If you’ve been considering a POS system for your business, it’s a good time to explore options. These systems were first promoted by IBM in the 1970s. They required mainframe systems to run the processing. They were cumbersome and not effective for mid to small sized businesses.
With the advent of the PC, however, processing became much easier and more effective using the POS systems. In the 1990s, the incorporation of PCs and Apple products for individual stores to use became easy to develop and use. No longer did you need a whole floor to process payments, simply a computer located in your business.
A point of sale (POS) system is one of the greatest business investments that you’ll ever make. The benefits and ease of use make this a no-brainer for a business. Not only does this system allow your company to quickly process transactions, but there are also plenty of other benefits, including: inventory management, sales tracking, and even features that help with marketing and customer relationship management.
The good news is that there are dozens of different POS systems on the market. The bad news? The increasing number of options makes it harder to find the ideal POS system for your business. Thankfully there are ways that you can narrow down your options.
In order to find the best POS systems, you have to know what to look for. Here are 5 tips you’ll want to follow during your search for a top-notch POS system.
1. Know Which Features Your Business Needs
One of the first factors to consider when choosing the best POS system is to know what features will most benefit your company. POS systems offer a wide range of features, but you don’t want to pay for functionality that you won’t use.
When choosing a POS system, you’ll want to insure it offers standard features such as:
- Transaction processing
- Sales tracking
- Inventory management
- Reports and analytics
- Employee management
With these standard features, you can streamline business operations and make day-to-day work much more efficient. Aside from the standard features, you want to know what other functionality is offered by each POS system.
For example, as a retail company, you likely don’t need a POS system that offers the ability to tip or to manage tables. It’s ideal to find a system that’s designed specifically for your business’ industry. This ensures you’re getting the features that most benefit your company.
2. Price Matters
The bottom line is a critical factor in any business owner’s decisions. The objective is to find products that make life easier and save time and money. Years ago POS systems were difficult to use and were very expensive. Thankfully these days the systems are a bit more affordable and it’s quite possible to find a reasonably priced POS system.
Pricing varies from system to system. More expensive POS systems typically offer the latest and greatest bells and whistles. When choosing a POS system, you want to be wary of the word “free.” While POS software may be free, you’ll need to pay for the necessary hardware to complete the system. Have any company spell out exactly what is covered and what is not when they give you a proposal. Verify all the details to avoid a costly mistake.
When it comes to pricing you’ll also need to choose between leasing or owning the system. Leasing means that there’s little to no upfront cost, but you’re likely to end up spending more for the system in the long run. Buying a POS system outright is expensive, but it saves you money over time.
3. Reporting & Analytics
Aside from processing transactions and tracking sales, you want to invest in a POS system that offers quality reporting and analytics. With the right data, you can make smart business decisions that will only benefit your brand.
Thorough reporting will provide you a host of information, including inventory stock levels, top-selling items, and sales completed by each employee. Using this data you can drive sales and revolutionize your business.
It’s also important to find a POS system that offers customer data tracking. Being able to know which customers shop most often at your business allows you to pinpoint who your loyal customers are. In turn, you can reward them with promotions and discounts.
4. Integration Capabilities
While POS systems are very robust, chances are that you’ll want to integrate other applications into the system. For example, you may want to integrate a customer relationship management application that allows you to use information collected by the POS system to send out marketing emails and other notifications.
By finding a POS system that offers integration, you can ensure that you have a system that can grow with your business. As your customer base expands and you hire more employees, it’s important to have a system that is flexible.
Over time your business needs will change, and having tools that are able to integrate with other applications is vital.
Even the best POS system can face technical difficulties. This is why it’s so important to choose a vendor that offers top-notch support services. When something goes wrong, you want to know that you have access to reach back support that can help you get the system back up and running.
When considering a vendor’s support model, there are many questions you’ll want to ask. Top questions to consider include:
- Is support service 24/7?
- How is support offered?
- What are the associated costs?
- Is support in-house or outsourced?
These are all questions you’ll want to ask to ensure that you have the support you need. Quality customer support gives you peace of mind that you aren’t stuck trying to troubleshoot a problematic POS system alone.
Choosing the best POS system for your business is one of the most impactful decisions you’ll ever make. The right system can streamline operations, boost efficiency, and allow you to make smart business decisions.