Web Terminals

Web Terminals were the logical next evolution of the classic physical point of sale terminals.  Rather than requiring an additional piece hardware, the same functionality became offerable on an Internet-based application.  In other words, these are special websites with secure logins that are only available to authorized store clerks.  They offer a richer visual experience, as well as a much enhanced GUI (Graphical User Interface) that isn't possible on classic credit card type terminals.

Some benefits include:
  • Rich color graphical user interface (GUI).
  • Easier navigation for pulling up account information, selecting payment options, etc.
  • Lower clerk learning curve as Web interfaces tend to be a more intuitive and familiar user experience.
  • Fast and easy to make updates; Web application deployments don't require terminal level software pulls or pushes as they are updated on the backend.
  • Easily supports numerous wireless providers and programs.
  • Rich tracking, reporting, and analytic tools that are usually real time, which is not typically available with POS terminal programs.

So how do Web terminals work?

1.    For Topup Card Activations
  • The one major downfall of Web applications is that they can't support swipe activation of physical cards.  Card serial numbers can be manual entered, or scanned using a bar code, however, the classic swipe and sell process is not directly supported.  That said, there is add-on technology that can make the transaction feel more like a swipe-and-sell process.
  • This isn't really considered to be a major problem since this type of card sale has become less and less popular in non-major retailer stores.  Generally speaking, physical replenishment cards are being phased out of the industry altogether.
2.    For PIN Sales
  • This process is virtually identical to the POS Terminal experience.  The only real difference relates to the benefits of the Web described above.  The beauty of this approach is that a simple Web application can easily support cards and/or PINs, and one or the other, or both products can be offered at a wireless dealer level with ease.  In other words, the Web Terminals can support whatever is needed by the store and agreed to with the prepaid wireless provider.
3.    For Real Time Sales
  • This process is also virtually identical to the POS terminal experience, except, again as it relates to the advantages of Web applications.
  • The real beauty of using a Web terminal to process topup sales (i.e. Real Time Replenishment) is that different topup amounts can be easily added and removed as needed.  The denominations and values of open range topups can also be defined based on the user login.  It provides tremendous flexibility, and easily configurable inventory availability.
Generally speaking, Web terminals have largely taken over other terminal type technology in non-major retail stores.  It provides far more flexibility, is cheaper and easier to maintain, and is generally a much richer user experience and overall customer experience.  Also, initial deployment is FAR faster, easier, and less costly.  Careful consideration does need to be taken to ensure that user IDs and passwords are secure, and that access is truly limited only to people WITHIN a given store.  For example, an employee who quits or is fired should not have access to the Web application outside of the store location.  Believe you me, many prepaid wireless providers have run into issues with this seemingly simple issue over the years.  The good news is that with some thoughtful consideration, all of these types of security concerns can be easily addressed.

Web Terminals

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