According to a report by Retail Consulting Partners, more than a third of small business owners currently use point-of-sale (POS) software to manage retail processes, but nearly a quarter of those surveyed have no system at all or are still relying on manual methods such as spreadsheets, to track information. Thirty-nine percent of retailers say improving efficiency is the main reason for evaluating new systems, either because their system is outdated or unreliable, or they are looking for more robust features.
There are countless options for Point of Sale systems, and so we’re here to help you choose one where POS doesn’t turn out to stand for Piece of Sh!t.
The first step is to define exactly what it is you’ll require in a new system. For example, retailers with multiple stores might be looking for systems that give them a centralized view of their sales and ways to stay on top of all the locations’ stock. On the other hand, those with a single location might prefer a tablet-based POS system that offers flexibility and the ability to level up as the business grows.
One of the big benefits of modern POS systems is that they reduce the need for manual entry, so you won’t have to worry as much about discrepancies and human error. If you’re already using certain business apps (e.g., e-commerce platform, payment processor, accounting software), pay attention to POS integration. Choosing a point of sale solution that can connect to the software and hardware you already have in place will make your life a lot easier.
Next, consider who will be using your system. The most effective point of sale systems can allow or restrict access based on the user’s role. For instance, cashiers are only able to ring up sales, while managers have the ability to issue discounts and refunds, modify inventory levels, etc.
Digital is not the way of the future, but rather our reality. The majority of modern POS systems are cloud-based and provide access to a single view of the customer, product, inventory, price, promotion, and order data, particularly through a mobile app for associates to use throughout the store. Because data is stored on a remote server, be sure and ask the provider about cyber security and what offline contingencies are available should the internet go down at your location.
Have a think about the customer initiatives that you offer (or are planning to implement). Do you have a loyalty program? Do you collect customer information or feedback? Do you provide digital receipts and do you promote special sales to customers via email and text? Many POS solutions have built-in customer management capabilities. Some systems even come with a dedicated loyalty program that makes it a snap to offer perks and rewards to loyal shoppers and generate repeat business.
Now that you’ve factored in the core elements of a POS system, it’s time to decide what solution best fits your specific needs. As with any new product, the most reliable test is to try it for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a couple of providers, sign up for a free trial so you can see the systems in action. As you use the system, ask your employees for feedback on its ease of use, functionality and ways it can improve the overall experience for themselves and for your customers.
A POS system is one of the most important investments a small business can make. Taking the above steps will enable you to evaluate solutions so you can decide the best course of action for your business.