Your POS system is arguably one of the most important elements of your business. Many business owners spend a lot of time and effort developing their actual business model and product but look at their POS system and merchant account as almost an after thought. It takes patience and due diligence to pick the best solution for your needs now and into the future, but you will definitely reap the rewards if you do. Today we will go over some of the common mistakes business owners make when choosing a new POS system and give you some tips on how to make the whole process much easier.

Probably one of the first and foremost things to consider is where your business is going, and how it will be growing. If you are not considering the future, the potential growth of your business, you will not be able to choose a POS system that will fit into that picture. POS systems can be a significant investment and the best way to realize ROI is to choose one that includes options for upgrades and growth that also comes along with ongoing training and support. Which also means that you want to choose a POS system from a provider who has a clear vision of how their own company is growing and how their products will grow and improve in the future. Are they making plans for future advancement? What steps are they taking or market trends are they watching? Many companies offer ongoing training and resources that are free, business owners just need to take advantage of these benefits.

In order to choose the right POS system, you must first know yourself.

Once you have a clear idea of what the big picture looks like for your business you will need to decide if you want a system that is Cloud based or on-premise. There are arguments for both. Cloud based systems are accessible from anywhere you want it to be leading to more flexibility, time saving and can even save you money. These are usually points that are very important to business owners today. Cloud based software usually comes with free upgrades and regular updates and bug fixes, making sure you are always operating at peak performance. Cloud based options offer scalability that on-premise solutions just can’t compete with. As a business grows and changes with the times, an on-premise solution can become dated leaving you with no option but to upgrade again. Cloud based systems tend to be much more flexible and can easily grow as your business grows.

Don’t forget to consider what will happen if your system goes down. Most systems have the ability to continue to operate offline storing the information until which time it is back up and running where it will push the sales information through. Always have a back up plan. Good options would include making sure you have a phone line based terminal that could be plugged in to allow you to process credit cards in the event the internet goes down and having a “knuckle buster” on hand to manually create an impression of the credit card. This is a great idea but it relies on trust from a customer’s perspective since you are recording all of their credit card information. Planning for the inevitable will always make the inconvenience go much smoother.

Know what you need it to do. It is not enough to think you know what you want. Make a list of basic needs, then dig deeper, drill down and break apart each of the functions to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. 

When you consider the sales process you’ll soon realize that it is a process that always comes full circle.  First is the sale itself which ultimately leads to the actual checkout process. Next is how that information interacts with your inventory, tracking and handling product reorders. Then there are your sales and tax reports that will need to be generated from all of those sales. And finally to the management of each customer and the marketing tools available to reach out to them, which brings us back to your customer making that repeat sale. We go much more into detail about each specific feature available in a good POS in our last article. You will soon find that the more you think about it the more you realize your POS system actually acts like a very intuitive personal assistant. email receipts loyalty program

You are most likely not going to get every single thing your heart desires, but this way you can make sure you get almost everything and be more aware of what you are going to have to live without.

Now that we’ve considered the software it’s time to think about hardware. Keep in mind any and all hardware you use in your business that may need to interact with your POS software. Things like bar-code scanners, cash drawers and printers will all need to be taken into account. Will it be compatible? Will you need to upgrade those items and what will the investment be? Make  a list of these items, including all model names and model/serial numbers, this will make it much easier to check to make sure they will easily integrate with your new POS system.

Does your POS system work miracles or just hang out on the counter?

Ease of use is just as important as functionality. Honestly, your system could create miracles but it wouldn’t do anybody any good if you can’t figure out how to make it do it! Make sure you have the opportunity to put the thing to the test prior to the sale. I know it is hard to take the time but you will be much happier if you actually touch and feel all of the functions to make sure the system works the way you have envisioned (or the salesman has promised).

Don’t forget to consider the actual transition to the new system. Most of the time business owners are so relieved to have finally picked a system and so excited to get it up and running that they forget to think about what the implementation and training for their employees will actually look like, or how long it will take. What kind of support are they willing to provide to you and your employees to make sure they are comfortable with the functions? The implementation team should fully explain, in writing, how they will facilitate the transfer of all customer data, inventory, suppliers, and any employee or payroll information.  Make sure to set aside the time needed for you and your employees to learn the system and feel comfortable with it. Obviously, when this goes as smooth as possible the better you are going to feel about your purchase.

The next decision you need to make is how much control you would like to have over taking payments in the first place. What you may not know is that many POS system sales companies have chosen to partner with a certain processor. Meaning that if you buy their system you must also use their processor for your merchant account payment processing. The problem with this is that you have a lot less control over your fees. Also, it is important to point out that all processors are not created equal. Every processor out there does not have the same products, or options. Processors create relationships with different banks. Some processors can do account types that others cannot. They have negotiated bank rates that others may not have. Being forced to take whatever processor the POS company decided to partner with may lock you into a contract you don’t want with rates you are not happy with. Trust me, you want to be in control. It is always a good idea to make sure you are getting what is in your best interest when it comes to processing payments even if it means choosing the 2nd best POS System.

Of course, security is of the utmost importance. It is up to you to make sure that your new POS system will be 100% EMV compliant and will only be installed and integrated by a QIR certified reseller and installer. Visa has found that when it comes to payment data breaches 93% were due to “insecure POS implementation and servicing” by 3rd party installers. Ask questions and demand that your installer is QIR certified.

In order to choose the best POS system, think outside the box.

Finally, make sure that there is a plan for future support beyond implementation. As your company grows there will be things you need the system to do, changes you may need to make, additional locations that may need to be added. Make sure your POS provider intends to be there with you all the way. Unfortunately there are a lot of systems out there, and the salesmen that go with them, that will view your business as a one time sale and move on to the next. You want to make sure you are partnering with a company who has your success as a merchant in mind and plans to be there for you along the way.

Between your amazing management skills, incredible products people just can’t live without, a POS System that turns your business into a well oiled machine, and of course your credit card payments processor with an eye on your bottom line you have no choice but to be unstoppable!

To find out more about how Bankcard Brokers can assist you in making the best choice for your particular business don’t hesitate to give us a call today and experience the “Bankcard Brokers Difference”!