Running a small or medium business comes with multiple and complex challenges—trying to stay competitive and profitable on slim margins, keeping track of inventory and shipments across multiple locations, tracking employee hours and commissions, processing payments of all types, and staying on top of what’s selling and what’s not and why, to name just a few.
You’re at an enormous disadvantage if you are trying to run your retail operation manually and stay efficient and profitable. Time is money, and the more time spent on manual processes is more money spent. Having a great POS system will streamline your operations so you can better serve your customers, while saving you time and money.
POS: Then & Now
It wasn’t very long ago that a small business’ point of sale system amounted to a cash register, hand written paper receipts and ledgers. Proprietors relied on hand counting inventory and reconciling paper receipt trails. Time consuming and error prone work.
Good business owners were the brains of the operation, storing the necessary and critical information in their heads—they knew their customers and their preferences, knew pricing and margins inside and out, had good recollection of their inventory, and didn’t have to keep track of many employees.
But the bigger and more complex their operations grew so did the headaches and the staff needed just for accounting and dealing with the complexities of multiple locations, product variations and seasonal rotations, etc. More time and manpower was spent on back office matters than on serving customers.
Fast forward to the present and the modern point-of sale system: software running on the latest tablets and smartphones integrated with inventory scanners, credit card readers, receipt printers, and the almost outmoded cash drawer.
The POS is now the center of store operations—from managing inventory to amassing in-depth data on products, sales and customers—providing up to the minute snapshots of the entire business and the means to drill down deep and analyze that data. The POS is the best way to streamline store processes and lower costs while ensuring the best customer experience and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
Things have certainly changed. Or have they? Today, over 60% of small businesses don’t use a POS system! They haven’t adopted them because of costs, or fear of adding too much complexity to their business, or the right system that addresses their specific needs isn’t available or affordable. That means there are thousands of retailers struggling to stay competitive and stay afloat, working manually or partially so, in 2015. Are you one of them?
Why is it Important to Have a POS Now?
Margins are getting tighter, business is getting ever more complex, and competition is fierce, not just with other small retailers but with giant chain retailers and the manufacturers themselves. Small and medium businesses are at a disadvantage and there’s no time to waste on out dated, time consuming, manual processes. To stay competitive and profitable retailers must:
- Provide fast, efficient service and the best possible retail experience
- Carry the right stock and never run out
- Know customer preferences and buying habits
- Connect and interact with customers through all channels including mobile
- Be able to reward loyal customers
- Track sales easily
- Take payments of any kind, seamlessly
- Get instant insight into every aspect of their business, for the best decisions, fast
Investing in the right POS can save retailers an enormous amount of time as well as money in reduced overhead costs, staffing, and errors from double entry, just to name a few. As a retailer, ask yourself, can you afford not to have a POS?
Which Factors to Consider When Choosing a POS?
Ease of use let’s face it, it has to be simple enough to use, and easy and fast for staff to learn for it to be effective. Its purpose and advantage is speeding your processes and saving you money, not slowing you down and dragging your profits with it.
A great POS should be intuitive to use, logical in flow and able to guide sales and staff through the right order of steps seamlessly. Is it Modular? A great POS should have the features your business needs and not burden you with and charge you for extras you don’t.
Every business is unique, the needs of a small boutique differ from that of a quick serve restaurant or a mid sized wireless retailer. One size does not fit all. Your POS should be able to grow with you as your business grows, giving you the features you need, when you need them.
Reporting & Analytics Know thyself. Reporting is the lifeblood of your business. Complete visibility across your business and its locations as well as insight into revenue and costs is essential. The ability of the POS to provide every type of business data instantly is one of its great advantages.
Small and medium sized businesses can be more competitive than bigger retailers because they can respond to changes in the business environment and make adjustments faster. Having the data from reporting at your fingertips makes you that much more nimble.
A great POS will have realtime reporting that provides instant actionable information on your key performance indicators.
Counting inventory manually is inefficient and error prone. A good POS gives you complete visibility into stock levels at any time. Inventory should be quickly and easily entered / scanned in and updated automatically with every sale, return and exchange. Success hinges on having the right stock at the right time.
Carrying the wrong stock depletes cash flow; being out of stock or not being able to find the stock when and where you need it is a sure way to lose the sale and your customer’s business. A great POS has inventory management with alerts to inform you when you’re low on stock, can be set to reorder automatically, generating and sending purchase orders, and lets you monitor your supply chain in realtime.
Knowing your customers, their habits and preferences is imperative as well as advantageous. It allows you to identify how much they spend, what they like and what they’ve purchased so you can suggest other complementary products, offer incentives and even reward their loyalty.
With it, you can easily alert them to new or sought after products and their arrival dates. Point of Sale Let’s not forget the actual point of sale where the transaction takes place. A great POS makes checkout a breeze by automating item lookup, pricing and discount codes.
It also eliminates human error from manual entry as well as fraud. Integrated payment allows you to take credit cards, checks, cash or coupons easily as part of the transaction process. The point of sale is one of the most important customer touch points and is the last thing they’ll remember.
Mobile POS allows staff to provide personalized service, every step of the way on tablet, from anywhere in the store. Fast service and simplified transactions reduce lines and wait times, and are a win-win for customers and retailers.
Keeping track of employee time is a time and money saver. This feature simplifies scheduling, giving both staff and management easy access. It can track hours and locations, and alert you to employee overtime. Increased visibility leads to more accurate budgeting and payroll forecasting.
A great POS will also export data for payroll. These are the must haves for the, what should now be clear, must have POS. Whatever the size or type of your business, you can’t afford to do business without a POS. Give your business the advantage of a great POS.
eHopper POS is the new, Free POS of choice that’s tailored for small and medium sized businesses. It’s simple to learn, easy to use and you can add on more features as your operation grows. No business or restaurant is too small. Whatever the size or type of your business, one thing should be clear: you can’t afford to do business without a POS.
Give your business the advantage of a great POS. Try eHopper POS for free or call now: 212-651-8911