Buying or replacing a point-of-sale-system (POS) can be a significant source of stress for any retail merchant, regardless of the size of the business. Because the retail world has its share of daily challenges, asking the right questions when acquiring a new IT solution proves essential.
When selecting a POS for your business, follow these simple steps and take the worry out of your decision-making process:
1. Identify your needs
Beyond billing, POS systems can have a broad range of features for all types of retail businesses. In terms of features and services, identifying which business requirements the POS has to address is crucial. Whether for inventory management, reporting or price control, point-of-sale software can handle a wide variety of needs. If you are considering replacing your POS, pinpoint the issues that you face daily and make note of any feature you would like to have or see improved.
2. Set your budget
A new point of sale is a major investment for any merchant. The price range for POS systems can vary greatly due to several factors, for example the size of your business, the type of IT infrastructure required, the number of users, and the physical components (touch screen, keyboard, etc.).
A piece of advice: selecting a low-priced POS simply to save a few dollars on the spot can make you lose much more in the long run than you might think. Excessively cheap solutions are not sold at a fire-sale price without reason. Many products, whether software or hardware, are often not appropriate for your industry sector nor designed to meet its specific needs.
3. Learn about the different types of solutions
A point of sale must be powerful and efficient. To meet these criteria, it should be reliable, sustainable, and provide a comprehensive set of features. You must also be able to answer the following questions before selecting a new POS:
- Is it compatible with your existing solution?
- What features does it offer?
- Can you add new options to make it more efficient as your needs evolve?
- Is it suited to your industry sector, for example pet stores, garden centres, or hardware stores and lumber yards?
- Does it effectively safeguard data?
4. Try before you buy
Once your research is well under way and your needs are clearly identified, it is time to take action. There is no better way to test POS systems than to request demos and try them yourself.
You can also test them out at specialized trade shows and conventions. Pay special attention to the speed, simplicity and usability of the solution.
5. Take a close look at the after-sales service
Customer service is of paramount importance, and this is just as true for software. Make sure that the company you are considering doing business with provides adequate support in case of problems or system failure, whether by phone, online or in person.
Because working with a new POS usually requires some time getting used to, the company should be able to provide training and appropriate user guides.
6. Bear in mind the reputation
How much do you know about POS vendors? Inquiring about the reputation of the companies you are considering is essential. Are they long-established or startups? What is their level of expertise? Are they familiar with your business reality, industry and market? Opting for a financially sound company is a sure bet.
Choosing the right point of sale will have a positive impact on your employees, as evidenced in this testimonial, and it can only benefit the very reason your business exists: your customers.