As COVID-19 Challenges Retail, Can Point of Sale Technology Clean Up?

As COVID-19 Challenges Retail, Can Point of Sale Technology Clean Up?

As public places including non-essential shops begin to re-open globally, a technological revolution has quietly taken over the traditional marketplace. Enabled by rapid advances in wireless data and spurred on by a move away from cash payments by consumers, Point of Sale (POS) technology has emerged as a major global industry. With this sector forecasted to be worth over $125B annually by 2027, we can expect manufacturers in this field to continue to expand and innovate.

The fastest growing segment in this market is expected to be the handsets and terminals used by superstores, restaurants and sole traders alike. These mobile terminals have a host of benefits over older, bulkier form factors, offering users portability, flexibility and the option to process payments anywhere there’s mobile data.

But this flexibility also comes with an increased vulnerability to wear and tear and environmental damage. If these systems are exposed to humid environments or wet conditions, there is a significant risk of failure of the device.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought some of these challenges to the forefront. Not only is there a greater demand for payments to be taken outside, but devices now need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected after handling, increasing the chance of liquid ingress and damage to electronics.

The failure of POS devices from these kinds of liquid damage is expensive. A failed POS terminal can incur costs to the manufacturer/service provider several times over:

  • Since POS systems are often sold as part of a comprehensive service where providers take a small cut of all transactions, they begin losing revenue as soon as a device fails.
  • Providers may sell their devices and services with a guarantee that faulty terminals will be repaired or replaced. As well as the obvious repair or replacement costs, there are also administrative and handling costs for the return of the faulty device.
  • Customers frustrated with unreliable hardware are likely to switch to service providers they feel are more dependable, costing companies revenue and damaging brand reputation.

These pain points for the provider are felt all across the POS customer base, regardless of scale. Customers with large numbers of POS terminals that see a high failure rate in its payment devices will quickly move on to a POS service provider they view as more reliable, costing the original provider a substantial loss in revenue. And although the loss of revenue from the churn of a dissatisfied sole trader will be less impactful for the POS provider, in an era where brand reputations can be destroyed in a single tweet, the reputational damage caused by an unreliable device should not be underestimated.

This is why we are using our P2i technology to protect POS terminals. Our plasma nano-coating technology bonds a microscopically thin polymer layer directly to the entire surface of electronic components, protecting them from liquid and corrosion damage. Unlike other water protection methods, such as crack-prone conformal coatings or mechanical seals and gaskets, nano-coatings don’t add weight or bulk to the POS terminal, provide continual protection to a treated device’s electronic components for the lifetime of the product, and the protection isn’t compromised when the outer body of a POS terminal is knocked or damaged. Moreover, P2i’s solution is also proven to show no deterioration in levels of protection following rigorous testing with isopropanol; also known as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), commonly used as an antiseptic or disinfectant; meaning manufacturers and customers can be confident that they can properly clean their POS terminals without risk of damaging the device.

With COVID-19 transforming retail and accelerating adoption of new technology, P2i is working with manufacturers to ensure their hardware is reliable and ready to meet the challenges of a new era of payment technology.

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