How to Choose the Best POS System for Retail
How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Retail Business
The appropriate POS is critical for your success, whether you are starting a retail business for the first time or as a seasoned entrepreneur. A point-of-sale (POS) system is the heart of a company and serves as more than a means for consumers to pay for their products. A good point-of-sale system combines and simplifies critical business activities and provides you with a constant data supply to help make educated business choices.
The right point of sale system is important for any retail business. While your POS system serves as a means for customers to pay for their purchases, it also serves as the backbone of your business. When you have a great POS system, you can combine and simplify critical business operations and receive a steady stream of data, including access to customer profiles, which you can use to make informed business decisions. A good POS system has the following features:
- Inventory tracking
- Employee management
- Sales reporting
- App integrations
- Customer management
Keeping track of inventory is essential to a retail business. While conventional inventory control is a complex and time-consuming process, a quality POS system can streamline the process. It’s not just a convenient payment option. Even if you have multiple locations, a POS offers advanced inventory features alongside centralized payment processing.
Modern POS systems calculate everything from sell-through rates and fill-in orders without confusing payment rates, to inventory turnover and gross margin return on investment (GMROI). It’s helpful to also choose a system that alerts you when you need to reorder, flags “dead” inventory in your store that’s not moving, and tracks both shrinkage and markdowns.
Are you properly staffed for sales? What should the schedule be for next week based on the sales forecast? A good POS system offers a basic set of employee management tools, including those that allow you to accurately track employee hours, which helps maintain accurate payroll calculations.
Look for a platform that connects staff with activity, such as at the register. When you connect sales staff with activity data, you’ll better understand how well each employee performs or underperforms.
Reporting functionalities are arguably the most important feature of your POS system for businesses. Instead of relying on educated guesses, use concrete data from the reports to help you make better decisions and increase your chances of increasing profits and sales.
The system you choose must offer customized reports that address the most critical aspects of your business, including sales performance, inventory levels, marketing campaigns, and employee utilization. By using these reports, you’ll have a clear picture of your company’s current state and the data you need to make any necessary adjustments.
While the software that comes with a quality POS system should offer you a variety of useful features, you also need to consider how it will integrate with third-party software. The integrations you need will depend on what tools you use today, and what tools you plan to use in the future. These integrations save a lot of time and money and help you streamline operations.
For example, your POS could integrate with your eCommerce store. Why? You’ll gain centralized orders and stock figures. If you integrate with programs like MailChimp and QuickBooks, you can create more robust email marketing and accounting capabilities. When choosing a system, make sure it includes the app integrations your business needs, or will need in the future.
Customer management solutions collect information about your customers’ purchase histories, which is important to identify your most valuable shoppers. Once identified, you can target shoppers with rewards, promotions, and discounts that encourage them to continue to give you their business.
When choosing a system, make sure the customer relationship management (CRM) tool used to track customer data meets your specific needs, whether you use email marketing to keep in touch with top customers or simply track purchase history.
The following are things you should consider when choosing a retail POS:
Set-up Cost and Compatibility with your Hardware
While the ongoing costs of a great POS are low, you should expect the initial setup costs to be higher. You’ll spend money on new cash drawers, barcode scanners, and other hardware if your chosen POS isn’t compatible with your current hardware. It can be intimidating to make your first hardware purchases. So, some providers offer hardware packages that include everything you need to get started.
Consider the Features you Need
As a retailer, the features you need differ from those of many other businesses. For this reason, ensure the system you select is equipped with sufficient features to help your company succeed. Make a list of the features you want and need from your POS before you start shopping to help focus your search.
Decide if You Want a Cloud-based POS System
A growing number of companies are moving their point-of-sale (POS) systems to the cloud. In contrast to traditional POS software, cloud-based POS software stores all of your data in the cloud—a digital space you can access at any time, from any location, as long as you have an internet connection.
Newcomers to the cloud may be concerned about security. Data in the cloud is encrypted, and the system service provider is responsible for decrypting it. With so many users’ data at risk, they must invest heavily in the best security available, which is usually far beyond the means of a single company.
Support for Business Growth
For the time being, you may be happy with just one brick-and-mortar store, but you never know how well or quickly your company will grow. If you want to expand your business, you may have to invest a significant amount of money in a new POS system because some POS systems limit the number of registers and outlets.
Some POS systems make adding a new register as easy as clicking a button. And, because everything is in the cloud, there are no networking fees. Once you’ve enabled all of your locations and registers, you’ll have access to all of your data from a single dashboard, allowing you to view it anywhere, anytime, across your entire retail operation.
Integration with Third-party Software
There are plenty of custom solutions and useful features to be found in point of sale software, but you should also look into how it integrates with third-party software. This could help streamline your business operations even more.
Integrations can save you a lot of time by eliminating the need for duplicate or even triple data entry. Instead, all of your customer data, accounting systems, and sales figures are stored in a single system. When you make an update once, the change filters through to all of your third-party software. For example, if your POS integrates with your marketing software, you will be able to use your main system’s customer data to send personalized emails and offers to your customers. Alternatively, your POS could be linked to your eCommerce store, making it easier to keep track of orders and stock levels in one place.
Many day-to-day business processes can be greatly simplified with the use of third-party integrations, so be sure to look into this when selecting a POS system.
The Usability of Your Chosen POS
A retail store business setup should not spend money on a business POS system that is difficult to use. A good POS has the ability to simplify a business process. Business owners should take particular care to find a system that is easy to use, simplifies business functions and daily operations without constantly consulting the manual. This is critical for a business to optimize productivity and establish a competitive edge. This is especially important in fast-paced environments or stores with higher than usual staff turnover.
A great, best-fit POS system alleviates business struggles and enhances credibility with customers. It even affects the happiness of your employees. A difficult system for crucial business operations can feel incredibly frustrating. One of the biggest overlooked benefits of a point of sale system is its effect on a company’s employee retention rates and keeping customers from having a bad cashiering experience.
Your company’s success depends on its ability to completely comprehend its own data. In other words, access to customer behavior and other data will help you make sound decisions. While the term “big data” may be overused, there’s no denying it’s important to company success—even for retailers. The more in-depth reporting options your chosen POS can provide, the more information you’ll have to fully understand your business and get the attention of customers. You’ll be able to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not!
BNG Point-of-Sale are POS solutions that improve your bottom line. With a full selection of POS systems for various businesses, you’ll find the right tool to grow your business with the personalized support you need. Connect with us to learn more.