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There's a lot to keep up with in the fast-changing space of point-of-sale. We asked three industry experts—a retailer, a retail consultant and a business solutions expert—for their insights regarding what you should know.

Melaina Juntti

March 21, 2015

4 Min Read
Weigh In: What should retailers know about new payment options and services?

Technology is transforming retail at a lightning pace, especially when it comes to the point of sale. The shiny new POS system you bought just a few years ago may already seem ancient, as tablets are now replacing credit card terminals, new technologies like Apple Pay are coming on strong and consumers increasingly expect to pay for purchases with their smartphones. There’s a lot to keep track of in this fast-changing space, making it tough to know which, if any, upgrades you should make to keep your business current and your customers happy. Here, a store owner who’s shopping for a new system, a retail consultant and a business solutions expert each share a few nuggets they think you should know.

Retail Consultant

You may already have NFC. If you have installed a POS in the last five years, you most likely already have a near field communication pad. Near field communication is just a way of communicating between devices such as smartphones. You don’t have to enable it, but it makes transactions easier. The system integrates directly into banking and credit card systems, but there’s no paper to sign. 


Consider PayPal. PayPal is essentially another credit system that is becoming more widespread. The retailer does have to set up an account with PayPal, but the company generally underwrites installations of their pads. This will probably be treated as just another routing system by the end of the year. 


Check out Apple Pay. The key variable everyone is watching now is Apple Pay. If you put the word Apple on it, people will buy it. Now it’s just a matter of wider adoption, because right now it’s only available to shoppers who have iPhones. If you already have the wiring for near field communication, you should be able to enable Apple Pay. By all means, go for it. Technically speaking, it’s very elegant, and in terms of security, it’s as good as anything on market. 



–David Marcotte, 

senior vice president of retail insights at Kantar Retail  



Systems have gotten cheaper. I’ve found that they’ve become more affordable. Even just three years ago, for all of the hardware, software, maintenance, etc., we would’ve been looking at $14,000 to $25,000. But now you can start on Square, for example, for about $1,000. Shopify is very reasonable too. Instead of investing upfront, you pay a much smaller amount monthly. 


They’ve become very user-friendly too. These newer systems are second nature to much of my staff, who are younger and very accustomed to iPads and smartphones. They also appeal to shoppers, who’ve come to expect them when making purchases. Or they at least want to be able to hold onto their credit card rather than handing it over to a person to swipe. They don’t want printed receipts either. 


Can it cover all the bases? I’m looking to find something where everything is integrated—the POS has to work with Quickbooks, with my ordering portal and so on. So when you’re shopping for a new system, make a list of all your needs and ask tons of questions to make sure they can be met. For instance, can inventory be shared between systems if you have two separate locations? 



–Laura Sheehan, 

owner of Full Circle Market Health Foods in Winchester, Kentucky


Business Solutions Expert

Look for an all-in-one solution. We’ve heard from many businesses that they are looking for a system that allows them to handle all parts of their business operation. These business owners have ripped out old point-of-sale terminals and switched to Square Register because it can handle everything from inventory management and sales analytics to credit card acceptance with or without an Internet connection, helping them grow sales in a single, smart app. 


Chip cards are coming. Many banks have already started issuing chip cards with the intention that every U.S. customer will make the switch by October. As this shift happens, businesses can rely on Square’s tools including a new EMV chip card reader that takes care of their needs. 


Prepare for new and changing payment trends. Every business is different, but we know how important it is for business owners to accept any form of payment they see come across the counter. That’s why we’re building new business tools for sellers to increase sales and prepare for new payment trends like EMV and Apple Pay.



–Alex Rafter, 

spokesperson for Square  


About the Author(s)

Melaina Juntti

Melaina Juntti is a longtime freelance journalist, copy editor and marketing professional. With nearly two decades of experience in the natural products industry, she is a frequent contributor to Nutrition Business Journal, Natural Foods Merchandiser and Melaina is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and is passionate about hiking, camping, fishing and live music. 

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