What to Look for in a Retail POS System
Modern, fully-integrated point of sale (POS) systems has only been around for a matter of years, but they’re already on track to universally replace antiquated tools like cash registers and hand-written receipts. When they were first introduced, modern POS systems were marketed primarily to large chains and corporations. Now, the technology is so affordable that even small businesses just getting off the ground can afford to invest in it.
Small business owners have different needs than giant corporations, though. They have to find POS solutions that suit those needs without breaking the budget. Read on to find out what small business owners should look for in a retail POS system to make an informed purchasing decision.
- Industry-Specific Features
Businesses across a wide variety of industries use POS systems. Retail store owners should look for a system that is designed specifically for clients with their needs. Retail POS systems often have added features like retail gift card processing, mobile payment integration, inventory management tools, and loyalty programs that aren’t always necessary in other business environments. Those interested in a POS system should write down a list of all their stores’ unique needs to make sure that any service they’re investigating will check all the boxes.
- Contact-Free Payment Processing
More customers than ever are taking advantage of contact-free payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay. They allow customers to pay for their goods without ever having to come into contact with high-touch surfaces, making life easier for consumers and vendors alike. Contact-free payments are only possible if business owners choose POS systems capable of accepting mobile payments.
Apple Pay has only been around since 2014, but over half of Apple users have already made the switch. Ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic are acting as a driving force behind mobile payments, with more consumers opting to patronize stores that offer this method. Stores that can’t accept contact-free payment methods could get left behind.
- Cloud-Based Technology
There are two kinds of software services for POS terminals: on-premises systems and cloud-based software. These days, successful business owners almost always opt for cloud-based POS solutions, and there are plenty of good reasons to jump on board with that trend.
Cloud-based POS systems can be accessed securely from anywhere. They’re easy to update and maintain. They provide enhanced security. Plus, cloud-based software makes scaling up as the business grows a simple matter of signing up for a different plan instead of upgrading the entire system.
- Ease of Use
Modern POS systems can increase employee productivity and satisfaction rates, but only if cashiers can actually figure out how to use them. The retail industry is already known for high employee turnover rates. Installing a user-friendly POS system that makes cashiers’ lives easier instead of harder will go a long way toward boosting employee retention, improving worker productivity, and ensuring that customers also have an excellent checkout experience every time they enter the store.
- Advanced Inventory Tracking
Gone are the days when ordering managers had to waste countless hours checking inventory levels by hand. Now, they can rely on fully integrated POS systems to keep track of ordering and sales and simply check the data to get real-time updates on inventory levels.
Not all POS systems come with fully integrated advanced inventory tracking software. Retail store owners would be making a big mistake by assuming that means it’s not a necessity. It is.
- Advanced Data Reporting and Analytics
One of the great things about upgrading to a modern POS system is that it makes analyzing consumer and employee data much easier. That’s only true if business owners find a service provider capable of offering advanced data reporting.
Good POS systems track all transactions, from sales to returns, and present them to managers in an easy-to-understand format. Cloud-based service providers also back up data and allow managers with access permissions to view it from any Internet-capable device. Easy access to customer data simplifies business owners’ lives by ensuring that they can check on current store activity, develop targeted marketing plans, and identify potential areas for improvement.
- Fast Transaction Speeds
Today’s customers don’t want to wait in long lines. They expect to enter the store, find what they need, and check out with ease. A good retail POS system can speed up transaction times to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
Ease of use also plays a role in transaction times. If new cashiers are unable to get up to speed within a reasonable training period, the fastest servers in the world won’t do customers any good. Make sure the system is both fast and easy to use so that cashiers can give every customer the attention he or she deserves without creating a backup.
- Third-Party Software Integration
Fully integrated POS systems take care of everything from inventory management to customer loyalty program tracking, but they can’t do it all unless they also offer third-party software integration. The most important extra feature to look for in a POS system is accounting software integration. If the POS system can automatically import relevant data to QuickBooks and other types of accounting software, it will save business owners a lot of time and headaches come tax season.
- Amazing Customer Support
Even the best POS system won’t do business owners any good if it isn’t backed up by industry-leading customer support. When cashiers or managers encounter problems with their POS systems, it costs them time and money. Technological issues on the service provider’s end can also lead to unnecessary downtime. Make sure the service provider offers 24/7 customer support so any issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.
The Bottom Line
Upgrading an aging POS system is one of the best investments that a small business owner can make. Cloud-based POS services make it easy to analyze customer and employee data, keep track of inventory, and ensure optimal worker and customer satisfaction rates. POS service providers who focus on small businesses tend to offer scalable solutions at affordable prices, and many have specialized packages just for retail store owners. Find a reputable service and sign up today.