If you run a business, you know you need to find the best Point of Sale (POS) systems to meet your ever-changing needs. But, finding the right one for your niche can be challenging. An accurate understanding of how this software could potentially impact your business is vital.
There is a reason behind all the fanfare surrounding POS systems, and that’s because the way we conduct business has had a significant paradigm shift since the advent of the internet. Everything is mobile and fast.
And, if your business cannot keep up with this shift, it could potentially harm your bottom line. In fact, the right POS system could possibly revolutionize your company. Here’s how.
What is a point of sale system?
A POS systems is made up of a hardware and software working together. The end result is an application that uses transactions data to streamline day-to-day operations of your business.
In short, your POS system should be one of the central hub of managing your business because it combines several different managerial components into one application. It does more than just process payments. It uses the data from each transaction to make managing your business much simpler.
How can my business benefit from a POS system?
The beauty of a POS system is that is can be used in almost any business and can make getting paid so much more straightforward.
Suppose you own a traditional retail store. A POS system can make the checkout process a breeze. This is especially true considering that most POS systems can be integrated with most common devices including laptops, tablets, and even smartphones.
If you are an artist that sells your products at art fairs over the summer, you can use a mobile POS system to accept debit and credit cards. And let’s face facts, most people these days will tend to avoid carrying cash in favor of credit card.
Now imagine that you own a restaurant, a POS system like that offered by eHopper can completely change the way you run your business. Anyone that has worked in the restaurant business knows that there are few things more angst-inducing than having tickets start to pile up. You feel like you have no control and that the tickets are flying everywhere.
With a POS system, you can manage all your orders and even track them. This will give your business unparalleled communication between front of the house and back of the house.
Core Software Features
If you are excited about the possibility of upgrading your current systems for a POS system, there are a few things that you need to consider before taking the plunge. Specifically, you should be looking out for some software features that are essential to getting the most from your POS system.
First and probably the most obvious, your POS system should be able to process payments. This would include processing credit, cash, and any other form of payment your business might want to accept.
Another essential feature of a POS system -if it applies to your particular business- is inventory management. In the past, you would have a couple of options when it came to inventory management. You could either count your inventory manually, as was the case with many small businesses, or you could invest large sums of cash in purchasing a complex inventory management system.
Neither of these options is either feasible or affordable. That is where the beauty of a POS system can come in to play. Many POS systems have integrated inventory management. This means that your POS system will track the entering and exiting of inventory for you.
One other exciting POS feature that many systems include is customer management. Again, much like the inventory management systems of the past, you would also typically need to purchase a Customer Relationship Management software to keep track of all your customers and their needs.
Many POS systems now have customer management integrated. It makes perfect sense considering that the system that can best track your customer’s spending patterns is going to be the POS system.
Knowing what is going on with your business at any time can be an extremely challenging part of being a business owner or a manager. Undoubtedly, the best way to get a sense of the health of your business is to run reports that can provide you with the data you need to make the best decisions. As you can imagine, reporting is another feature that many POS systems now offer.
By having your POS system give you reports, you can identify areas of success and areas where you might need to improve. Furthermore, by running reports routinely, you and your staff can benchmark results and try to improve them day by day, or week by week.
There are other exciting features that POS systems offer, including staff management. You are not always present to make sure your staff is doing the job they are getting paid for. However, POS systems can help you get a better sense of what is happening when you are not looking.
For example, if you have two cashiers and want to know how they are performing, you can check the POS system to view how many sales they have had. This is a great way to track their performance and, if they are falling behind, try involving them in getting them to improve their work.
If one cashier is seeing 20% fewer customers than her peer, you might have a polite conversation with them about their shortage and offer suggestions on how they might improve their work. You can also let them know how many customers they helped in the past week and agreed to meet in one week to recheck the numbers.
In this way, the system gives you tangible numbers that you can use to improve your worker’s performance and, consequently, your business.
Must-Have POS Hardware
Like any type of computer application, the right POS hardware is crucial. When you are looking for the best POS system for your business consider the following hardware requirements.
As you can imagine, a register screen is an essential piece of hardware that you will need to use your POS system. Many POS systems allow you to use a variety of register screens ranging from the traditional desktop PC display all the way to a tablet or a smartphone. Again, this depends on the type of POS system that you purchase. Some even provide you with quite impressive hardware options.
EMV Compliant Credit Card Terminal
You will also need an EMV compliant credit card terminal with your POS system. What in the world is an EMV compliant credit card terminal? Don’t worry; it’s not as fancy as you might think. You know that stripe on the back of your credit card? Well, that is pretty old technology.
The new technology that is replacing it is the EMV, also known as the chip card. At this point, most of us have come across the chip card as most major credit card companies and financial institutions are moving towards them.
The reason they are doing this is that they are a lot more secure. That’s why it is so crucial that your POS system can accept this type of card.
Another needed piece of hardware is the cash register. Obviously, if your business does not work with cash, then this piece might not be required. For most companies, this is a requirement.
You will also likely need a receipt printer as your customers will need proof of their purchase. If you are in the restaurant business, then a kitchen printer would also be a requirement.
The last piece of hardware that is required is a barcode scanner. Again, this is especially true for businesses that sell retail and need a fast way to ring up items. As you can see, a POS system does not require having a separate room filled with IT hardware. It is a rather efficient and compact system.
Now that you are relatively familiar with a POS system, what it offers, and what it requires, there are a few questions you should ask to make sure you choose the best option out there.
Does the POS system offer the core hardware and features noted above?
A commitment to a POS system is no small feat. You will need to install the system and learn how it works. Aside from the capital requirements at first, remember that there will also be time requirements that you might not be factoring in. That is why it is essential to choose the correct all-in-one POS system. Specifically, you need a system that offers all the features and the hardware mentioned earlier.
Is the system user-friendly to train your staff?
This is another example of that intangible expense that we often overlook. Training staff requires time, effort, and patience. Have you ever worked with a complicated software where you were ready to pull your hair out? That is precisely why finding a POS system that is user-friendly is so important. You need something that your staff will learn fast so that you can start enjoying all of the benefits of the system.
Does the POS system offer customer support?
There is no price you can put on the ability to know that if you need to, you can pick up the phone and call someone for help. When you are researching POS systems, customer support is one of those areas that could make a tremendous difference between a system that meets your needs and one that causes ongoing headaches.
Can it support multiple locations or registers if you decide to grow your business?
If you are running your business well, the odds are that you will want to expand at some point. A POS system that doesn’t grow with you is going to turn what was once a benefit to your business into an operational nightmare. It is incredibly important to know that whichever system you are looking into can grow and scale alongside your business.
What is the cost?
Perhaps the most asked question related to a POS system is the cost. The reality is that it can vary greatly depending on what you are looking for and the size of your business. You might even find a free POS out there. Ultimately, you will have to balance out the expense with the features that the system offers and your business needs.
Does the POS system offer a free trial or plan to test drive?
Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving, the same is true for a POS system. Look for a system that allows you to try out all the features to see if it is a good fit for your business.
Are there any hidden fees?
It seems that lately every business has hidden fees somewhere or other. Be sure that you are reading the fine print when looking into different POS systems. The last thing you need is to find a hidden fee after you have committed to using a POS system.
Does it offer mobile capabilities?
Depending on your business, you might want to consider mobile capabilities. Many POS systems offer you the ability to take your business on the road. If this is something that might apply to your business, make sure that the POS system you are looking into offers this feature.
By now you should have a good idea of what a POS system is and the kind of system that would work for your business. There are many options out there that you can try, but eHopper offers all the features and benefits that you are looking for. Whatever your business needs, they probably can help you. Plus, you can try eHopper for free!