Your Point Of Sale system is the like nervous system of your business. It literally controls everything. Any business owner with long-term success in mind realizes that their Point of Sale system is truly a fundamental building block in the business strategy. You need to be strategic in choosing a POS that will drive the success of your long-term growth as a company and comes from a provider that has a well defined vision of their product, and it’s future, to ensure your retail enterprise will stay competitive and relevant for years to come.
With so many options out there, how do you find the right POS system for your retail establishment?
It can definitely seem like quite an undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task as long as you keep in mind a few important points when considering your new POS. In addition to all of the functions and features a system can offer you, here are 10 more frequently overlooked topics that once you know about them will help you to maximize the value from your new POS system. Read on.
1. We can’t predict the future. But we do need to plan for it.
The most frequently overlooked point business owners make when searching for the best POS System is failing the consider the future of their business- what will it look like in 5 years? Will this system still be a good fit? Does it grow with you? Can it be upgraded easily and at what cost? Because of this, it is not only important to make sure you are getting all the features you need now, but also to consider the future outlook of the company that is offering you the product in the first place. What are your POS provider’s plans for future expansion? What does their profit ratio look like? It’s not going to do you any good to have a sleek new machine just to find out the company dissolved and can’t support you in the future.
Beyond the core features are there any management tools aimed specifically at your type of business? When you are looking into the core features make sure you take a minute to dig a little deeper. You know you need inventory management but how in depth is it and how easy is it to use? Yes, it needs to help you make the actual sale and take payments, track your inventory and orders, that is a given. But what are the other ways it will help you manage your business? Will it help you manage your staff and scheduling? When it comes to reporting, what kind of data can it prepare for you and how is that data getting it to you? What are your best sellers, and when are they being sold? When do you need to schedule more staff, or less? What percentage of your customers are new vs returning? How customizable are these reports to your specific needs? How is it getting this information to you? Do you have to log in and decide to run the report yourself, are there reminders you can set up or maybe you can schedule certain pertinent reports to be run and emailed to you at specific times of the month. All of this data isn’t doing you any good if you don’t use it, so what is the system doing to help to make sure you are maximizing it’s features?
3. In addition to reporting and analytics does it have any sales and marketing tools?
Sure you want your POS to be able to make sales, but it also really needs to be able to help you create sales. You want a POS system that features a robust CRM that can integrate with your current CRM to make sure customer information is transferred accurately and efficiently. Being able to implement email marketing and other customer loyalty functions help you to maximize customer engagement enabling you to generate repeat business from existing customers and also increase your customer base. This includes things like being able to send email receipts- you might not think to ask if it has this capability but you would be missing out the chance to be green and cut down on paper use as well as build an email list for your marketing efforts. In this era of retail operation customer management, loyalty programs and social media presence extrapolating all of this useful data is a must.
Which brings us to the gift card or loyalty program. Because of course you have one, right? You need to make sure you ask if this is something that comes with the system or if you will have to go out and find one, and when you do, will it integrate with your POS?
4. “Time is Money” said everybody.
Ease of use and speed is just as important as all of the super nifty features. It is important to gauge how intuitive to your processes the system can be. Remember the salesman giving you the demo has done this a thousand times. Of course he can make it look like a piece of cake but how intuitive are the functions really? When the salesman goes are you going to be able to easily hop on and repeat what they showed you and how quickly will your employees be able to master it?
5. Think outside the box.
Is it an all encompassing platform or will you have to find 3rd party vendors for certain processes and then integrate with them? Speaking of integration how well will it integrate with other facets of business such as bookkeeping or vendors spreadsheets as well as data from your supply chain? Can you expect automatically updated inventory? When you are learning about everything it can do be sure to ask what types of things it won’t be able to do for you.
Is it Cloud based or on-premise? Does it rely on the internet in order to function properly? What if the internet goes down? Is there a backup plan for offline functions? Actually performing your day to day business is the most important thing so you have to make sure that you can do that no matter what. While Cloud Based is the most secure and flexible option today, it is important to make sure that you can still operate business and that your information is protected even when it is offline.
7. Beyond implementation, a map for success.
When it comes to implementation- make sure there is an actual success plan. These systems are complex and offer many features that if you are not using you won’t really be able to realize the full potential of your system. Don’t allow your implementation plan stop at implementation. Technical support, training and software upgrades are easily overlooked. Many POS providers glass over this part telling their merchants that it “will all be installed for them and up and running in no time” and most business owners accept that it will. Don’t. A successful implementation plan should include managing the whole project and the various aspects of the project. Everything from installation to making sure you are getting the right amount of training for your staff. From database coordination to providing you with consultations and continued follow-up after implementation need to be covered thoroughly. Does your success plan include continual support after the sale? Will there be ongoing training? Are there any additional services they offer such as success coaching or conferences you can attend to further your engagement? All of this really points to what kind of customer service they provide, the next important and often overlooked consideration.
8. Customer support- this isn’t just a one time sale.
The POS provider you choose should be considered an integral part of your ongoing success and you better make sure they are going to be there for you for the long haul. If this system is going to work for you and grow with you then you are going to need ongoing updates, add-ons and features and the training that goes with it so that you can make the most of your system.
9. Is the POS system reseller and installer QIR certified?
You must insist that the person who installs your new system is a QIR Certified installer. Studies show that “Insecure POS implementation and servicing by integrators and resellers.” is the direct cause of 93% of payment data breaches. The security of your business information and your customer’s private data depends on it.
Do they offer a POS system that will integrate with your current processor or any processor you may want or are they going to require you to use their processing? It’s imperative that you think this through carefully. While it might seem right now that you are happy to process with them or their preferred provider, what about the future? What if the rates start to skyrocket through the roof, customer service just isn’t there and you find you want to change? You won’t be able to, you are stuck and they can charge you whatever they want.
Beyond the bells and whistles-the RIGHT retail POS system performs.
As a retail business owner you are operating in a complex, high volume environment. You aren’t looking to be wowed by some fancy presentation that glasses over a bunch of bells and whistles. You are looking for a robust and intuitive POS system that actually performs.
At the end of the day you know more about what you need than anybody. Having a good idea of where your business is headed in the future will help you to make sure that your POS system is scalable and will grow with your business. Start making a list of your daily processes and each of the features you absolutely know you need and be sure to include features you have wished you had or will want in the future. This way when the presentation is over you won’t forget to ask about features that may not have been highlighted.
Trust me, once you do that, armed with this list of commonly overlooked points when looking for a new POS system you will have the edge you need to make the best decision. If you’d like to find out more about which retail POS systems we love, don’t hesitate to give us a call today, as always your success IS our success.