As technology improves, retail businesses are moving away from traditional cash registers and toward more sophisticated solutions such as point-of-sale systems.
A POS is a computer software and hardware network that records sales in real time, tracks merchandise digitally, and helps analyze the buying habits of customers. Businesses of all sizes can benefit immensely from the technological capabilities of these systems. Here are five benefits of a POS:
- Item scanning: A POS ensures that each item is scanned correctly and that the intended amount of revenue is accrued for your store.
- Product reports: A product with a high price tag is a bigger priority for most retail stores. A retail POS can produce reports that illustrate the sales cycles of such products. Managers can concentrate on modifying the pricing, placement, and promotion of these high-end products.
- Sales analysis: Businesses can analyze the effectiveness of their sales down to the penny with the help of a POS because of its automation and immediate delivery of information.
- Stabilized pricing: It can be difficult to maintain uniform prices at multiple locations. This can frustrate and irritate customers. Using a retail point-of-sale system, a company can track and stabilize the pricing at all of its locations and see if some items are more popular at one location than another.
- Flexibility: A retail point-of-sale system is more than a sophisticated cash register. Some models have more advanced uses such as serving as a payroll time clock or a customer-preference database.
Not all retail point-of-sale systems are built the same. Some offer features that cater to small and medium-size businesses, and some provide more advanced features that may only be beneficial to larger organizations. And all vendors are not equal. Be sure to survey at least three different retail POS vendors before making a decision. Make sure to ask the following questions:
- Can the vendor provide a system that will integrate well with your current accounting software?
- Will it be easy to make changes to the system? No company wants to rely on calling its vendor each time this needs to be performed.
- Is the affixed credit card feature compatible with your current credit card merchant account?
- What type of reports can you collect from a vendor’s particular retail point-of-sale system?
- What about gift card transactions? Will a vendor’s system print out a balance for customers? Will they be able to access their balance online?
Once you have narrowed down your search to two or three potential vendors, you should assess how each performs in the following areas:
- Customer support: What will be the level of customer support once the POS is operational? Consider response times, replacement policies, and phone or e-mail support.
- Experience: What is the level of experience each vendor has in the market as well as within specific industries? Some retail POS vendors have experience working with all retail businesses, while others may specialize in smaller sectors such as the restaurant industry.
- References: Can each vendor provide references? Each vendor may say it delivers quality service, but it helps to ask companies it has previously served.
- Installation: Installing a POS can be simple or complex, depending on certain variables. A vendor should be able to analyze your needs, be familiar with and test your infrastructure, and be available for support both during and after the launch of your POS.