So you’ve finally made the decision to acquire a POS system for your business. This can be an exciting process, as POS systems are more than capable of transforming the way your business runs for the better, but there are some things you’ll want to consider before you purchase one. Whether you’re a brick and mortar store, eCommerce store, or both, these tips apply to you. Knowing your budget, needs, and what customers and employees want from your POS is just as important as your own preferences.
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Brick and Mortar or eCommerce?
The first consideration you should think about is what type of store you’re running. A brick and mortar store may have very different POS needs than an eCommerce platform, and a brand that has both may have different needs altogether! The good news is that most POS systems are able to operate in both mediums, combining the two for maximum efficiency and accuracy.
There are hundreds of POS systems on the market today, some of which are geared toward eCommerce only and some that are more focused on the brick and mortar stores. It’s important to know which is which, and whether or not the software you choose will support both. Even if you don’t have a website right now, you might want one in the future, so your current POS should be able to support eCommerce so you don’t have to switch later.
Choose Your Features
Perhaps the most important consideration besides cost is the number of features you’re looking for. What does your business need? What doesn’t it need from your POS? While many POS systems are feature-rich, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re what your business needs right now. Sometimes, simpler software is better software for your needs.
Determining what you need from your POS system is simple when you know the basics of POS. POS systems generally offer the same basic features:
- Inventory management tools
- Payment processing tools
- Customer databases
- Employee management tools
- Analytics tools
These are the bare minimum of features that are normally included with a typical POS system. Real-time inventory management is a game-changer, and the analytics that you’ll get from your POS can help you identify changes in revenue or when your busiest times of the day/week are. If you’re only looking for a basic package, opt for POS software that includes at least these few features. You wouldn’t want to pay for extra features if you’ll never use them, so be certain of what you’re buying before you close the sale.
Know Your Budget
Once you know the features you need from your POS, you’ll want to determine your budget. Do you have enough money to cover POS costs? Running credit cards will be accompanied by a fee, and many POS systems charge a monthly premium to use their software. Alternatively, some POS companies allow you to outright purchase their soft and hardware for permanent ownership.
An outright purchase will carry more upfront costs, as POS systems usually cost into the thousands of dollars, but you’ll own the software forever, and won’t have to keep paying per month for it. On the other hand, a monthly premium is usually quite affordable for most businesses and doesn’t require a commitment. If you don’t like the software, you can simply end your monthly lease.
Connect With Customers & Employees
While you’re considering what POS system to purchase, don’t forget about who the changes will impact the most. Your customers and the employees who stand behind the checkout lane will be impacted by your decision, so it may be a good idea to get their input as well. What do your customers like about your current checkout process and POS? What don’t they like? What about your employees?
A simple survey can answer all of these questions and more and may serve as the tipping point for your decision. Always keep your customers and employees in mind when you’re considering big changes to the business.
Choose a Good Brand
Finally, you’ll want to choose a reputable brand to purchase from. There are hundreds of POS options available, but the big names like Vend, Square, and Lightspeed are well-known for good reason. With commitments to customer service and quality software, these companies have set the bar for the POS industries, and have revolutionized the way POS operates.
Choosing a reputable brand ensures that you’ll get quality software and a customer support team that will be there to handle any issues you may have. Always research a brand before making a purchase. Check customer and critic reviews alike for a clearer picture of who you’re buying from.
Choosing a POS doesn’t have to be a stressful process as long as you follow these tips. Always consider your budget, the brand you’re buying from, your specific needs, and what your employees and customers want as well. If you take all of these tips to heart, you’ll have a complete picture of what POS is best for your business.