A POS (point-of-sale) system is a critical tool for any business. There’s no shortage of choices in the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. When choosing a POS system for your business, there are five important things to consider. In this post, we'll review each one and how it should impact your selection.
Whether you’re just starting your business or looking to upgrade your current platform, the system you choose will affect your success and profitability. It can either make things easy and straightforward or create new challenges.
There are so many variables to consider! The gravity of each will depend on your business model and requirements. So, what components matter for your POS system?
While every business uses a POS system to organize customer purchases, the type of business you own will influence what you select.
Retailers and restaurants have different POS needs. Service-based companies and those that sell high-risk products do, as well. There are niche POS systems for each business type, so this may be a good starting point to narrow down options.
Here is a checklist for features for typical business types:
You can either choose a cloud-based or on-prem POS system. Cloud-based are certainly more in use now, as they provide many benefits. It’s more secure, more easily accessible, and less costly. As long as you have an internet connection, you can log in to the system, which is very beneficial for many reasons.
On-prem solutions sit at your site and require regular maintenance and upgrades that you’ll be paying for, at least annually. You also must have the space for servers at your location. Over time, the costs for on-prem solutions can erode your profits and leave you with a less flexible or adaptable system.
You don’t want to go with a POS system that requires hours of training and has a bad user experience. This only wastes time and could lead to more errors. Check out the usability of each system and the ease of configuring it to your needs. Also, consider that “intuitive” user interface isn’t a universal standard. Often, it’s what you're used to that seems more intuitive. For instance, think about the differences between iOS and Android applications. If you’re Apple-loyal, then Android looks foreign.
The best way to evaluate the user experience is to go through demos and take advantage of free trials.
Money is always part of the conversation when you’re buying software. While some options may have a “free” version, know that it’s a very bare offering that likely won’t provide the functionality you need. Plus, you need to factor in hosting (if cloud-based), hardware, and support costs, as well as integration fees. These may be one-time or ongoing.
The price of the software itself is usually the most transparent. Regarding hardware costs, it depends whether you’re setting up a system on-prem, which would require servers. In either cloud or on-prem, you’ll still have to buy the terminals, receipt printers, credit card readers, and more. It can add up, so figure in all these costs.
For credit card processing with your POS system, you’ll need a merchant account. You have many choices for this but evaluate those based on your niche or specifications.
Beyond just the management of purchases, POS systems can do much more. These can be add-ons to the original system and will likely bring up the cost. However, features that allow for operational organization could improve efficiencies and reduce some costs. If you need behind-the-scenes support for inventory, employee, and vendor management, put these on your wish list when checking out solutions.
Your POS system is an expense, but it also delivers value to your business. Carefully comparing offerings based on these questions is a strategic approach. Make sure the POS system has the features you need and is easy to use and affordable. Take the time to find the right POS system in the beginning so that you can save time and money later.
If you need help getting yourself set-up for success with the right POS System, please contact us here.