If you’re shopping around for a point of sale system, then you know that you have A LOT of options. In addition to many vendors in the market, you also have to decide on the type of POS solution to use. Should you go for an iPad POS or a system that runs on a computer? Should you go for a system that does both?
You should also consider the range of features that each POS has to offer. There are basic point of sale systems that function as cash registers and nothing more. Then there are complete point of sale systems that provide more functionality — including a sell screen, inventory management, reporting, and customer management, among other things.
Unless you’re running a really small retail business, the best route is usually to go the complete POS system.
More features to grow your retail business
Basic point of sale systems and cash registers don’t do much else beyond ringing up sales. A comprehensive solution, on the other hand, has the capabilities that can grow your business even more. Consider the following:
A POS system with built-in stock control features is a very powerful thing. Point of sale solutions that come with inventory capabilities can sync your stock levels as you make sales. This makes it easier for you to track product movements, so you can make smarter decisions around purchasing and sales.
The best in class solutions even offer inventory counting capabilities to help you stay on top of stock counts. Regularly counting your merchandise (either through cycle counting or full inventory counts) has been proven to reduce shrinkage, so it’s a must that you do it.
Counting your inventory regularly is critical to spotting, preventing, and addressing shrinkage. Set aside time to physically count your products and aim to count every item at least once every quarter.
Want to make inventory counts easier for yourself and your staff? Check out Scanner by Vend, a nifty mobile app that lets you conduct physical inventory counts using your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Just scan an item’s barcode using your phone’s camera and Scanner will automatically record the SKU for you. Scanner also syncs completed counts with your Vend account, so once you’re done counting, you can easily update your stock levels.
Not a Vend user? Scanner will create a CSV file that you can easily email to you and your staff.Learn More
Most complete POS systems also have customer management capabilities that allow you to store shopper information and build customer profiles. Some platforms even offer loyalty features so you can reward your top patrons.
All these features lead to higher levels of engagement, repeat purchases, and loyalty — all of which invaluable for retailers!
Sales and marketing
If you regularly run sales promotions in your store, then it’s a must to choose a POS system that can support your sales and marketing efforts. Choose a solution that makes it easy to implement offers and discounts, so you don’t have to manually slash prices or do the math.
Part of running a successful retail business lies in the data you have at your fingertips. Having the right insights — particularly when it comes to sales, product movement, and customer behavior — will lead to smarter decisions that positively impact your bottom line.
That’s why it’s important to choose a POS system that can generate the reports you need. Opt for a solution that can run the following reports:
- Inventory on hand
- Product performance
- Low stock
- Sale summaries
- Sales per customer or customer group
Streamlined retail operations
When you have a basic POS or cash register, you’ll often resort to using spreadsheets or pen and paper to manage your business. And while these old fashioned tools may have worked for decades, they simply won’t cut it in today’s fast-moving retail landscape.
If you want to keep up with modern shoppers (and your competitors) you need a powerful POS solution that gives you real-time data and process tasks quickly and efficiently.
There’s another reason why old school systems are problematic: they’re prone to human errors. Manually taking note of inventory and sales is time-consuming and can lead to mistakes. That, in turn, puts a strain on your operations, staff, and customer experience.
Do your business a favor and choose a complete point of sale solution that covers all your needs. That way, you can save yourself from having to do manual work and run a more efficient retail business.
You can integrate your POS with other solutions
Another cool thing about modern POS systems? You can easily extend their functionalities through add-ons. While a complete point of sale solution should come with most of the features you need, there are instances when you need to connect it to other solutions.
For example, if you already have a retail management solution for your brick and mortar store but want to start selling online, you can integrate your POS with an ecommerce solution so you can sell everywhere and have revenue coming in from multiple channels.
It’s also a good idea to integrate your POS system with your payments processor. With integrated payments, data flows smoothly from one platform to the next. This setup eliminates the need to manually key in customer and credit card information at the checkout counter. Because your POS is integrated with your payment processor, all the necessary information is ready when you initiate the process using your payment terminals.
If you decide to integrate your POS with other systems, here are a couple of best practices to keep in mind:
Use preferred add-ons – Most point of sale systems have existing integrations with other software providers. This is often the preferred way to connect two solutions because your providers have already developed the integration for you.
Ask your vendor (or check their website) to learn about the apps that they integrate with. From there, you can evaluate if the solution is right for your business.
Find an expert partner – You can also find a partner who can help connect your various systems. Some POS solutions have networks of existing experts who can help retailers set up their software. Consult with your vendor and see if they can recommend technology partners who can get the job done.
If you need more info on how to effectively compare different point of sale solutions, download Vend’s POS Buyer’s Guide. In this resource, you will learn the 7 secrets to find a reliable POS system, and avoid the costly mistakes most retailers make when choosing a new retail platform.
In it you’ll learn:
- How to budget for your POS system
- How to find and vet providers
- How to get the most out of the solution
Get yourself a complete POS system
While a complete point of sale system typically requires a higher investment than a basic POS, the benefits of the former far outweigh the latter. Having a POS solution that offers a wide range of features not makes it easier to run your retail business, but it also opens up opportunities to increase your bottom line.
Advanced POS systems save you time, help you engage shoppers better, and enable you to make smarter decisions. All that leads to higher levels of efficiency, happier customers, and a healthier business overall.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.