing, procuring, and implementing POS technology and the associated network infrastructure (including the structured cabling). Ask questions to validate the vendor has specific experience in retail technology deployments, such as how they mitigate downtime during a “cut-over.” Another good question to ask is whether or not certified project managers will be leading the project. Make sure industry experts are driving your POS rollout to ensure the project stays on time and on budget.
- Technology Rollout: Another important tip when deploying a POS rollout is to ensure your vendor can support a full rollout across multiple geographies. If you have several locations spanning multiple states or even countries, your vendor should have the reach or at least the strategic partnerships to pull it off seamlessly. They also need to have sufficient breadth and depth (scalability of resources) to handle multiple site surveys, installations, etc. all at one time. Managing multi-site technology rollouts properly is not for the faint of heart. The last thing your company needs is to be surprised by any cost overruns associated with having to supplement what the vendor cannot do.
- Ability to handle moves, adds, and changes: After the initial POS implementation, you will undoubtedly need to address changing conditions. For example, you find that a register belongs in a more conducive location. Or you need to add a self-service payment terminal. Or perhaps you are remodeling or expanding a store. Your business adapts to changing market conditions and other factors, so your POS rollout provider needs to be able to address any device or network cabling moves or changes quickly and with no or minimal service disruption. You don’t want unforeseen issues to turn into larger problems that may cause delays or add unnecessary costs to the business.
- Testing and inspection: Make sure that you have the necessary support on-hand prior to cut-over to eliminate any issues before you “go live.” You want to perform rigorous testing to ensure all possible outcomes are accounted for. Your network infrastructure and POS rollout provider should be a collaborative partner throughout the process … if they are truly adding value and focused on your complete satisfaction based on solid, measurable, positive results for your business.
As you read through this list of tips, you undoubtedly realized that careful selection of a qualified vendor is of the upmost importance. An experienced vendor will provide the coordination of managed tasks necessary to perform a seamless retail technology rollout – from design and procurement to implementation and support, and everything in between.
If you are thinking about a POS rollout, or any kind of structured cabling project in the retail industry, or have some experiences to share, please include your comments here.