What is a POS System?
Gone are the days of using paper, pen, and a simple cash register to keep track of your business. As the world has become digitized, so too have the tools used to manage your store. The term “point of sale” has grown as well, transforming from the transaction stage between customer and cashier to software meant to provide in-depth feedback on your company.
A “point of sale” (POS) system is a type of software that is installed on a device, such as a computer or tablet, and sometimes refers to the hardware itself. POS systems perform many tasks, such as accepting payments, retrieving product prices, and finalizing sales, including taxes and discounts. Not all POS systems are equal–some specialize in only one industry, such as food and beverage, while others are able to perform a variety of tasks to streamline your business.
What Features Do I Need?
Consider what’s important to your success. Would not having a certain feature hinder your business? Are some not relevant at all?
Common features business owners look for:
- Inventory Control: Easily import product details, such as UPC codes, into the software. Edit descriptions, cost, price, category, and other defining characteristics like product images. Group similar products together using categories and variants. Track inventory between stations (registers) and locations to ensure stock is accurate.
- Employee Management: Let multiple employees use the software. Ability to create profiles with security measures and time tracking.
- Customer Information: Keep name and contact info on hand. Pull up purchase history to identify buying habits.
- Online Store Capability: Synchronize products, orders, transactions, and discounts to a webstore.
- In-Depth Reports: Chart your business’s strengths and weaknesses, such as sales growth during a certain period of time and most popular products.
- Hardware Necessities: Able to scan, print, and load information efficiently, such as retrieving information tied to barcodes.
Other Questions to Consider
As you continue your POS analysis, consider the following questions to help point you in the right direction.
- How easy is it to use the software? If you’re going to train a team of employees or those not familiar with POS systems, will they be comfortable using the software and the hardware? What learning curves might they face?
- Can you bring your own processor to accept credit, debit, and other methods, or are you tied to what they offer? If you do keep your own processor, can it accept newer payment types such as contactless payments?
- How much are you willing to invest? Are you encouraged or required to use the hardware they offer, such as computers, label and receipt printers, and barcode scanners?
- Are you expected to learn the software on your own? If so, are there enough resources to help you, such as a knowledge base or forum?
- Is there a support team available over the phone and online to help you within reasonable business hours?
Keeping these thoughts in mind can help you identify the right point of sale for you, your requirements, and your goals.