In retail today, POS or point of sale systems are an essential part of creating compelling customer experiences. The efficiency of these machines and their software are integral to sustaining success for retail brands. Yet some studies have found that only 50% of single-store retailers have one. If you’re part of the segment of retailers that don’t have a modern POS, you're missing out on tremendous benefits and revenue opportunities.
For starters, having a good point of sale system enables you to ring up sales, so you can get paid. Beyond that, though, POS solutions can also help you stay on top of stock control, manage your customer relationships, and analyze valuable metrics in your business.
For these reasons, it’s essential that you select the best point of sale solution for your biz. Here are some of the factors to keep an eye on when shopping around for a solution.
Simplicity and ease of use are vital qualities to look for in a POS provider. Burdening yourself with technical complexities is not good practice in the retail industry. While extra POS features can be great, they can also drag retail professionals into much more technical and IT material than is logically necessary.
To that end, find a solution that’s intuitive and easy to use. A POS system should not be overly complicated and should be easily grasped by your team. Remember, you want the sale to be a smooth, seamless transaction for both your staff and the customer.
Good integrations are another essential quality to seek in a POS system. You’ll want to make sure that any POS you are interested in comes with excellent software add-on capabilities. This feature will make it possible to connect the use of your platform with customer rewards programs, appointment management, and accounting software.
A POS system that has poor potential for integration and is not compatible with your other programs is not going to be a good choice, as it will create extra work for you and your team.
A good POS provider will feature suitable third-party payment processing. An ideal POS system should offer you a variety of choices in this area, and allow you to accept multiple payment types in-store. Consumers today have several options when it comes to retail payments. In addition to traditional cash and credit cards, newer solutions, including mobile payments and "buy now, pay later" are rapidly gaining steam.
If you want to stay competitive, you'll want to look into these payment options to see if they're worth offering in your store. If the answer is "yes," then you'll need a POS that can support your payment processing requirements.
Aside from sales and marketing, inventory management is one of the most important aspects of retail. The efficiency of stock control practices like cycle counting can be enhanced with built-in inventory management features.
Part of the beauty of inventory management with a POS system is that you don’t have to manually sync your sales and inventory. Transactions will be logged in real-time so your records are automatically updated. This means additional time savings, not more mention better record-keeping.
Pricing inconsistency, product shortage aversion, and overhead reduction are all important advantages of inventory management capabilities in a POS system. When you have items selling fast, you need to be able to stay on top of buying merchandise.
POS systems can keep track of hot items and let you know which ones you should be ordering to stay ahead of a potential shortage. This keeps customers coming back and profits rolling in. Conversely, avoiding the accumulation of unnecessary, expensive, and potentially unmovable overhead is also made feasible by POS systems.
Finally, price inconsistency will be a thing of the past when you can use your POS to guide you on appropriate pricing based on past and current sales.
Reporting features are also good to have with a POS. Sales reporting and analytics produce significant and actionable information that can identify your top selling items. Once you know your highest selling products, you should focus on those items. They’ll be your bread and butter.
In addition to product analytics, customer reporting is another important feature to seek in your POS. This capability means that you can monitor who’s buying what and help identify your most valuable patrons and their favorite products.
Finally, look for a POS system that can offer up-to-the-minute data and insights. With real-time reporting, you won’t have to worry about manually keeping count of the inventory when certain items are selling like hot cakes.
Real-time reporting also means you can get updates on the performance of your business at any time, so you can make better and faster decisions. For instance, if you need to decide which items to buy while you're at a trade show, you can check out your latest reports and use those insights in your purchasing decisions.
You should also take the installation fees, proprietary, and ownership variables into consideration when shopping for a POS provider. For example, you will want to avoid leasing equipment; in addition to being more expensive, this can make it rather difficult to switch providers should the need arise.
Another thing to stay away from is POS equipment with proprietary hardware. This is best avoided much for the same reason as equipment leases. Unlike proprietary hardware, unlocked POS system hardware don't bring any major complications when switching providers and using different equipment.
In making the final decision on your POS purchase, you want to be secure in knowing that the system will be the best one to serve your needs. Retail is fiercely competitive and having the right equipment can help you stay ahead.
With the right POS system and provider, you’ll be stockpiling invaluable information, identifying your best-selling items, and making smarter decisions for your retail business all around. Trusted POS and inventory management providers like Vend are among the top leaders in this competitive industry and make an excellent choice for any retailer.