One-size-fits-all: How an ergonomic solution will transform retail


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: One-size-fits-all: How an ergonomic solution will transform retail.

A revolutionary idea evolved into a partnership to create a universal mounting solution, co-designed by Ingenico and Ergonomics Solutions, which makes swapping and upgrading technology a breeze.

Traditionally, every time a payment terminal is upgraded, retailers also have to change the mounting solution, a practice that is disruptive, costly and now, thanks to the SpacePole MultiClip, completely unnecessary.

A new collaboration between Ergonomic Solutions, a leader in POS mounting solutions that supplies 60% of the global top 50 retailers, and Ingenico has developed a state-of-the-art Universal Payment Mount (UPM) which makes it easy to securely swap and replace payment devices. Compatible with all of Ingenico's current and future Lane series terminals, the click-in-place mount simplifies the checkout environment while meeting PCI-DSS security requirements. Having made the patent available to competitors, it promises to become a universal solution – the USB of mounting systems – reducing the total cost of ownership for retailers and broadening retailers' options.

We spoke to Laurent Mayer, Ingenico's retail product manager, and Ian Dewar, CEO of Ergonomic Solutions with nearly 40 years' experience in the sector, to find out how the SpacePole MultiClip™ will transform the retail sector.

What are the main challenges that retailers are facing today?

Ian: Today, the consumer is very digitally savvy. They understand their online options and they can buy goods with the click of a button on sites such as Amazon. As a result, it's very important that the consumer has a frictionless in-store experience, and paying is always the most painful part of the consumer experience.

Retailers need to be able to deploy technology that enables people to easily pay online, collect in-store, get refunds and to be able to track the transaction right the way through these multiple channels. As transactions become more sophisticated, so do the criminals looking to steal data. Meeting the ever-enhanced security standards, such as PCI-DSS, is a great challenge for retailers; if they don't meet the current standards, they become liable for fraudulent transactions, so there is a big incentive for retailers to comply, and significant costs if they don't.

The biggest challenge is the one that's always been there, this dichotomy between security and accessibility. We have to ensure the terminal is physically secure, so it can't be tampered with by criminals in-store, but at the same time people with disabilities must be able to access these devices. Security and accessibility conflict with each other.

From an aesthetic perspective, it must fit the environment, from a supermarket to a leading fashion designer.

Laurent: The two basics: security – we all want payments to be quick, but we want them to be safe – and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their payment solution [must be addressed in the process].

How did this partnership come about?

Ian: As with any industry, we can learn from what other people have done. Nearly 20 years ago, as it became more common to use flat screens, there were people who understood that they could be mounted to save space. One of the leading suppliers of monitor arms at the time developed a mounting solution and gave it to the Video Electronics Standards Association to become an industry standard (VESA), so that if you needed to swap out a monitor in the field, you could install another with a common standard solution. We looked at this and wanted to take a similar approach in mounting payment devices. We aim to provide a standard solution that takes away one of those significant pain points for the retailer when looking to upgrade for security or customer experience reasons.

Laurent: Ergonomic Solutions is the top technology mounting solutions company in the world and Ingenico is considered the global leader in payment devices, so it makes sense for us to work together. We approached Ergonomic Solutions to address some key challenges, one of which was a key pain point for our customers: each time they changed their device, they had to change the mounting solution. We both had the same understanding and the same willingness to find a solution. For this kind of standard to emerge, it's not only us; manufacturers and suppliers need to work together.

What was the biggest issue you first faced?

Ian: Every time a retailer changed their technology, we supplied them with a new mounting solution, so it took some time to convince people in my own organisation that getting rid of our regular business was the right thing to do. So how did I make them come around? It was very simple. This is something that has to be done, and, if we don't do it, somebody else will. Either we work as the two leading companies setting the right example in the marketplace, or we leave it to other companies to show us the way, and I don't think that's what leaders do.

How can ergonomics help these issues?

Ian: If you leave a payment device lying on the counter instead of mounting it, the failure rate of the device in high-volume retail environments increases quite considerably. If you can't process card payments on a checkout lane, it more or less invalidates it, and at peak times that creates a problem; mounting them ensures that they're available for use.

Laurent: It comes back to the TCO. A device that can be switched out if it breaks is extremely important. Think of it as a fast pit lane change.

Ian: We have created a robust mounting interface where the rest of the mount can be adapted to meet the precise requirements of the retailer and can easily accommodate new technology as it comes along. What's more, technology needs to keep pace with security standards in both attended and unattended environments. Our solution simplifies this process for retailers.

Laurent: We're trying to change the way that consumers are behaving in store, and for that to happen it needs to also look like a tablet, like the devices that people are used to interacting with. The simpler the better.

What has the reaction been so far?

Ian: The concept has been very well received – not only by retailers, but also by other technology companies, such as those that mount payment devices on self-checkouts, for example. We've had a positive reaction across the broader retail community.

Laurent: We're sure that it's going to work but it's hard to say how long it will take to become a worldwide solution. However, given the feedback, we are highly confident it will be a standard, for sure.

What potential does this solution have?

Ian: This is only the start. In future generations, we want to eliminate the cable, which can be a key failure point. We're making it simpler and simpler. The best mounting solutions are the ones that you can't see. It should be secure, it should be accessible, but it should be as invisible as possible.

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