Retailers are the modern busy bees – trying to thrive, day after day, within a very competitive and fast-paced environment. They are professional business jugglers, facing a variety of challenges in a day, as they try to manage inventory, staff, customers and cash flow – sometimes, all at the same time. And here’s when point-of-sale systems (POS) come in to save the day.
What is a POS system?
Think of a POS system as the modern cash register, but with much more functionality for your business. The POS definition is the time and place where a retail transaction is completed. And a retail POS system lets you check out customers, record sales, accept payments and direct those funds back to your bank. But, the right system helps your business beyond this, making it easier for you to manage customers and inventory – being an essential part of your business growth as it can help you streamline administrative tasks.
When do you need a POS system?
If you want to accept credit and debit card payments, you need a credit card processing system, so you need a POS. You can take card payments using a standard card processor, but if you take those payments using a POS, the data from the sale is recorded, which can help you with inventory, store management, customer service, and, ultimately, offer comprehensive sales’ analytics. So, a POS can save you time and money since it provides an accurate sales tracking system for your business.
What should a POS system software do?
You need to consider a few factors in order to choose the right POS system for your business. Take the setup cost, time and difficulty into account; check the payment processing costs (charge per transaction etc.), monthly processing fees (chargeback fees etc.) and POS software fees; check the cost of buying or renting the equipment; PCI Compliance; the level of mobility; ability to accept EMV chip cards (American Express, Visa etc.); and ability to accept payments from Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Remember to also analyse the features the POS software offers. Features should include:
- Payment flexibility. It doesn’t matter how your customers want to pay, you should be able to accept their payments, making the shopping experience flexible and easy for them. The POS hardware should allow you to accept cash, credit cards and mobile payments.
- Smart software. The POS software will work as your command center. Its main purpose is to, of course, record payments and transactions, but it should also work as an administrative solution with tools or integrated applications that can help you manage your business. You should look for software features such as inventory management, scheduling, payroll, invoicing, and customer engagement etc.
- Hardware convenience. Besides accepting different payment methods, the POS hardware should be convenient to your business, depending on what it is exactly. You might be ok with the classic countertop solution, but if you have events or busy days a mobile solution might come in handy too. And remember to also take the maintenance costs of POS terminals into account, and therefore consider a cloud-based solution which is simple to implement on any tablet.
- Guaranteed security. As with any technology processing customer data, the POS system you choose has to be PCI compliant. To protect you and your customers, find companies that use encryption and tokenization as processes to secure customer information from the moment a card touches the POS system.
- Intuitive interface. In order to keep you, your employees and your customers happy, the POS system interface should be easy-to-use and straightforward. Make sure you test this feature before committing to a decision. Check how easy performing different tasks is, and how quickly you can process payments.
- Quick deposits. You can not only make payment processing quicker for customers, but also for you. A POS system that integrates payment processing to provide deposits in a matter of days, or even instantly, is a great feature for any business.
See below the POS solutions the right system should bring to your business.
Allow flexible and faster transactions
A point-of-sale system that is intuitive and efficient will make the life of your staff much easier when it comes to sales, and provide a better experience to your customers, as it will make checkout quicker and more flexible.
Analyse sales data
A retail POS system that analyses and reports on your sales, helps you manage your way to long-term business success! Knowing what sells best in store will help you make smarter inventory decisions, and knowing your customers’ purchase history will allow you to engage them better.
Allow real solutions in real time
A POS system that allows you to access your data from anywhere, so you can check and compare performance in real time in order to address any possible issues faster and more effectively. This helps your business being cost efficient.
Steps to choose the right POS system
- Identify the problems with your current system, and list the features your new POS system should ideally have, according to your business needs.
- Set a budget for the new POS system, including initial costs and monthly fees.
- Do your research online via social media and sites with reviews, and ask other business owners for advice and opinions.
- Once you have a list of vendors, contact them and ask about their system’s prices, features and functionality.
- When you have all the answers to your questions, compare systems and rule out any that don’t fit your budget or don’t offer the best features for your business.
- Narrow down your options to two top vendors and ask them to test their systems.
- If one of the POS systems meets your business needs entirely, you have your new POS!
- If none of the POS systems fits your business, reach out to vendors again and ask about a customizable solution.
Your POS system should help you in more ways than one, as an essential part of your daily business operations. Your retail business can be directly affected by the POS device you have, so it’s important to be informed and take all these functionalities and more into account when choosing the right retail POS system for your business