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- The platinum rule
Gold standards are undoubtedly prestigious, but there is a way to go beyond Applying a lens of empathy for customers puts transactions in a new light Idealistic though it may seem, there are concrete ways to put this theory into practice At Element, we’re committed to empowering your business to deliver top-tier service Since time immemorial, precious metals have been used as indicators of value, success and victory. From jewellery to record sales, a relatively recent development on this theme is the idea that platinum represents an even more desirable prize than gold. So it follows that a principle known as the ‘platinum rule’ is something you may consider worthy of implementing. One person discussing this platinum rule is John Foley, a Blue Angels pilot, bestselling author and leadership speaker who has been described as “the greatest keynote on the planet”. In a reel posted earlier this year, John reflected on a conversation he’d had regarding sales training, and one subject in particular resonated with him. The golden rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated yourself is an age-old truism most of us are familiar with. But the ‘platinum rule’ that John quoted was all about treating others the way they want to be treated. Tune in to client wishes Shifting the perspective to a platinum model might be relatively straightforward in some aspects of sales. When it comes to a retail store, however, you might wonder how it’s possible to achieve this level of empathy. Clienteling is a one effective way to treat people to a personalised pop of luxury, so the right hardware and software to facilitate this is essential. Experienced sales staff will naturally intuit how the customer wishes to be treated, and some stores also have colour-coded shopping baskets to help facilitate interpreting a client’s desires. Evolving to platinum What about when the retailer is the customer? Element’s pillars of design, quality and purpose are not static properties — they are continually evolving. Evaluating market forces such as the increased cost of living, interest rate rises and so on, as well as our industry experience, gives us clues about what our partners will appreciate. Among the conclusions we are drawing is the notion that people are not currently looking for complex, technical, high-cost hardware. Instead, we are hearing calls for good value, good products and good pricing. For this reason, in the lead-up to Christmas, we have a whole raft of specials that can help retailers seeking dependable technology replacements at the right value. And these solutions will enable your business to continue delivering platinum-level service right through the transaction process. Make the last mile gleam When we think about how a customer would like their transaction to unfold, our attention will naturally encompass key peripherals. Depending on what products you have available, will a fixed barcode scanner be convenient to use, or is a portable one a better option? Applying the platinum rule means putting the right scanner in the right place, at the right value. Element’s range of 2D scanners can be positioned in a fixed location, but also fit in the palm of your hand, allowing you to bring the checkout to the product as required. The humble receipt printer is another item that can be a make-or-break cornerstone of the customer experience, for those who need a hardcopy record of their purchase. Maximise your ability to deliver effortless throughput by choosing a unit that will handle kilometres of receipts before the print head is even close to conking out. Because if there’s one thing you can be sure that someone who already loves your store doesn't want, it’s the hassle of being delayed at the checkout due to equipment failure. Contact Element to discover what deals we can offer across various ranges, providing value products at a crucial time and helping to make your business a shining example of ‘getting it right’.
- Joint effort
Elevate your technology ecosystems with seamlessly integrated onboard features Subtle additions can equip healthcare terminals for exceptional EMR management A hybrid POS that can transform into a tablet offers remarkable versatility Element can empower your brand to shine through an integral technology experience We’ve already talked about the power of peripherals, and how the lead players of a technology ecosystem are nothing without a first-rate supporting cast. Regardless of whether the vertical is POS, healthcare, hospitality or industrial, the greatest gains in workflow efficiency are attained through the ingenious integration of peripherals and other key hardware features. Healthy interest At first glance, retail and healthcare might seem worlds apart, unless you’re in a shopping centre like Chadstone. But when viewed through the lens of technology, notable parallels soon become apparent. Think of a medical practitioner as a service provider, and a patient or recipient of care as the customer. Psychologists and counsellors overtly refer to the people they work with as ‘clients’, while in a more general mental health setting, people requiring services are frequently called ‘consumers’. So how can workflow be economised to support the healing process, minimising the disruption to the patient’s life? Integrating subtle but powerful features into an AIO (all-in-one) touchscreen terminal such as the Element K959 can make a huge difference when working with the inescapable medical reality of EMR (electronic medical record). Something as simple as a single sign-on function thanks to an integrated RFID reader makes it effortless for nursing staff to log in to a terminal, and an in-built LED work light offers tightly focused illumination where it’s needed, minimising disturbance to sleeping patients. When the patient is on the move and the terminal needs to roll with them, the onboard power supply can simply be disconnected from the wall and the unit switches to its hot-swappable battery system. And side-mounted orientation of the battery bay means gravity can’t work against you. These small differences may not have conspicuous effects at the conscious level - however, in concert, they serve to reduce the stress points in an environment that is inevitably fraught with worry. Hybrid theory When is a tablet not just a tablet? When it can be instantly transformed into a freestanding POS, loaded with optional peripherals. These are too diverse to list here, but they’re perfect for ‘clienteling’ -- the art of building meaningful relationships with customers, that can be transfrerred to other individuals within the sales team. It’s a popular choice for concept stores, since staff can close a sale directly from the unit. The modern, ergonomic docking station features a magnetic lock and rotating ball joint so the tablet can be viewed from a variety of angles. Plus, the docking station offers extra comm ports, LAN, USB ports and even cash drawer points -- all integrated into the base of the unit. Interaction by stealth It’s not enough just to spruik the value of integration: choosing the right products means understanding where and how they are going to be used, then qualifying them correctly. Ultimately, the whole point is to make the hardware and software disappear, and allow the engagement with your brand to take centre stage. Hardware that is effectively ‘invisible’ will often nevertheless create a subliminal impression of your business space as a whole being sleek, modern and beautiful. And while customers should hardly notice the POS itself, they should remember their transaction as being smooth and pleasant. Let Element help you map the right staff experience with the customer journey to ensure the best possible outcome for your business.
- Honour thy customers
Enhance your retail space with technology that makes people want to use it It is imperative that retailers see consumers as more than just walking meal tickets Creating a rich, rewarding customer experience is central to the success of your brand The Element Duet is a great example of how design and inspiration can intersect Have you noticed anything special about those individuals who have chosen to give you their time and attention by visiting your business environment in the real world? They care enough, or are curious enough, about what you offer, to bless you with a moment of their consciousness. Your customers aren’t just walking transactions -- while it’s true that their purchase decisions drive your livelihood, they have so much more to offer than simply being your meal ticket. What are you going to give them in return? Sure, they have come to you for specific goods or services. But the way they feel when they interact with your staff and your technology is a delicate fourth dimension to their retail experience, and it’s imperative that you make the most of that opportunity to acknowledge how valuable they are to you. Make those precious seconds count Kayleigh Fazan is a top influencer in the field of future-proofing customer experiences, who creates incisive and valuable content advising businesses on how to thrive in a post-COVID world. Now the floodgates have been opened and physical stores are an option rather than a necessity, we need to rethink many of the time-worn practices traditionally associated with retail. In a recent vlog reel she posted on LinkedIn, Kayleigh made the poignant observation that when a person comes into your retail space, they are giving you a “golden ticket” to “engage, inspire and educate” them. When someone visits a physical store, they are in effect voting with their feet, which provides you with an opportunity to enrich their lives through inspiring, engaging and educating them. Option paralysis That’s not to say you need to be all over every visitor like a skin condition. Innisfree -- a Korean beauty chain with outlets in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan -- offers customers the ingenious option of choosing colour-coded shopping baskets to indicate whether they want to be approached by staff, or they’re happy just browsing independently. But whether you use a brilliantly expedient method like this or simply train your staff to read the people walking into your store, it is vital that you make the most of those precious seconds. Even if your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread, you may never get a second chance to make a lasting impression. Attention scan It can be frustrating for customers to pass an item over a wave-and-weigh surface and it doesn’t scan. With products such as the Element Duet, we’ve tried to overcome this annoyance by developing a product from the ground up that has a remarkably sensitive scan engine. It can be positioned on a countertop or easily fit in your hand, with a 2D scanner that can pick up and read the smallest of barcodes, such as those found on small pharmacy labels. But the real kicker is the ability to digitally interact on single device with your customer through a second barcode scanner on the customer-facing side. Obviously this saves money, because you do not need to buy two scanning devices for individual tasks. More importantly, it creates a unique customer experience, and expedites the transaction -- and by doing so, it shows your customers that you care about their time and don’t want to hold them up. This makes the Element Duet a quintessential example of how our ethos of design, quality and purpose intersects with Kayleigh’s vision of a 4D consumer experience that is ‘engaging, inspiring and educating’. We are always committed to moving forward, embracing the cutting edge of the cresting wave and mixing metaphors while we’re at it. And when all is said and done, a win for your customers is a win for your business.
- Beauty is more than skin deep
In a retail vertical that thrives on visual appeal, form itself has a function Like it or not, the appearance of a product has a powerful influence on its success In the world of fashion, it is crucial to cater for people who have keen aesthetic taste Form needs the support of function to be truly effective, and the EV770 delivers both If the way things look had no bearing on our feelings about value, interior decorators would be out of a job. To be sure, there is much more to life than aesthetics, but the reality is that everyone judges a book by its cover -- so it is imperative for the physical appearance of your transactional hardware to be up to speed with the ambition level of your business. Think about the success of Apple as a brand. Without diminishing the relevance of the work that’s gone into making Macs and iPhones intuitive and easy to use, the pristine design of this company’s products has sparked love at first sight for customers worldwide. Apple appreciates the importance of the vehicle to the service that arrives in it, and the company’s skill in capitalising on brand identity is literally a textbook example. As in, business studies students in Australian high schools are taught about Apple as a case study in “doing it right”. Beauty: in the ‘i’ of the beholder We don’t have to prefix product names with the letter ‘i’ as Apple does to harness the same principles -- we simply need to be motivated by a similar ethos of putting the customer journey at the heart of everything we do. And when it comes to retail, that ethos is particularly visible in the fashion industry. As with fine art, this vertical is all about pleasing the eye. Customers have a well-developed appreciation of what looks good, and shopping needs to be more than just the utilitarian acquisition of necessities: it is a whole experience. A fashion retail business routinely invests in fitting out their premises for irresistible glamour. Experts are hired to ensure the interior of the store will attract customers and make them feel like celebrities while they are browsing. This experience reaches a satisfying conclusion at the point of sale, and this is where the Element EV770 really comes into its own, combining transactional power with a sculptural, premium appearance. A passion for fashion The purchase process when staff are folding and bagging clothes is part of the experience customers expect, and they visit high-end retailers to enjoy this service. For this reason, fashion retailers often want a POS device that can be folded completely flat and positioned underneath the glass of a benchtop: the EV770 can do that, straight out of the box. Other retailers may prefer to show off the sophisticated and stylish lines of the AIO (all-in-one) version of this unit, but don’t want a tangle of cords in the line of sight. Thanks to intelligent cable management options, the EV770 can achieve such a look impeccably. Retailers who want a thin, tablet-like touchscreen visible while keeping the box PC under the counter can still use same hardware running the same standard operating environment. The EV770’s monitor component has a depth of just 9mm, giving it a slimline appeal to align with other accents of the instore space. Meanwhile, Element can provide peripherals such as the cash drawer and receipt printer which can be hidden under the benchtop as well, making everything sleek and streamlined. Smooth operator In the words of brand icon and filmmaker Saul Bass, “Design is thinking made visible.” For a fashion retailer, the way point of sale hardware is visually presented has a direct influence on the success of the business as a whole. It must seamlessly match the decor of the space -- an incongruous lump of IT would be an embarrassment to the meticulously crafted look of the entire store. But just as important is the assurance that this unit has the processing capability and headroom for considerable evolution into the future -- thanks to its modularity, which enables agile updates. To facilitate maintenance and management, the EV770’s platform architecture is consistent across the entire Evolution series, which encompasses a variety of peripherals in addition to the core components. Like a prestige automobile, the symphony of power and elegance that the EV770 represents can elevate transactions to a sublime customer experience. An effortless, unimpeded sale at the conclusion of a fashion journey is just as important as inspiring shoppers with a dazzling retail environment. And thanks to the EV770, you can ensure that the final moments before leaving your store will create a lasting impression. Contact Element to discover how this unique marriage of versatility, form and function can give your business a competitive edge. We draw upon a wealth of industry knowledge to qualify the precise parameters required to deliver a bespoke technology solution that is the perfect equilibrium of cost, efficiency and longevity.
- Thinking made visible
We celebrate the triumphs and tribulations of developing a revolutionary product When design meets purpose, quality is the dependable outcome The Element EV770 represents a remarkable breadth of industry experience Innovation is never easy, but the result for our partners is worth the effort A new era is dawning on the retail landscape with the launch of our flagship POS terminal, the EV770. Designed from the ground up by Element, this unit is set to revolutionise the transactional power of your business. It is the culmination of our combined experience, collaboration with our partners, and our understanding of the complex and interconnecting factors that influence the industry. Saul Bass, a groundbreaking filmmaker and graphic designer, described design as “thinking made visible”, and this epitomises how we approached creating the Evolution series. The features and capabilities we have integrated into this platform make it a uniquely versatile, powerful and aesthetically elegant apex of retail technology. A wealth of experience We wouldn’t presume to suggest that the EV770 is the solution for every retail scenario. Nor does this achievement mean we are going to stop evolving, improving, innovating. However, we’ve strived to incorporate all the recurring motifs that we know to be inherent to so many different verticals -- from hospitality to retail to QSR (quick-service restaurants). We’ve worked to amalgamate multiple environmental requirements into a single platform that can be effortlessly rebuilt, rearranged and reconfigured for a remarkable variety of use cases. One example is the intelligent cable management that allows connectivity straight through the counter beneath the unit, perfect for a fashion retailer that wants the illusion of a zero-cable box. Another is the customisable logo panel with LED illumination that can be set to any colour. The industry experience we bring to this design is an alloy of our strengths and our successes, but also the flaws we’ve overcome and the lessons we’ve learned from mistakes we’ve made. The EV770 is not just one person’s brainchild -- it is the realisation of a collaborative journey, weaving gold and silicon threads of wisdom from partners, customers, technical experts and other stakeholders, into a unified vision. Longevity and return on investment Like the POS equivalent of Lego, the Evolution series includes core platform modules of an ultra-slim, tablet-like touch display, a box PC and a double-hinged base platform. It can be pole-mounted, configured as a distributed system, all-in-one (AIO) POS, or function as a panel PC -- to name just a few. Diverse peripheral options expand its capabilities even further. The key to the EV770’s versatility is its standard operating environment, which remains consistent across all form factors. Regardless of whether it is deployed as a distributed unit for a grocery POS terminal or utilised as a panel PC for digital signage, the same image and the same architecture can be used in all instances. Its modular format also streamlines serviceability -- vital for a retailer, which relies on its point of sale as the cornerstone of trade. Since individual components can be upgraded or serviced swiftly and efficiently, downtime and shipping costs are both minimised. This empowers your business to operate a fleet of cutting-edge devices at a reduced cost of ownership over the life cycle of the product -- meaning a better return on your investment. The vision and the execution Channelling the experience of so many contributors has been a challenging but rewarding labour of love. It’s impossible to please everyone -- often, the needs of one business are in direct contrast with the needs of another. But by the same token, there are clear trends and patterns that have emerged throughout our work in the industry. And our deep and robust understanding of the retail world allowed us to identify and harness these themes of similarity. Carving a path of innovation into uncharted territory always necessitates effort, persistence and negotiation. Many of the distinguishing features of this terminal had never been road-tested, even by manufacturing giants well-versed in producing POS hardware for other brands. It took a lot of justification to explain why we needed these pivotal points of differentiation -- they were the features that met critical requirements of our partners and customers. In many cases, these needs had never been directly and comprehensively addressed before, giving the EV770 a purpose-designed edge unlike anything before it. Ultimately, the result is a product line that embodies the best of what Element has to offer: an unprecedented manifestation of design, quality and purpose. We invite you to discover for yourself what a wealth of new horizons the Evolution series can open up for your business.
- The power of peripherals
A first-rate supporting cast is essential to the central players’ performance Subtle design features make all the difference for efficient healthcare Effortless, user-friendly workflow can hinge on the right receipt printer or scanner Element can help you qualify what factors to consider for a seamless user experience Just as the stars of a film will inevitably draw our focus, it’s inevitable that the big-ticket technology items such as POS devices and Medical terminals will be the centre of our most immediate attention. But this should not be at the cost of forgetting the importance of peripherals -- they are crucial interaction points within your technology ecosystem. Healing arts get a modern makeover With a healthcare range that epitomises our ethos of design, quality and purpose, Element’s medical-grade keyboards are anti-microbial and fully washable. In addition to these ‘standard’ features, our ECT-105 keyboard offers three included connectivity options -- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and corded -- allowing the one unit to cater for all preferences. A keylock function also promotes swift regular cleaning: when the keyboard needs cleaning, a combination of keys can be held down to lock all the other keys and prevent unwanted keystrokes being entered. And to make these peripherals even more attractive, all our anti-microbial products have recently decreased in price. Green means ‘good’ For everything from emergency records to medication dispensing, a reliable scanner is a vital tool for healthcare professionals. Element’s P100Am and P50BT medical-grade scanners both offer haptic feedback, providing silent positive confirmation of a successful scan while ensuring no disruption to patients during night-time use. In a hospital environment, blood red is obviously not the ideal colour that patients want to see, so these scanners utilise green illumination -- a colour more associated with positives (getting the ‘green light’, natural foliage, healing and so on). From a workflow point of view, the P50BT is compact and light enough to hang from a lanyard, making it convenient for staff to always keep it on hand. Its Bluetooth connectivity allows it to be taken from one workstation to the next and pair it immediately with any terminal, again saving precious seconds. Hardcopy doesn’t have to be a hard slog In retail and hospitality, the humble receipt printer can prove to be an unsung hero. For a heavy throughput of customers, as in a grocery store or hospitality venue, the printer’s duty cycle is central to the return you’ll get on your investment. A workhorse printer such as the RW873, RW973 or RW60 offers the benefit of maximum kilometres of paper per print head and a very high number of cuts out of the paper cutter. Where unit cost is an important consideration and receipt printing is less frequent, a unit such as the RW80L represents a lower upfront investment and offers paper-saving mode. As with all our receipt printers, it features a triple interface of USB, serial and ethernet connection. Two heads are better than one When it comes to scanning, 1D bar codes are hurtling towards a dinosaur-like fate, so all Element scanners support 2D encoding, with diverse solutions for a range of scanning requirements. The P303BT, for example, is mounted in an adjustable presentation stand that can be tilted to suit a variety of ergonomic requirements, while the P220 can be used as a hands-free or desktop scanner. The star attraction of our scanner stable is the new P880DS, with a double-duty design that is the first of its kind in the world. It can rest on a work surface or easily fit into your hand, and features a uniquely aggressive scan engine to pick up the smallest of barcodes, such as the tiny stickers on jewellery. But on its rear side is a second barcode scanner -- allowing product scanning on one side, and scanning a loyalty card or ID on the other. Saving time as well as money, this is a valuable way that we can help our partners with a highly cost-effective solution that does not carry an associated compromise in quality. It’s all about making the hardware disappear The aim of putting all this attention into workflow and efficiency is to provide an unimpeded, seamless experience for customers and staff alike. In applications such as grocery store self-scanning, the user is the customer, so it is not acceptable to risk a frustrating, unreliable or inefficient process. But with so many options available and so many factors to consider -- even something as simple as how to orientate a receipt printer to ensure easy reloading -- it can be difficult to qualify the most efficient way to integrate your ecosystem of peripherals. As always, that’s where Element can help -- our commitment to design, quality and purpose is your assurance that you can depend on our unbiased, objective and meaningful support for your business.
- Is hardware dead?
Let’s unpack the reasoning behind some outlandish claims you might have heard Our attention is shifting away from physical hardware and tokens of exchange Inconspicuousness can be a sign that you have the right hardware The focus on software makes it more crucial than ever to be informed about hardware Commonly heard in mediaeval times, cries of “The king is dead! Long live the king!” bear an eerie resemblance to some of the slogans flying around today. We’re not talking about recent events related to the UK’s monarch, but attention-grabbing claims made by pundits speculating about the shape of things to come. Unless we’re living in a holographic universe, it’s pretty obvious that in literal terms, hardware is not dead. But if some of our traditional hardware-based modes of transaction are indeed dying out, new paradigms are rising to take their place. And ultimately, all models and simulations, virtual machines and virtual desktops, are still going to need something physical to run on. Treading softly with transactions It can certainly be argued that advances in software -- particularly in the field of AI -- have outstripped some aspects of hardware development. As for cash -- as in, physical currency -- this might as well be functionally obsolete for an entire generation. But that doesn’t mean cash is dead. Similarly, credit and debit cards are falling from favour. According to a recent report from the Reserve Bank of Australia, mobile wallet payments totalled more than 25% of all cashless transactions at card payment terminals through Q1 of 2022, and this percentage has been increasing steadily. But does this mean plastic is dead? Not by a long shot -- it is just that the way we transact is evolving. With the advent of email more than three decades ago, there was plenty of talk about it meaning the death of paper correspondence. And yes, many of us now opt to receive paperwork such as bank statements and utility bills in soft copy -- which is great for the environment. But does this mean paper is dead? Certainly not, if the countless physical cards sent by snail mail at Christmas time are anything to go by. Do ebooks and e-readers mean libraries are dead? No, it just means they have embraced soft options like Libby and Borrowbox to augment their physical presence. The industry is changing, there is no doubt about that. Yes, people are focusing more on contactless payment options, and the hardware frameworks at the centre of our transactions need to evolve and keep pace. Does this mean hardware is dead? No -- like other migrations from analogue to digital, it’s evolving. However, we do need to think more seriously than ever before about the evolution and change that is taking place: what are the real, tangible implications for hardware? Every cloud has a silicon lining Storing our data ‘in the cloud’ and working online has become the new normal, so it’s no surprise that many of us imagine computing to be insubstantial and vapour-like. However, no matter how clever our applications, no matter how convenient it is for us to transact using a smartwatch, software will always share a symbiotic relationship with hardware: one is useless without the other. In an age of cloud-based everything, it is easy to forget how essential the right hardware platform is for smooth operation. It’s not unlike the unconscious reliance we place on electricity -- when we flick a switch, we simply expect it to be there. But think of the end-to-end process starting from the coal, sunlight and wind being converted into electricity, think of the high-voltage transmission lines and banks of transformer stations. Without this complex infrastructure of systems, we would never have the end product we take for granted. Yet as with digital hardware, the fundamental technology involved is often forgotten because all we notice is the service that runs ‘on top’. Nothing to unsee here Ironically, the focus on software is a major reason why it’s more important than ever to choose the right hardware. To continue with our electricity analogy, a customer’s interaction with software should be effortless and meaningful. Even though it is at the heart of retail and hospitality transactions, the POS machine itself should vanish into the background. Similarly, in a healthcare environment, the medical-grade EMR (electronical medical record) terminal should blend into the overall treatment setting, as if it’s hardly even there. But how do you choose the best POS system to ensure such an experience? How do you find an anti-microbial touchscreen to support our healthcare heroes? Under the bonnet, it means understanding the ecosystem and qualification of the total solution. The customer or staff journey needs to be meticulously mapped out, we need to establish the minimum specifications for the software, and whether the hardware is single-task or multiple-task orientated. This is barely scratching the surface of all the details that need to be evaluated. Add to this the financial outlay, be it POS system rollout, medical-grade EMR or industrial PCs, and you’ll realise that decisions around industry-specific hardware solutions need to be expertly informed and thoroughly thought-through. Your trusted adviser This is where Element can help. Obviously nobody is going to think of purchasing industry specific hardware as being comparable to buying a first home or planning a wedding, but in the context of a business lifespan, it is an undertaking of similar gravity. Remember that in retail or hospitality, every single in-person transaction will be processed through your POS system -- meaning the right equipment can save you from innumerable pain points every working day. Instead, the point of sale service you provide can be a little ray of sunshine in every customer’s journey. In an industrial setting, the same should be true of a panel PC built to survive the harshest conditions -- it should facilitate work instead of being hard work to use. Connected business is the way of the future, so at Element, we are motivated to share our collective experience for the benefit of everyone -- our partners and competitors alike. Monopolising knowledge doesn’t serve the industry, and if we’re not serving the industry, we are failing in our mission to empower informed decision-making. There is nothing to be gained by clinging to the past -- that ship has sailed, that king is dead. Long live the king!
- United we succeed
Harness the power of connection to thrive in a high-inflation, post-COVID reality Today’s economic climate makes many pre-pandemic business practices obsolete While creating unprecedented opportunities, technology also brings unique challenges Element can cut through complexity to perfectly tailor POS solutions for your business As businesses pour momentum into 2023, we are facing a whole new set of challenges, many of which are centred around the RBA’s cash rate, soaring inflation and skyrocketing costs of living. Now more than ever, the revolution in online cooperation -- originally spawned by the necessity to survive the pandemic -- is equipping us with the tools we need to conquer the adversity of our harsh economic climate. Connected commerce is here to stay It’s worth reiterating a point we’ve made before: today’s market paradigms mean businesses that work together thrive in ways that make hostile competition a waste of resources. While this might have once seemed like an idealistic New Age dream, our technology has evolved so dramatically that we are blessed with new opportunities for collaboration that simply never existed before. These include pathways for sharing commercial wisdom and experience, and the creation of online communities that can pool their resources to benefit the industry as a whole. While we face new pressures today -- largely related to the cost of living -- we are also armed with the advantages that include working remotely and sharing ideas through virtual meetings. So even though the going is tough at the moment, we have the means to overcome the obstacles we face. Option paralysis: a very real first-world problem A key aspect of Element’s Better Together program is to support mutually beneficial connections among distribution partners and end users. Partly as a result of COVID, businesses now have a robust infrastructure that facilitates harmonious collaboration, and all parties can gain from this collaboration. But inevitably, the power of technology comes with its own unique challenges. While we might have a solid grasp of the platforms that support networking and online communication, deciding on the right point of sale management system is a complex process. There are so many variables involved that the best POS system for one business is not going to perform anywhere near as effectively in a different setting. As one very simple example, a front-of-house hospitality POS system for a staff journey experience will never deliver the customer-centric retail experience of a self service kiosk. In other situations, such as price considerations, comparing upfront capital outlay to the cost of a product’s full end-to-end life cycle can reveal a dramatic difference in financial investment between one solution and another. Navigating the digital landscape What would it mean for your business to have a trusted advisor who can cut through the marketing spiel and empower you to make informed decisions about your retail POS system? At Element, we carefully investigate the customer journeys and workflows specific to every partner we work with, regardless of whether the vertical involved is industrial, medical, retail or hospitality. Our core values of design, quality and purpose compel us to explore every factor relevant to the technology ecosystem best aligned with your requirements, notably including the right price point. In one situation, you might need to be running the latest POS software or enterprise management applications, so a state-of-the-art processor becomes an essential consideration. In a different use-case scenario, it might become evident that the practical requirements do not call for this level of processing power, but unit cost is a major priority for the business. In the second instance, we might explore the suitability of a unit such as the Element CA250W, which offers exceptional value for its price point. In a medical setting, ‘fit for purpose’ might mean peripherals that are fully washable, while an industrial environment might necessitate a panel PC that can withstand exposure to hazardous environments. Whether you’re evaluating the benefits of an Intel J6412 processor in the Element CA850 or looking to choose a handheld barcode scanner for the right scanning application, it is this level of conversation you can expect from our partner community. Even the idioms of ‘knowledge is power’ and ‘unity is strength’ are Better Together -- and this combined approach is how we can all cultivate a commercial environment in which everyone succeeds.
- The Frenzy Before Christmas
Why 16:9 is more relevant than ever at the busiest time of year for retailers and other merchants? Retail is not the only industry to benefit from the ‘silly season’ Ensure your POS platform doesn’t bottleneck your sales Software providers need to catch up with 16:9 As soon as Halloween has floated away in all its ghoulish wonder, the retail environment goes into overdrive for the lead-up to Christmas. Sales statistics reflect what all retailers are well aware of: from Black Friday all the way through to January is consistently the most frenetic time of year for retail sales. But what is known as the ‘silly season’ for consumers couldn’t be more serious for businesses whose turnover skyrockets during this period. Where there are shoppers, there are opportunities Retail is only one of the industries that thrives on the huge throughput of eager consumers at the pointy end of the year. The crowds of Christmas shoppers bustling their way through malls and retail precincts inevitably need somewhere to grab their lunch while on their Santa-inspired mission. This leads to a flow-on effect to food courts and takeaway outlets, not to mention standalone restaurants. The increase in Christmas party activity also represents boom time for a variety of related businesses. From venues serving alcohol to beauty salons committed to helping people to look their best at this time of year, the ability to maximise profits hinges on fast, efficient and reliable transactions. The customers are there, and they are keen to spend: what is the best way for you to capitalise that? How to make the most of the pre-Christmas rush The best possible POS platform is more relevant than ever at this time of year: you need to be ready to handle that onslaught of sales. With such a hive of activity going on in the retail sphere, consumers are simply not going to have the patience to transact at a location where they see a long queue at the till. The advent of 16:9 high-definition POS systems gives retailers and other businesses unprecedented transaction power. With the option of bigger buttons, or more options onscreen to choose from, sales staff equipped with 16:9 terminals are two steps ahead of their counterparts struggling to manage the increased throughput on older, clunkier 4:3 devices. Can your software handle the pressure? As LCD panel and touchscreen manufacturers shift their focus to the 16:9 aspect ratio, and demand for this format increases, so does the availability of hardware options. The price, meanwhile, becomes more affordable than ever before. Conversely, as demand for 4:3 terminals dwindles, they become more expensive and difficult to obtain. This is where you need to ask the question: is your software provider keeping up with this evolution? Once again, your success as a seller of goods or services hinges on an intuitive layout and optimised content-to-chrome ratio that allows your staff to provide better service to customers. If your software isn’t designed to match your hardware, this will also cause a bottleneck in your ability to reap the rewards of high-volume sales. Where demand arises, supply will follow. A business that relies on POS devices in the last mile will consistently achieve better sales with scalable software that can make the most of the increased screen real estate and higher resolution of 16:9 terminals. This is the reason why you, as a merchant, have the power to ‘vote with your feet’ and put pressure on software vendors and resellers to provide more options tailored to maximising your sales. View our current range of Element 16:9 POS terminal solutions below:
- Dodge the Price Hike
How Element can support you with cutting-edge POS hardware at inflation-defying prices Intel can’t hold back the inevitable increase in processor prices any longer Element can help you sidestep the effects of this in the short term Be ready for Christmas by equipping yourself with cutting-edge POS hardware now Inflation is one of those certainties that falls into a similar category as death and taxes. So finding a loophole or exception that eases the pressure of price rises on your business -- especially at the most intense time of year for retail -- can make a huge difference. It’s common knowledge that Intel is increasing prices on its CPUs. For some time, the company has been attempting to amortise the effects of inflation and soaring costs of raw materials to ensure cost stability and reduce downstream impact. However, change cannot be staved off any longer, and in July, Intel announced it would implement price rises across its range of products, including chipsets, processors and motherboards, in Q4 of 2022. Shelter from the economic price storm? Intel’s response to market forces is by no means an isolated incident. Inflation is pushing prices up all over the country, from groceries to rental costs; the Australian dollar is crashing, and this in turn cranks up the cost of net imports. But there is good news that contrasts with this troubling backdrop of financial crisis. At Element, we have been working for more than a year to anticipate how we will be able to help our partners weather the economic storm that has been brewing. Thanks to the ‘just in case’ model we have been utilising, we now have significant holdings of cutting-edge stock available for our retail and hospitality partners. Retail cycle vs economic cycle As the economic cycle is going through a phase of severe inflation, the annual retail cycle is also accelerating to the fever pitch of the Christmas/New Year period. Element has prepared for exactly this kind of scenario with stock on shelves right now of slimline 16:9 POS products featuring 11th-gen processors. These can empower you to transact at the speed of life during the busiest period of the year. We’ve said it before, but it is worth emphasising again that our priorities are centred around promoting a conscious, connected business model in which resources are pooled and advantages are mutual. In response to the hostile economic climate, our community of solution partners is pulling together and developing meaningful ways we can help one another to thrive, even as the effects of inflation run rampant. If ever there was a time to ensure continuity of your POS retail equipment, it’s now -- and through the Better Together program, Element can support you with the latest hardware. Contact us, or our distributor, Sektor, to discover how we can put together a pricing package that will be a welcome relief for your business in today’s harsh reality. But don’t delay, because this is the last wave of tomorrow’s terminals we will be able to supply at yesterday’s prices.
- No Business is an Island
Conscious business is not a New Age ideal but an efficient way of adapting to modern reality Redirecting resources from competition to cooperation results in better outcomes for all Product showcase: bundles that make life easier for your business The concept of conscious business might sound a bit utopian and idealistic to some, but for others, it represents a natural and logical coming of age in light of today’s realities. We live in a world that allows us to be connected like never before, where the clear-cut lines of yesterday’s business dogmatism no longer apply to dynamic and rapidly evolving ways of living, working and transacting. For those familiar with the term, ‘conscious business’ is often associated with responsible ways of operating that do not have an adverse impact on humanity. But it’s a very high-level overview -- and for those already working from this starting point in terms of resource management, what does it mean in the context of functional business practices? Better together At Element, taking a conscious approach means working as industry advocates and business leaders, establishing and supporting an ecosystem of solution partners who empower one another to grow. It’s more than just a hip New Age-y catchphrase: conscious business means moving away from insular thinking and strictly transactional relationships, and instead developing a culture of collaboration. The world is not built on simplistic patterns of ‘buy, sell, move on’. Instead, as an increasing body of experiential evidence suggests, groups that partner together put better solutions together, and this is just as true in business as it is in the community as a whole. Prioritising connection and mutual support between businesses is a path to better outcomes for everyone involved. There is more than enough demand to go around -- in fact, as the world readjusts to the aftermath of COVID, the supply chain is still overwhelmed in ways it has never been before. So it stands to reason that a new way of navigating this unfamiliar commercial landscape is needed: and when we embrace networking, when we pool our resources and share lead generation, the benefits filter through to all stakeholders. Strength in unity There is no single business that can do everything on its own; it really does take that metaphorical village to raise a child. From raw components for manufacturing to every link along the supply chain, an intricate interdependence between companies is the cornerstone of survival. But how we approach the concept of conscious, connected business determines the extent to which we can all thrive. A product that is meticulously designed for the market, built to exacting standards of quality and fit for purpose, is only the beginning. You also need a partner community: a specialist who understands the merchant experience, experts in the customer experience and representatives of the staff experience. And collaboration between these like-minded individuals is what it takes to get a remarkable and innovative solution out to market. Bundle of joy This month, we’re not focusing on individual products but on the bundles we can assemble for you. Even when we’re talking about physical hardware, Element is committed to the initiative of being better together. We’re offering a diverse variety of promotional deals and specials on a range of different product sets, each suited to a specific vertical: just to give you an example of what’s available, we’ve put together bundles for healthcare, retail and hospitality. Contact Element or get in touch with our distributor, Sektor, to find out how we can craft a bundle that offers significant savings while also being tailored to your specific business ecosystem. And join our Better Together program to discover for yourself how connected business practices can supercharge your problem solving, transform the benefits you gain from partnerships, take efficiency to new heights, and empower you to pool resources for mutual success. Individually, many of us succeed -- but as a united industry, we triumph.
- Recession-Busting Retail Hacks
Physical retail outlets have enjoyed a resurgence of foot traffic post-lockdown Protect the longevity of your investment by choosing futureproof hardware Product showcase: CA850 POS terminal Tony Robbins, arguably the world’s best-known success coach, is famed for identifying opportunities no matter how grim a situation might seem. So it’s no surprise that he has written about businesses that thrive in a recession -- and if recent economic trends are anything to go by, it would seem ‘recession-proof’ businesses are COVID-proof, as well. People are not going to stop needing groceries and healthcare, and especially when times are tough, items such as sweets and alcohol are in hot demand. After all, as Mr Robbins has noted, we are wired to “seek pleasure and avoid pain”. But what does this have to do with the retail landscape? E-commerce’s flash in the pan As the pandemic gripped the world in a series of lockdowns, the vast majority of retail shifted to the online space. In the wake of this upsurge, leaders in e-commerce speculated that the proportion of money spent online would stay at least five years ahead of the curve relative to transactions in physical retail outlets. Unfortunately for them, the gamble did not pay off. As Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify, wrote on 26 July: “What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-COVID data would have suggested it should be at this point.” But fortunately for retail, it appears that this is because human nature makes us crave the customer experience of physically visiting a sales environment. Riding the retail wave While precise statistics are not readily available, people are visibly flocking to retail outlets and shopping centres. It’s an understandable reaction -- now that we are free to indulge our desires to get out and about, and engage in a more normal lifestyle, we are doing so with great enthusiasm. This sets the scene for new retail stores to be opening despite inflation, rising pressure from the cost of living, and labour expenses. But as the number of retailers increases, so does the need for new POS terminals. And if you’re an existing outlet seeing an upswing in customers, what do you do when your POS terminal breaks down? At Element, embracing the ‘just in case’ supply model (as opposed to ‘just in time’) means we have been able to continue supplying stock with the latest chipsets as needed. Choosing cutting-edge technology allows you to sidestep the ramifications of using processors that were launched seven or more years ago. Heated debate The biggest issue that causes problems in electronics, IT equipment and POS devices is heat: as heat increases, the mean time between failures decreases. A POS terminal using a desktop processor that draws 35-50W of power naturally generates more heat -- so while the terminal might have a solid and robust appearance, it actually has more potential for points of failure than an Element terminal that runs on 10W or 15W. This improves the reliability and longevity of terminals equipped with 11th-generation processors, but another significant concern is that legacy chipsets won’t support migration to Windows 11. As foot traffic to retail increases, how are you going to ensure that the POS infrastructure you establish today stays relevant and functional in the future? Invest in tomorrow Despite the seemingly constant messages of doom and gloom from headlines focusing on recession, inflation, cost of living and tech layoffs, the subject of futureproofing is more topical than ever. People will still go out regularly to enjoy a beer at the pub, a meal at a restaurant, or to browse at their local shopping centre. We want a break from the problems of life, and recession-proof businesses offer us the relief we need from the daily grind. Rehashing the solutions of yesterday is not going to futureproof your business. Take the time to think about what your plan is going to be over the next few years, and ask yourself: what is going to support your software? What will provide your retail business with the transactional power it needs to thrive? And most importantly: what will ensure the best possible customer experience? Terminal velocity In a previous blog post, we briefly touched on the CA850 from the angle of comparing it to another POS terminal developed for a significantly different design brief. Now that feeds and speeds are crucial subjects of discussion, there will be no sharing of the spotlight: at this time of subtle renaissance for the retail sphere, the CA850 is the terminal of the moment. Starting with its aesthetics and build quality, featuring an edge profile of just 7mm, the CA850 is the thinnest POS terminal available. Its sleek, futuristic appearance makes it a sophisticated architectural feature of your retail space, not just a functional one. Its high screen-to-body ratio,meanwhile, gives it a minimal footprint on the counter, leaving you plenty of room to do business. But its greatest power is the Intel J6412 processor within, which outperforms seventh-generation i5 and i3 units. Capable of supporting Windows 11, and running off 10W for low-heat operation, the CA850 is a perfect example of futureproof technology. Plus, it’s compatible with a full suite of peripherals such as an NFC reader, MSR and even a fingerprint reader to ensure your staff find it effortless to operate. Offering a next-level retail experience for your customers, it is yet another epitome of design, quality and purpose.