The POS as the Shop's Data Portal
Feb. 20, 2020—Point-of-sale systems are getting leaner, faster and more web-based. Two POS providers talk about the evolution of tech that supports their products.
A relatively new player in point-of-sale software is ShiftMobility, which has a suite of software products including the quick lube-focused LubeLite.
LubeLite is marketed as an application ecosystem— like the apps you might download to your phone. But its functionality is similar to the web-based platform, because it can be loaded onto any mobile device, tablet or computer and operate over the internet.
“It’s evolved the automotive shop device choice from these bulky desktop computers to tablets to smartphones,” says Elliott Schendel, director of marketing at ShiftMobility. “We sync them all together so they can quickly move between the front desk and the bay.”
The company also says its first-to-market to utilize blockchain technology to manage things like vehicle and customer information. Blockchain is a digital ledger that stores information among a decentralized network, all of which verify one another’s transactions. Schendel says that blockchain provides a record for vehicle service and preferences that can be shared among shops, as well as vehicle ownership and anything else.
“We’re blockchain-enabled,” he says.” We leverage the one VIN, one vehicle concept. It’s essentially like a fingerprint for each and every vehicle owner out there, including everything from real-time events to transactional data at quick lube shops or repair.”
Theoretically, all those transactions stay with the vehicle and can be accessed from the blockchain by a vehicle owner or any service center.
Sage Microsystems has been in the point-of-sale business and has grown to provide a full suite of shop management products and technology. The company's website boasts more than 1,500 system installations. Answers in this Q and A came courtesy of senior sales account representative Chuck Brewer.
In terms of tech, what advances have been made in the platform of POS systems?
Real-time data is now available from the POS online, allowing shop owners to access critical data and make changes from anywhere. These systems are also providing advanced marketing functions, particularly when it comes to customer follow-up. One such example is the ability to email videos to customers who have declined services. Central office capabilities allow locations to share customer information and purchase history. Finally, the Epicor repair interface gives technicians the ability to order parts online and see labor guides for small repair work.
How has that allowed POS products to grow?
These advances have transformed the quick lube POS system from a mere transactional tool to a true business management and growth system. The POS provides shop owners unprecedented insight into their business, helping them make informed decisions that help them meet their growth potential. Meanwhile, they are achieving efficiencies that further fuel their growth and foster customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Having been early to market with the Mobile Solution, how have you seen that portability evolve in POS and related systems?
It creates a great impression on the customer, presenting the shop as technologically advanced while speeding up the service. Technicians also love it because it eliminates the back and forth from computer to vehicle. The tablets and handhelds are not only used to check cars in but also used to give professional sales presentations, educating customers on what services are due on their vehicles.
What's the newest thing that shop operators expect in a POS system?
Operators expect a modern POS to include:
- Handheld/tablet capabilities
- Invoice and fleet statement emailing
- Vehicle information and specs
- Ease of training and use because turnover is high at these shops
How important are third-party integrations, like Sage's partnership with CarFax?
They are critical. These integrations help ensure that shops are offering the right services and the right time. That not only helps them increase ticket averages but cultivate customer trust and loyalty as well. Our POS also has third-party integrations with marketing and mailing providers, allowing operators to easily send out reminder cards, text messages, customer surveys, etc. We are always looking for ways to offer more value to our customers through these integrations.