When it comes to mobile payments (mPOS), the idea that ‘one-size-fits-all’ is definitely NOT applicable. Having a variety of options prior to implementing payments mobility helps ensure a successful strategy. Where it is true that having too many options can be overwhelming and time-consuming to pull together, for a variety of reasons, it’s actually better to plan properly instead of just taking a pre-packaged, off-the-shelf option.
Certainly, if it were possible to go into a mPOS solutions store, pick up the latest perfect package, and implement it that same day, it’d truly be an amazing thing. However, that isn’t very realistic, and in fact would be disastrous to a proper strategic business implementation.
Things to consider when planning a strategy include:
- Choice of devices (tablet/phone and mPOS)
- Client use/need
There’re a myriad of payment devices available on the market today, of every conceivable shape, size and feature set. Then there’s the device it pairs with to be chosen, and that selection’s equally as diverse. These are the ever-changing lines of Apple iPads and their cousins the Samsung Androids. Other companies like Zebra, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Microsoft also make devices that pair with mobile payment terminals. Lately, smartphones have started to become more and more popular in this arena too.
A complicated set of factors to consider already, but it’s still not all there is; client need plays a significant role. Not every group that wants to use mPOS in their business has exactly the same needs and working conditions as every other, so it’s important to understand the factors an individual business wants to address in implementing mobile payments rather than simply copying and following another company’s same use model exactly.
For a time, and still done in some ways today, the payment device manufacturers themselves tried to make stock solutions to physically pair a tablet with an mPOS device. Ultimately, these proved unpopular and wildly ineffective in light of the two earlier points already spoken of above. There are just too many potential choices to make that work.
Although many of these solutions joined the devices in a nice plastic shell and gave them a clean all-in-one feel, they were highly restrictive in what devices they supported and forced businesses into a narrow channel of use that didn’t necessarily meet the specific operational need. A better solution was proven to be a modular system that makes a solution independent of what payment device is chosen, the tablet or phone selected, and incorporating any other accessories that are needed for effective use.
The bottom line: There’re a lot of variables that need to be considered when putting mobile payments into a business strategy, and no simple solution seems to work. The best course of action is to determine the hardware/software needed and then work with an IT solutions provider or mobility products manufacturer to pull it all together into a usable package formed from modular components.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ergonomics as: an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.
When determining how to pair a tablet/phone and mobile payment device, taking care to ensure that the user can effectively and safely use the device is crucial. This can be accomplished simply by including a comfortable hand strap or similar grip, holster or shoulder strap option, and by balancing the weight of the pairing.
Mobile payments are in most cases used by a single worker over long periods of time. As probably everyone has noticed at some time in their life, holding any device for a long period can be taxing. Not taking the time to find the best, long-use solution will only lead to the need to make changes after roll-out of the technology. This adds cost, downtime to implement, and requires employee buy-in all over again. Making sure ergonomics is a large part of the strategy from early on helps mitigate risk of future complications.
Health safety, especially important in light of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, is also something that must be considered. The above comments about ergonomics play into this somewhat, because without a proper ergonomics setup there can be wrist, hand, and other potential user injuries from prolonged use with a payment mobility scenario.
But there’s also the matter of germs that may accumulate and linger on repeatedly used electronics. A proper plan of cleaning and responsible personal protection can’t be overlooked. mPOS devices are more easily disinfected on the go, positioned to reduce contamination risk, and help limit clustering of customers that reduces social distancing effectiveness.
The bottom line: Don’t scrimp on the ergonomics and comfort of how the devices are used by employees. The overall health and cost benefits of providing an effective use plan that reduces wear and tear on the individual will ultimately make for a more successful mPOS launch, and make it much more sustainable over the long haul.
Let’s be honest, whether you’re a small company in need of a handful of mPOS mobility solutions, or a larger company needing thousands, there’ll be a significant cost to the bottom line to get that going. But, there’re ways to help lower costs up front while also reducing potential future expense.
In line with the modular use of adding ergonomic features and mobile payment devices to tablets, this is also very often the most cost effective way of pairing devices in a payment mobility strategy.
Consider the costs involved in having an all-in-one solution created for a business. Outside of the fact that it’s only a reasonable option for large businesses requiring multiple thousands of units, it will take engineering development, testing, and manufacturing time to get it done as well. This can be an expensive endeavor.
Now, compare that to using a tablet case that is already on the market, a modular hand strap, and mobile payment device sled. All of these items likely already exist, their design, testing and manufacturing complete. Joining those together will give you the all-in-one appearance to meet virtually any combination of devices and meet the most user need through that diversity in a more cost-conscious manner.
In terms of device refresh too, a more modular and versatile solution has significant cost advantages. Consider this example: a company implements 2,000 iPads, with a top of the line payment device, and an ergonomically robust hand strap in a modular fashion. 18 months later, support for the iPads is cancelled and the company needs to replace those devices with another tablet. They now only need to replace the tablets, but not the mPOS sled and hand strap that can be removed from the old and used with the new tablet just as they had before.
If there’d been a custom designed solution in place for that particular tablet, and the new device wasn’t identical in size and features, the custom solution would have to be replaced completely and the full value of the initial investment lost.
The bottom line: There’s no getting around the cost of putting a payment mobility strategy in place. However, it can be reduced significantly by going the modular route while also ensuring a reasonable amount of longevity in how evergreen the solution remains after roll out.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype behind what tablet or phone to use in a payment mobility plan, and the same can be said with the various mPOS devices. These electronic devices are crucial to getting the plan done, surely, but don’t forget the importance of thinking through how these devices will be integrated into the business and the use and cost saving implications. If that’s done, there’s a much greater chance the implementation will end up a rousing success.
-- Beau Keyes, VP of Marketing & Business Development
As experts in mobile payment mobility solutions, we have unique insights into how mPOS can be coordinated in all manner of industries. Reach out to us to learn more!