A point-of-sale solution is one of the most important sidekicks a retailer can have. Aside from enabling you to accept and process payments, a POS system (a good one, anyway) lets you sync, track, and manage virtually every aspect of your business– from your inventory and sales to your customer data—all from one program.
Point of Sale Systems
The right solution can simplify how you run your business, make information easier to find, and minimize mistakes. It also enables you to better serve customers and enhance their shopping experience, thus building loyalty in the process.
A POS system, in short, can be a whole lot of awesome.
That’s why you need to take some time finding and vetting the right one for you. And this guide will help you do that. It covers all the essentials in the POS selection process and walks you through what you need to know to get set up.
So let’s get started and find the right POS for you.
Step 1: Figure out what you want and need
Just like when you’re looking for a partner, your search for a suitable POS system becomes immensely easier if you know what you want.
That’s why the first step in your POS-hunting journey is to identify all the features, functions, and services that you use to run your business, and put them on paper so you can reference to your list when you’re comparing different solutions.
That’s what a team at fashion and gift store did when they were looking for a new point-of-sale system.
“We built a spreadsheet, and in it we listed all the things we needed in a POS system, such as inventory features, customer relationship management capabilities, Quickbooks Online integration, the ability to manage multiple stores, and more,”
Doing so enabled the Rethreaded team to easily evaluate different solutions and allowed them to quickly zero in on the ones that they could use in their business.
Step 2: Take note of the required hardware
You need to work out what you need to make your POS work. Some systems require you to buy hardware, others operate on your existing equipment, others just need an iPad or laptop.
Itemize the equipment that you need in your store. Be sure to include the number of units required for each piece of hardware. Consult the checklist in this guide to get a rundown of the equipment and tick off the ones that apply to your business. Already have existing hardware and equipment in place? Write down each item’s brand and model for future reference when looking up various POS systems to see if they’re compatible.
Hardware was a huge factor when one of Australia’s leading and fastest growing sports nutrition outlets, was looking for a new POS system.
“The last thing we wanted was to have to buy a new computer system, We have PCs in all our stores, and the fact that Vend worked with Google Chrome was fantastic, because we didn’t have to change any of our hardware.”
On the flip side, you may also want to consider the equipment that you can do without. For example, some retailers choose to send receipts via email instead of issuing physical copies, eliminating the need for a receipt printer, while others are trading in their computers for iPads or laptops.
Step 3: Determine your budget
How much should you spend on your new POS system? That depends on the size of your business and the capabilities you require. Generally speaking though, you’re better off spending your money on a cloud-based POS software-as-aservice (SAAS) solution, rather than traditional cash registers or legacy systems. Prices for modern POS solutions start anywhere from free, to hundreds of dollars a month, making them less expensive than traditional point-of-sale systems, which can cost several thousands of dollars.
Shoes Feet Gear, a running shoes store in Australia, for instance, used to have a ten thousand dollar system prior to switching to a cloud-based POS.
“We had a $10,000 software package and needed to integrate stock control with our point-of-sale and online store,” shares owner Peter Charles. According to him, getting the system to work with their ecommerce storefront was difficult and was going to cost around $5,000. This prodded him to search for a less expensive solution.
“We then discovered Vend, and we were able to integrate it with our online store and input all our products, and just spend about a hundred dollars a month.”
Ready to start shopping for a modern POS system? You’ll need to take count of a few things. Cloud-based solutions usually implement tiered pricing models, wherein the costs will vary depending on factors like the number of stores, customers, products, registers, and more. You’ll need to account for these things when calculating your costs to accurately budget for the software