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What's the Point of Point-of-Sale Systems?

23 July 2018 | Blog Posts

This column was originally featured in the July 2018 issue of RePlay Magazine.

Photo of a arcade playcard being swiped on a game

Payment technology and systems have come long way from the coins and tokens of the past. The introduction of mobile payment, swipe and tap technologies have provided FEC owners and operators with loads of added benefits and allow for a wealth of information to be available virtually at their fingertips. But with a variety of providers and possibilities, you might be asking yourself, “Where do I even begin?”

Photo of article authorIt can seem intimidating when you set out to invest in the latest technology or change from the way you’ve always done things to a new and unfamiliar process. While there will be an initial cost to convert your games from accepting cash or tokens to a card system, the benefits tend to offset the cost. In addition to having easy access to reports and record keeping, I believe you’ll be able to recover your investment through labor savings and improved customer satisfaction. And with the elimination of physical tickets, gone are the hassles that came with having to deal with them – like the down time during ticket refills and counts. The wait times are also reduced, making both your staff and guests happy.

Here are what I see as the top point-of-sale system benefits:

  • Operational efficiencies – POS systems can be used to operate your entire facility from arcade games, parties, food service, rides and attractions access, line game payment and even reward programs

  • Track hourly sales data to better understand scheduling and labor requirements

  • Determine the most popular games and the highest earners

  • View game earnings by various categories

  • Inventory tracking

  • Manage and track the cost of prizes redeemed and cost per ticket issued

  • Help you understand the payout percentage of each game

So where to start. First, you should ask yourself, what you want your POS system to do. Will it be used to operate your entire facility or just a part of it? Do you have redemption games? Will it be automated or will it be staffed? Do you currently (or plan to) operate more than one location?

Photo of games in an arcadeOnce you’ve decided how you’ll use your POS system, you should define your customer journey to determine where all the touchpoints will be with your guests.

Next things to consider are timeline and budget. When do you need your new system in place? My advice is to create a 90-day work-back plan. Schedule at least six to eight weeks for hardware requirements and ordering to be on the safe side. And don’t forget to plan for adequate time at the site for installation and training.

Last but not least, after you’ve implemented your new system and procedures, take advantage of the data that’s available by constantly monitoring the analytics and operations reports. With card data, you’ll get access to detailed sales, games and merchandise information which will help you make smart business decisions powered by data.

Michael MacDonald has almost 20 years of experience in the amusement industry, and his passion lies in bringing exceptional entertainment experiences to life for consumers within the FEC space. He has opened over 30 FEC locations and has managed all aspects, including design and construction, merchandising and consultation, purchasing POS/debit card systems, and operations.

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