If you have a small business, especially in the retail field, you have probably have heard of a POS (Point-of-Sale) system. There are tons of options out there and researching for your company’s perfect fit can be overwhelming. It is difficult to know what makes one system better than the other. This is why finding the best fit will take some understanding of the components in a POS system.
Most point-of-sale systems have a combination of both hardware and software. These two pieces are used to simplify merchants’ daily transactions and business operations. Together they process and store customer purchases along with other important business information. That being said, with modern technology, POS systems can do much more than store money and the best systems have a perfect balance of high quality hardware and efficient software.
The hardware usually consists of the computer that runs the software, cash drawers, a monitor screen, keyboard, scanner, credit card terminal, and receipt printer. Although these are considered to be the most common and useful components for hardware, yours will specifically depend what your retail business needs.
The computer is a component you are guaranteed to need because it is the piece that processes and stores all company data. These computers are not only used for sales transactions they can also store sales reports, inventory,and employee information. Tablets, like Ipads, have been taking over the job as a monitor, keyboard, and card scanner all in one. The other pieces of hardware have one purpose such as the credit card terminal only processes cards or the monitor is the screen you look for all the information. You will need to decide what pieces are needed to keep your company's financial operations running smoothly.
When it comes to software you can choose between two options: the traditional model or a cloud-based model.
- The traditional models are where a one time purchase licenses are bought up front and any other updates in the future will need to be bought when needed. With traditional models all maintaining of the system is your responsibility.
- Clouds have taken over the data-storing world and even entered into the FinTech realm. Cloud-base POS systems are operate through the internet and are usually paid monthly or annually. All updates are done automatically and collects all business information on an online database. These systems are basically maintenance free for the user.
Now that you understand a little bit more about the components of a point-of-sale system, it is important to realize that not all POS vendors are the same. There are a few things that make a great POS system and finding one that satisfies the needs of your retail business is crucial.
Here are some desirable features that help retail businesses run smoother:
- Optimized operation and transaction time
- Since instant gratification has become a necessity, you and your customers want the most efficient shopping experience as possible. Having a POS system that has a fast operational and transactions time will keep business running smoothly and prevent your buyers from becoming impatient.
- Simplicity of the system
The actual technology of a point-of-sale system is not exactly simple, but with the right one is made simple for you. Now, you may have bought a highest rated POS system on the market, but problem is once you get the actual program it may even be too implicated for the IT guy to figure it out. Making this supposably "best system" basically unusable and not worth your money.
- Keep it simple. POS systems can often be overly complicated which could waste your valuable time. Look for a system that works with you instead of against you. Find a vendor that offers demos on the software and hardware before purchasing. This is a one of the most important purchases you will make for your retail store, take the time to find the perfect fit.
- Accurate and secure data storage
- Not every system has the same level of security or accuracy. POS stores your business's livelihood and not having the upmost secure program puts you and your customers in danger. If you do not do the right research and testing, you are left at a huge risk that could potentially harm you and your business.
- Also you need a POS system that stores all of your data which gives you correct readings of how much you have made, employee data, or any other important business information will do you more harm than good.
- Reliable support
- Yes, using any new technology can be confusing and overtime hiccups in the system will happen. That is why having a reliable support team that can be easily contacted should be a priority when choosing a POS vendor. Find a FinTech company that will not only answer with a human when you call, but also is able and willing to fix any problem without hesitation.
- Sales reporting
You are an owner of a small retail business, not a data analyst. Yet, you still need to be informed about how your business is running and have accurately analyzed data in order to make better business decisions. Find a POS system that will make sales reporting easier for your business.
- Inventory management
- Your company probably get tons of shipment in every week, making it difficult to keep track of what it is selling well and what isn’t. It is hard to track that kind of data by hand, but with the proper software, tracking can all be done automatically. There are point-of-sales software that can collect information on what is selling the most and also update you on what needs to be ordered for the next shipment.
- Employee management
- On top of everything it takes to run your business, worrying about employees' hours should be the least of your worries. Think about getting a POS with a clock-in option that manages scheduling and payroll. This will simplify paying employees and will often be much more accurate.
Now that you are more informed about what makes a great retail POS system, it is time to do your own research into vendors. Look at what each vendor offers and try to find any testimonials that will give you a better idea of how they actually run. Do not always go for the cheapest option because it will most likely cause more problems in the long-run.