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Tablets have taken off in the retail and hospitality segments alike and are fast gaining ground as alternatives to traditional POS systems. Need has also arisen for tablet POS enclosures designed to maximize the security of these devices while simultaneously minimizing the impact of heavy use and the potential for irreparable damage. Savvy merchants know that the task of selecting a tablet POS enclosure for their business should be approached with as much care as the process of choosing a tablet device vendor and model. In this eBook, we will explore the six critical questions that must be asked before committing to the purchase of any tablet POS enclosure.
- Is The Tablet POS Enclosure Designed Specifically For My Device?
When it comes to design, all tablets are not created equal. Different tablets feature different configurations. Devices of the same size may not have an identical configuration if they are not offered by the same manufacturer; and even the configuration of two different tablets from a single vendor will likely vary. For this reason, ensure that any tablet POS enclosure you are seriously considering is suitable for use with the exact model of device you have selected to meet your needs.
In addition to “matching” the configuration of your particular tablet, any tablet POS enclosure on your short list of options should be highly durable—manufactured from such materials as high-quality aluminum and polycarbonate ABS. It should also be sufficiently ruggedized for your specific application. For example, a retail or foodservice operation that uses tablets for mobile POS will require a tablet POS enclosure whose components protect the devices in case it is accidentally dropped by a store clerk or server. A restaurant will also need a tablet POS enclosure that withstands high temperatures and resists damage from exposure to spilled liquids, grease, and food debris.
- Does The Manufacturer Offer Custom Solutions To Meet My Specific Needs?
While some retailers and restaurant owners can get the tablet POS enclosures they need right out of the box, you should not be forced to do so if you prefer a custom solution that better addresses your business’ requirements. The POS tablet enclosure manufacturer should, for instance, be willing to create a solution that is of a different thickness than is standard or has more (or atypically placed) notches in the casing. Custom branding—for instance, incorporating the name of your operation on the exterior of the tablet POS enclosure or creating an otherwise private-label solution—should be an option as well.
- Does The Enclosure Come With Or Accommodate Card Readers, Including The Latest EMV Readers?
Card readers are, of course, a critical element of tablet POS, and tablet POS enclosures should either incorporate a card reading component or be designed to accommodate freestanding card reading peripherals. If choosing a tablet POS enclosure with integrated credit card reading capability, ensure that the unit features a large swipe path to ensure a successful card swipe on the first attempt. If opting for a tablet POS enclosure that does not have an integrated credit card reader, check with the vendor to ascertain that the reader you plan to use is compatible with that particular model.
Considering the ever-increasing incidence of data breaches and credit card fraud, it is also a good idea to find out whether any credit card reader that is integrated with a tablet POS enclosure supports point-to-point encryption (P2PE), which protects sensitive data from the point at which credit cards are swiped to its final destination, and is compliant with the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) standard. EMV is a smart chip technology that is becoming the global standard for the processing of credit and debit card payments. EMV-enabled payment instruments—i.e., credit cards, debit cards, and mobile phones—contain embedded microprocessor chips that store and protect cardholder data. The EMV standard has many names worldwide and, as such, is also referred to as “chip-and-PIN” and “chip-and-signature.”
Retailers and restaurant operators are required to deploy POS hardware that can handle chip card transactions. Visa and MasterCard have stated that merchants will be exempt from 100 percent of data compromise penalties only if 95 percent of Visa and MasterCard transactions processed at their establishments originate from EMV-compliant equipment. American Express, in October 2015, transferred liability for certain fraudulent transactions away from whichever entity (merchant, processor, or sub-processor) has implemented the most secure form of EMV technology.
- What Types Of Mounting Options Are Available?
Most, if not all manufacturers have developed several different mounting options for tablet POS devices and their enclosures, including mobile/countertop, and pole/wall-mounted designs. The mounting option you select will depend on how tablet POS devices will be used in your operation.
Countertop mounting configurations work well with tablet devices that are used in nonmobile POS applications, like quick service order taking, retail and any point of purchase environment.
Meanwhile, pole-mounted tablet POS enclosures are an appropriate choice when tablet POS devices are placed where space is limited. These devices serve as the centerpiece of kiosks that allow customers to perform such functions as placing food orders and browsing a retailer’s website to order merchandise that is unavailable at particular location. Pole/wall-mounted tablet POS enclosures can also be integrated into point-of-purchase displays to capture customers’ attention, disseminate promotional messages, and promote foot traffic.
One caveat to keep in mind when considering different options here: choosing a tablet POS enclosure that complies with standards set
by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) enables maximum mounting flexibility.
- What Kind Of Warranty Is Offered?
Tablet POS devices and tablet POS enclosures represent a significant financial investment; both should last for a significant period of time. For this reason, the tablet POS enclosure you select should carry a warranty that is aligned with the material it is constructed from. Aluminum and steel based enclosures should have a lifetime warranty, while plastic products should, at a minimum, have a one year warranty. While it is true that you will likely spend more money on such a product at the outset than you would on a POS tablet enclosure with a subpar warranty or no warranty at all, the additional cost will almost definitely be well-justified in the long run. Without a warranty—or with a warranty that expired while the product had plenty of life left in it—repairs and replacement expenditures can run higher long-term than the cost of a tablet POS enclosure itself.
- Is The Manufacturer Reputable?
Evaluating tablet POS enclosure vendors as thoroughly as your tablet POS devices is essential, as you’ll need a good match to fully leverage your technology investment. Rather than “shoehorning” you into selecting simply any tablet POS enclosure in its product portfolio, a reputable vendor will assign an expert to work with you to match your operation’s tablet POS portfolio to a viable option in its line or, if appropriate, to design a custom product. Such a vendor will also employ sales representatives and in house engineers who can explain how the individual features of the tablet POS enclosure they are designing contribute to the “big picture.” For example, team members will have sufficient knowledge to explain which elements of a highly ruggedized tablet POS enclosure enable it to withstand damage from being dropped onto a hard tile floor—and how this happens.
If a company is unable to do this, you risk the chance that you will end up with a poor tablet POS device/tablet POS enclosure “match”— and multiple headaches ahead.
Another indicator that a tablet enclosure vendor is reputable: it maintains domestic manufacturing facilities instead of producing its wares overseas and shipping them to the U.S. Manufacturing standard and custom-designed tablet POS enclosures on U.S. soil yields vendors tighter control over design, production, and adherence to strict production standards, resulting in higher-caliber products that truly suit their purpose. Similarly, because tablet POS enclosures that are “Made in USA” comprise domestically sourced materials and components, they will last longer than their imported counterparts—thus giving you more bang for your buck.
Tablet POS enclosures are a “must-have” for any retailer or restaurant operator that wants to fully leverage its investment in, and extend the lifecycle of, its tablet POS devices. Obtaining and reviewing the answers to the above six questions will increase the likelihood of a positive tablet POS enclosure purchasing experience.