Point of Sale Systems Help Conquer Fear of Computers
Symptoms can range from simply avoiding them, to physical stress, paranoia and a feeling of doom. For entrepreneurs looking to start or build a business, a comprehensive point of sale (POS) system and dynamic digital management solution can alleviate a fear of computers and is practically a necessity for success.
Paranoia by the Numbers
As of December, Internet World Stats show that over half (54.4% or approximately 4.2 billion) of humans utilize the internet at either home or work. In North America, 95% of us peruse the Worldwide Web for either business or pleasure.
Those numbers make some of these cyberphobic small business statistics seem almost incomprehensible.
Yodle, a business marketing firm says:
While some of these numbers can be chalked up to procrastination or expense, some it is just plain old fear of computers and the world in which they operate. A Gallup poll a few years ago showed that Americans are more worried about having their financial information hacked (62%) than they are about having their home burglarized (45%), being a victim of terrorism (28%) or even murdered (18%). Emphasizing the cyberphobia, the second most feared crime (62%) is having a computer or smartphone hacked. Those numbers have waned in recent years, but the fear of computers and cybercrime remain significant.
The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself
As humankind relies more and more on computerization and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is coming with it – a recent Gallup poll shows as many as 85% of American consumers use AI-powered devices or services – a new level of cyberphobia is being established. Elon Musk, chief executive officer of automobile manufacturer and energy company Tesla and SpaceX, has been decrying AI as humanity’s biggest threat for years.
“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So, we need to be very careful,” Musk said at an MIT symposium in 2014. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”
Oddly, this is the same man who more recently has proposed creating a working interface between computers and the human brain. His premise is that people already enhance their intelligence with smartphone technology – internet searches. So why not create a direct flow from the internet to the brain?
Putting POS to Work
Those fears aside, one of the first steps for merchants in getting over a fear of computers is understanding what they can and can’t do for a business. According to PointofSale.com, a news and information source for retailers,
Computers and a dynamic point of sale system can:
Replace the cash register.
Track customer sales.
Computers don’t run themselves
Immediately reduce workload
Fix a poorly run business
A dynamic digital solution and point of sale system can transform any retail business. It just has to be a good fit.
“It has been a phenomenal opportunity to make us more organized,” says Wanda McCullers, who, along with husband Clint, owns Farmers Feed Service, Inc. in Wetumpka, Alabama. Their incorporation of a Paladin Data Corporation digital solution and a point of sale system moved their company from the dark ages of hand-written receipts and manual inventory counts to a 21st Century automated business management system “Over the years when we’ve had opportunities to grow, we weren’t organized which really hampered our ability to grow. Another disadvantage to that manual inventory process is throughout the year we had no idea where our business stood. Can I hire another employee? Can we buy this piece of equipment that we need? I had no clue.”
Wanda says the Paladin system answered all those questions and provided the digital solutions and knowledge that gives them a firm handle on all aspects of their business.
Business.com says a good point of sale system should provide:
Jean Iennaco, director of operations for Over the Top Cake Supplies in San Antonio, Texas, tells Business.com: “We have four locations. I can be anywhere and help them out if there are issues. For example, I can check on locations by going into reporting and offering advice on ways to increase sales for the month. It’s user-friendly and convenient for having multiple locations.”
“We needed a computer system. We needed a point of sale. Because the inventory is such an important component of that financial statement, if you don’t have a current inventory total it’s nearly impossible to make business decisions. You’re really going on the fly,” McCullers says, explaining why she and Clint chose a Paladin point of sale system. “We appreciate the flexibility of this system and the difference it has made for our customers as well as our employees.
“Some of our employees were terrified of computers. Once we got this system, some of them got home computers and internet service and now they use them at home. So, this has been a great opportunity for growth for our employees as well.”
“One of my employees swore he would never operate a computer. He now teaches me how to do point of sale transactions,” says Lance Cox, owner of Coos Curry Supply on the southern Oregon Coast.
Through mobile technology and geofencing capabilities, merchants can identify shoppers outside their stores and send them targeted marketing messages to smartphones to get them to come in. Once inside the stores, rewards program customers can receive special discounts and product information messages on their mobile phones through Bluetooth beacons.
Putting a Fear of Computers to Rest
For all the electronic magic point of sale systems and their fancy integrations perform, their foundation is built on collecting customer data and using it to help merchants smooth their operations and growth their businesses. This data, which experts now consider as valuable as any retail asset, includes customer names, purchase frequency and payment history, demographic and contact information, and more.
All this information is distilled, refined and used to automate business processes, fuel customer loyalty programs, and create new marketing campaigns. For merchants interested in streamlining operations and growing their businesses, fear of computers is nothing to be afraid of at all.