The days of point of sale systems being glorified calculators to process payment transactions and calculate tax and change are far behind us. Today, point of sale systems are sophisticated networks of hardware and software technologies—all working together to make your business more efficient and secure. Indeed, the right point of sale system can do a lot to drive the growth and success of your business. The key word in that sentence, though, is “right,” as not all point of sale technologies will be ideal for every business.
Standard Features for a Quality POS
Ultimately, you will have to think about the factors that make your business unique. What are your processes and how are they different from another company’s processes? Needless to say, a point of sale system for a bar won’t be the same as something Retail Management Solutions (a POS for pharmacies) provides, because these two types of businesses have very different needs. Before we focus on differences, though, let’s focus on similarities. Specifically, let’s talk about the standard features on point of sale systems that virtually every business will need.
The commonalities in point of sale systems can both simplify and complicate shopping for a POS. On one hand, most decent POS systems will have a standard set of features that matches up with items on your “must-have” list. These functions include inventory management, customer data collection, quick payment processing, and robust security. All of these features can lend a hand in helping your business grow. Being able to track and manage your inventory tells you which items are selling, which is useful for everything from marketing to knowing when you need to restock. Customer data collection allows you to understand your customers and create better customer retention, including coupons and rewards programs. Quick payment processing accelerates the flow of your business, cuts down on lines at the checkout counter, and improves customer satisfaction. Strong security and encryption help protect your business from the costly data breaches that can alienate customers and damage your brand image.
Needless to say, you aren’t going to want to go without any of these features. Even though characteristics like these are relatively standard in modern point of sale systems, you still can’t overlook or underestimate them. Your search for the perfect POS might involve looking for other more unique inclusions, but you should still evaluate each point of sale system based on the four features listed above. All of them have the power to make or break your company’s five-year plan.
The Importance of Finding a POS That is Geared Toward Your Business
With all that said though, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all point of sale system. Businesses take orders in different ways, carry different products, operate in different industries, and serve diverse groups of clients and customers. A POS that claims to be a universal solution for any retail business is going to fail you because it won’t be geared enough toward your needs and your ways of doing business.
That’s not to say you need a POS that is “customized,” but you should have one that fits your business like a glove. To find that point of sale system, you will need to do your homework. Consider these two tips along the way:
- Search for an industry-specific POS: Not all industries or business types will have a POS that is entirely geared toward them. The point of sale system market, like anything else in our capitalist society, is driven by supply and demand. As a result, if your business is situated in a more niche-based industry, then you might have trouble finding a company that builds POS systems with your industry in mind. Still, it’s worth a look, as an industry-specific POS will have most of the features you need to be built right into the software. In other words, it won’t be a custom POS, but it will be close.
- Remember compatibility and integration: Buying a POS system is about more than just going on Google and finding a piece of software that looks good. You will need to shop for software and find hardware (card scanners, cash registers, etc.) that is compatible with the software. If you have an e-commerce store, you will have to determine whether or not your POS system can integrate with it. Making sure all of the different pieces of your system can work together in harmony.
If you can find an industry-specific POS that integrates well within your business and has all of the features you need, you will notice the impact immediately. Finding the “right” point of sale system creates a business where everything runs together more seamlessly, where employees are better equipped to assist customers, and where customers are happier. Sure, strong marketing campaigns, real customer outreach, and beneficial partnerships can grow your brand, but there is arguably no growth driver as pivotal as finding the perfect POS.