Why retailers should step away from technical couriers and insure themselves against IT downtime

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The use of courier services has become common practice across the retail industry -

– it provides a quick, cheap and easy way for spare parts to be delivered as part of break/fix maintenance arrangements with manufacturers and IT support companies. Unlike engineered agreements however, many of these couriers are classed as self-employed, meaning lower costs for their organisation and reducing initial costs for the customer.

Courier services are not standardised across the board, and the level of service they offer can vary – from a ‘back door swap’ which is more-or-less a standard delivery service, to the courier installing the ready-to-go peripheral and removing the old part but without performing a fix of any further issues, meaning the store is left to log a further call to the IT service provider should the installation not be successful. While they’re left waiting for the service providers, lost potential sales continue to rise, with figures suggesting that PoS downtime alone costs retailers an average of £3,700 per minute[1].

Engineered services vs. tech couriers

The issue with delivery services is that retailers have differing needs when it comes to how their IT breakdowns are managed. Some retailers will require speedier or a more hands-on approach than others, as well as different requirements at different times of the year. Retailers looking to maximise the performance of their stores need to adopt a ‘store by store’ approach to how their IT needs are managed and create different response requirements at each location. Again, this also highlights the challenges of a ‘delivery-only’ service, as the smaller store needs not only the part to arrive quickly, but the problem to be fixed too.

One solution to this is to consider a fully comprehensive approach to IT break/fix maintenance, which almost acts as an insurance policy for any potential problems. By handing over the break\fix needs to a third party IT support provider any parts are shipped out and delivered by an experienced engineer – meaning that the part arrives promptly and is delivered by someone who can actually install the part and get the system up and running again in the shortest time possible.

Like any kind of insurance policy, this type of provision is likely to attract a higher initial cost than basic tech courier services, but the reassurance that is provided and the reduction in downtime more than makes up for any marginal increases in costs associated. Relying on couriers means calls must be made for an engineer every time something goes wrong, potentially resulting in much higher costs overall. Eliminating the need for one-off delivery couriers can also help protect retailers against any impending changes to the industry that may affect them and increase overall fees.

Ensure your IT needs are covered

It’s always essential that retailer review their current procedures for managing IT breakdowns, in line with expansion and sales numbers, as well as exploring how long the average repair is taking. Retailers could make significant savings in 2017 simply by taking steps to ensure that their IT systems are up and working for longer and that when they do breakdown, the problem is resolved in the shortest time possible, rather than relying on a service which only provides the bare minimum.


[1] http://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/The+real+cost+of+downtime+to+retailers,+and+the+importance+of+failover+(Infographic)/10822884.html

Fiona Cowlam

The blogs I will post will be from various member of the Barron McCann team. From the MD to our Service Managers, Workshop team and Engineers. We will be commenting on all the issues that our customers in retail and government face and share our expertise and experience as a major supplier of IT Service across the UK and Europe.


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