Nobody likes a bargain more than a business owner. The more the company can save on its purchases of equipment and supplies, the higher its potential profit. However, every savvy business person knows that some “bargains” are anything but, especially if the product fails to deliver the functionality and efficiency the operation needs.
That’s why you should be leery when presented with a great deal on a used merchant machine for sale. Considering the fast pace of technological innovation in the POS arena and the equally fast pace of changes in markets and customer preferences, purchasing used POS hardware may in fact be a false economy.
Aspects to Consider When Finding a Used Merchant Machine for Sale
When you’re shopping for any POS system, whether new or used, you start the process by listing the features that match the way your business operates. In addition to supporting sales transactions using a variety of payment methods, the functions you’ll need include inventory management, sales analysis, employee management, invoicing, and customer relationship management.
For a restaurant POS system, mobility becomes a key feature for managers and employees alike. A cloud-based POS solution allows managers to keep track of inventory, sales, and employees while also updating prices, adding daily specials to the menu, and keeping tabs on the kitchen from any location using a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. The same apps can be used to monitor online orders, manage tables in the dining room, and change employee permissions on the fly for payment overrides, placing orders to replenish inventory, and applying one-time discounts.
Any used merchant machine for sale will likely lack some of the functionality offered in newer off-the-shelf POS hardware. The old devices may lack the scalability and upgradability that allows your POS system to grow along with your business. Today’s cloud-based POS systems provide two features in particular that traditional closed-box solutions lack:
- Support for open application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow the business to add new functions, including deliveries, integrated online ordering, and contactless payments, via plug-in modules.
- Access to new markets and more customers by running the company’s custom application on smartphones, tablets, and self-service kiosks, as well as the added convenience for customers who increasingly prefer to help themselves.
Why a Used Merchant Machine May Not Be the POS Bargain It Appears to Be
There are many reasons why companies are embracing the reuse-repurpose-recycle philosophy, not the least of which is to reduce the business’s environmental impact. While there can be tremendous benefits to choosing used POS equipment beyond saving on the cost of new hardware, the number-one consideration when making any business purchase is ensuring the product will help boost the company’s bottom line.
When evaluating the potential of a merchant machine to make your business more profitable overall, these four characteristics are most likely to affect your decision:
- The operating system: Any hardware, including merchant machines for sale, needs to have up-to-date software to avoid creating a potentially serious security hole in your POS system. The software may also lack support for vital features, such as the ability to integrate online and in-person sales and to access the system remotely.
- The POS application: No two businesses are identical, which means the features available in the used POS equipment won’t be the ideal match for the way your company operates. Any software embedded in the merchant machine will have to be reconfigured to match your inventory, payment processor, and other unique needs.
- Maintenance and repair: POS hardware is constantly being upgraded to offer new features and improve ease of use. New POS equipment also has a smaller footprint and tends to be more aesthetically pleasing. But the primary concern about any old hardware is the cost and effort required to maintain and repair it. Vendor support may be limited or non-existent, and finding replacement parts and driver updates could be nearly impossible.
- Payment processing: There have been a great number of changes in the way customers pay for products and services in recent years. An old merchant machine may not support contactless payment methods such as Near Field Communication (NFC) chips embedded in credit cards and digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
POS Hardware Selection for Today and Tomorrow
One long-term effect of the restrictions placed on businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the steep increase in customer expectations. Whatever POS hardware your business chooses has to be ready to adapt to rapidly changing markets and business environments. In assessing the capabilities of POS hardware, these five considerations are paramount:
- Is the hardware supported by your POS software provider and payment processing service?
- Can the hardware be updated or enhanced to support new POS features and technologies as they become available?
- Is the merchant machine compatible with your existing POS infrastructure and your current business processes?
- Does the POS device include more bells and whistles than your operation requires? Are you paying for outdated functions or for more features than you’ll need?
- Is this product the most rewarding to your business in the short term and the long term? Or would the money be better spent on a POS solution that will move the company closer to its long-term goals?
The desire for short-term savings often leads a business to long-term pain. Rather than jump at any apparent opportunity to save a few dollars on a used merchant machine for sale or other POS hardware bargain, ensure that every technology investment your business makes is part of your long-term strategy for success. If the device supports the POS features you need, if it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems and processes, and if it’s a good fit for your future plans, the purchase may make sense. But that’s a lot of “ifs.”
When you partner with talech for your POS technology needs, we devote our time to identify your business challenges. We use this information to work with you to apply an innovative POS solution that levels the playing field. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.
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