Whether you are switching, growing, or newly setting up shop, here’s what to look for when choosing your POS.
A POS system in retail is much more than just a means to an end—collecting payments and processing transactions. It can also help you optimize your stock, buying habits and even sell more—all ways to increase your profit. If you choose wisely, that is.
We’ll take a look at what a POS system can do for you, and what to look out for specifically if you want your POS system to be a part of your journey to success, rather than only a tool.
No time to lose? This is what we’ll be covering in this article:
- We’ll walk you through what a POS system is and what it consists of. Spoiler alert: we’ll be focussing on the software side of POS systems.
- We’ll describe some of the benefits of a mobile POS system, one being that it is more flexible and suitable for retailers who are planning to grow.
- Then the main course: the five things you should look out for in a POS system.
- Business management software that matches your goals, skills, and needs. More features aren’t always better.
- Omnichannel selling capabilities: because why stick to only a physical store? Omnichannel features help you create great customer experiences, no matter where people show.
- Customer relationship management: personalization, loyalty programs and targeted campaigns—they all benefit from a POS system that collects valuable data on customers.
- Multi-store management: get ready for growth and save costs with a POS system that does the busywork for you.
- Advanced reporting: the more you know, the better your decisions will be. Find a POS that eliminates guesswork and gives you a clear picture on how well your business is performing across different fields.
What’s a POS system?
As a retailer, you know you will need a cash register of some sort if you run a physical shop. But what a lot of people don’t know is that a cash register can do much more than finalizing transactions.
POS stands for point of sale, and those systems are technologies used by businesses to accept payments from their customers—as far as the customer can tell.
In the background, it can also manage inventory and even order new stock. It keeps track of sales and how well your team is performing on the floor, including how many hours they’re working.
What does a POS system look like?
You might think that the description above requires a wide array of tools. But It’s simpler than that.
A POS system consists of hardware and software. The hardware is all the physical elements you and your customers use to finalize transactions. Laptops, tablets, phones, cash registers, you name it. The point of sale software is what runs behind that.
It’s important to note that nowadays POS systems often run on cloud-based servers, rather than coming with software that needs to be installed on each device. That has a lot of benefits for retailers and customers—one being that it is easy to expand.
Retailers can access their POS system from wherever, whenever. If they’re at an important business lunch and need to come up with sales stats on the spot, they could automatically generate real-time reports.
But it also allows them to manage other parts of their business from anywhere in the world. At the same time it also enables mobile checkout and payments and collects advanced customer data.
When looking at the software that comes with a POS, it’s important to know that it shouldn’t only be valuable to the business owner—it should make the lives of the employees a little easier as well. Each is equally important: if your employees can’t use a POS system properly, you won’t reap the benefits of its reporting skills either.
Key features to look for in a retail point of sale
So, what things should you look out for in a POS system if you’re trying to create a future-proof business? We’ll walk you through some important features to keep in mind if you want to level up your business.
1. Business management software
Look at the business management tools that come in a POS system’s software. What you should look out for:
- What types of features does it have for inventory management or scheduling? How easy are those tools to use? Does it require a lot of training?
- How well do these tools integrate with other tools you are using in your business? Will they save you time or will you be doing double work?
- What business management tools will you be needing in the future? Does this POS support that and/or what would it cost you to get the tools you need?
2. Omnichannel selling capabilities
Is your business transforming, or are you planning to focus more on online sales? Then you will want to go for a POS system that supports omnichannel sales. Better yet, one that makes them easier than ever.
A good omnichannel-ready POS will help you keep track of your inventory from all your stores and warehouses in one place, no matter where a sale was made. It enables you to offer in-store pickups and makes it easier for customers to see where they can get their products faster.
This part of your POS system is more customer-focused, but still helps you as a business owner. The main goal is to save time and have more accurate information available on stock, so you’ll never have to disappoint a customer with delayed deliveries or empty shelves.
3. Customer relationship management (CRM)
Data, data, data! Your POS system is what will help you get to know your customers even better. If you are trying to make more targeted campaigns, special offers or want to send out personalized marketing messages, your POS is a great place to start collecting data.
You should look for a POS system that lets you build a CRM database with the information that matters to you, such as shopping frequency, purchase history and favorite products.
With tools like these, you can build loyalty programs that your customers will love and that are always accurate. Chances are, it’ll pay off rather quickly: 83% of consumers state they’re more inclined to buy products from a business that offers a loyalty program.
59% of them would prefer one that is mobile app-based. No more walking around with dozens of paper cards to collect stamps for every purchase: they scan a barcode and always know when they’re due for a new offer.
4. Multi-store management
An important thing to look out for if you’re planning to go big instead of home the next few years: look for a POS system that offers multi-store management. The cloud-based servers of mobile POS systems offer the possibility to manage different stores from one location, and always have accurate data available, so they can work together and save money on unnecessary stock.
It can also make it easier to manage staff across various locations. If a customer shops in a different store than usual, you will still have the right information available to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Why not wait until the moment you need that and open your second store? Because the longer you have a POS system up and running, the more valuable data you will get out of it. Plus, your employees will also be comfortable working with it, which will save you money on training.
5. Advanced reporting
For real growth, you need to start making better-informed decisions, and for those, you need accurate, real-time and actionable data. If that’s totally your thing, look for a POS system that has advanced reporting features.
A POS system like that will be able to scrunch out a report on efficiency and profitability in no time, so you won’t be working based on guesswork or hunches.
It can help you identify what stores or even sales reps are underperforming, so you can create a plan of action to do better. It can also help you create better experiences for your customers, by helping you learn what payment methods they like, for instance.
These intuitive sales, inventory, and employee reports let you turn insights into action and help you run your business smarter.
Is your POS system ready to be replaced?
Don’t underestimate the power of a POS system that does more than process transactions. Even if it merely helps you save time, that’s more time you can spend with your customers and team to build a better brand.