A Point-of-Sale system or POS system plays a big role in your business operations. It records transactions, manages inventory, collects and stores customer information, and more. In turn, it will dictate how easy your business will be to manage. With the proliferation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), there’s been a rise in the number of companies developing new systems, particularly for specialty business. There are liquor store POS systems, marijuana dispensary POS systems, coffee shop POS systems. So, it can get quite overwhelming to the right POS for your business. Whether you are upgrading or buying your first one, it is important to do ample research so that you can be confident with your decision.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, let’s talk about SaaS. Prior to the age of technology, POS systems were localized in each business’s server. This meant that to get support for an issue or for regular maintenance, IT technicians would have to be on-site to address it, which is quite expensive. Installation is also another task that would need the services of an IT professional. With SaaS software, all data is hosted on a central server, meaning support can be rendered remotely. SaaS has quickly become a better option for POS systems for several reasons:
- Easier to install and service
- Easier to sync multiple store locations
- No need to purchase/maintain a local server
- Easily upgrade
When choosing the right POS system for your business, there are a few things to consider.
Ten years ago, a complex and sophisticated POS system was quite costly. Thanks to innovation, technology advancement, and the number of companies competing to provide POS as their service, it is now much more affordable and simple to acquire. With QuickBooks POS you can get up and running for as little as $799. In most cases the total cost of a POS system is going to include:
- Software (such as QuickBooks POS, Revel, Stripe, etc.)
- Monitor (or tablet)
- Cash Drawer
- Barcode Scanner
- EMV Compliant Pin Pad
- Credit Card Processing Merchant (usually free to set up but will have an ongoing associated monthly cost)
You will likely also need some back office software, such as QuickBooks, in order to ingest all sales information your POS system gathers. Making sure your POS system and financial software are fully integrated will save you many headaches down the line.
When shopping around for a POS system, it’s always a good idea to get a product demo. Trying the system first-hand allows you to gauge its usability. When doing so, here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
- How easy will it be to train your staff on the system?
- What functions will you be using the most?
- Is making a transaction, a refund, tracking inventory, or other essential necessities a straightforward process?
- Will it be a smooth transaction both for your staff and for your customer?
- Does it have functions that can streamline processes in your business such as making orders to your suppliers, tracking deliveries and other logistical concerns, etc.?
- Is there anything on the interface that could potentially result in a bottleneck in your business?
Luckily, most SaaS POS systems are developed to be very user-friendly. However, testing out its nooks and crannies and envisioning its daily use in your business will really give you an idea if it’s the right system for you.
If you are working with a solution provider on the demo, be sure to provide as much relevant information as possible so they can help you make an informed decision. How many sales do you anticipate per day? How often will you need to re-stock? How many concurrent promos will you be running? Any good consultant will be able to steer you towards the right software for your business (not just the most expensive)
The number of POS products out there can be quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to their features. Nowadays, a POS system is no longer a glorified calculator. One of the most essential features that you need to consider when choosing your POS is its reporting capabilities. This will be very useful to get real-time information on your business’s performance. Some useful reports include net sales, top-selling items, inventory reorder, staff performance, frequent customers, average spend per customer, and much more. The fact that you can review these reports at any time with a click of a button will help in your decision making processes. For example, with being able to view what your top selling items are, you can make more informed decisions when reordering from your suppliers. In so many ways, the reporting capabilities of your POS transforms it from a passive transactional device to a proactive tool to optimize your business.
Another feature to keep in mind is integration. As a business, you may have some marketing initiatives lined up such as campaigns, sales, or other promotions through email or social media using platforms such as MailChimp. That said, being able to integrate these platforms with your POS will make things a whole lot simpler. For example, collecting customers’ email addresses during an in-store transaction will automatically add them to your MailChimp database, therefore expanding the reach of your campaigns. There may also be the option of integrating your POS to your online store, which will make it easier for you to set-up loyalty points that can be used online or in-store. This can help your business promote brand loyalty.
It goes without saying that a POS is crucial in a business’s operations. That said, any issues should be addressed immediately, whether it be a glitch or simply if your staff needs additional training. As stated earlier, with the SaaS model, technical support can now be done remotely and is usually just a matter of making a phone call. Thus, when choosing a POS system, inquire about what kind of support you can expect to be available to you and your staff.
Choosing the right POS system for your business can be overwhelming. And rightfully so, as it will be an integral part of your everyday operations. The things to keep in mind during when making your decision are its cost and what it covers, its usability, features, and support.
If you need help selection the right POS system, call us today!