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Getting tied up in long-term (and inflexible) contracts

Rigid, long-term contracts (most of which require payment up front) can put you in a bind if a solution turns out to be a poor fit for your business. Not to mention: today’s retail environment requires merchants to adapt to changes quickly, and having an ironclad contract could curb agility and growth.

How to prevent it:

Choose a subscription-based POS that makes it easy for you to scale up (or down) depending on your needs. If you discover that it’s not the best fit for your business, you can always switch with minimal hassle.

David Caldana and Justin Kowbel

David Caldana and Justin Kowbel, Founders, Borough Kitchen

“We met with vendors whose systems entailed a fair amount of training, limited features, and substantial upfront costs in excess of £5000 for clunky equipment. After a recommendation, we met with Vend and were relieved to see it just needed an iPad and a reasonably priced printer, cash drawer, and scanner.

Whether you’re just starting out or already established and trying to grow your business, a system like Vend gives you a huge amount of flexibility. The money we save versus other systems leaves us better able to keep our prices competitive and provide better service.”

Not having a migration plan in place

Migrating customer and inventory data can be a pain if you don’t do it right, so it’s important to plan how you’re going to transfer information from one system to the next. Will you enter the data manually or import it in bulk? What are the import and export processes for the two systems? Failing to iron out these details could result in a time-consuming — and expensive — migration process.

How to prevent it:

Allocate ample time and staffing resources for the migration process. Be sure to clean up and organize your store data, and correctly format the data or files before importing them into your new system. Try migrating a few products or customers first. This’ll give you an idea of what the process entails so you can plan accordingly.

Basing your decision on price alone

It’s fine to go for a cost-effective POS, but make sure you aren’t compromising important features in the process.

A cheap and low-quality POS system may lack the critical features and functionalities required to run a competitive retail business. Choosing the cheapest option may save you a bit of cash, but the time you spend coming up with workarounds and making up for the system’s shortcomings could end up costing you more in the long run.

How to prevent it:

Create a list of the core features you need (or might need), and then look into solutions that meet your “must-have” requirements. That way, you’re not making compromises when it comes to the significant components of your POS.

Recognize that you may need to spend a bit more for a top-notch system — so set a realistic budget, and view your POS system as an investment that’ll help your business grow and stay competitive.

Purchasing a new POS based solely on existing requirements (rather than future needs)

A new POS system requires a sizeable investment — so you want a keeper, not something you’ll need to replace in a few years. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what could happen if you choose a POS that addresses your immediate requirements but not your long-term or potential needs.

How to prevent it:

Don’t be short-sighted. Choose a solution that can keep up with your growth and future plans. Think about where you want your business to go, then make sure your new solution aligns with your goals.

Start by listing the capabilities you have now and the features you need going forward. Taking this step will make your search for a new POS a lot easier, and you won’t have to waste energy on systems that aren’t a good fit for your business.

Chris Balogi

Chris Balogi, Director of Global Information Technology, Jurlique International

“The key requirement for us was to find a solution that replaced our existing point of sale and had the ability to do more in the future. So it wasn’t just about finding a replacement and then forgetting about it. Our new POS is part of a roadmap for our future plans.”

Overlooking compatibility issues

Unless you’re planning to replace all your retail hardware and software, you should take the time to check if a POS system is compatible with your existing equipment and programs. The last thing you want is to purchase a new system only to find that it doesn’t work with the technologies you already have.

How to prevent it:

Make a list of your existing hardware and software, and determine if they’ll work with your new POS. If they can’t be integrated, consult your provider on your options. Do you need to replace your existing technologies? What’s the cost of doing so? Get the answers to these questions before committing to a solution.

Nina Silic

Nina Silic, General Manager, Muscle Worx

“The last thing we wanted was to have to buy a new computer system. We have PCs in all our stores, and the fact that Vend worked with Google Chrome was fantastic because we didn’t have to change any of our hardware.”

Failing to account for the “hidden” costs of a new POS

Licensing or subscription fees aren’t the only costs that come with a new POS. You also need to factor in costs for maintenance, training, and payment processing, among other things. If you fail to account for these expenses, you could end up paying more than what you originally planned.

How to prevent it:

Cover all your bases when it comes to the costs of your new POS. Go beyond the cost of the software itself, and factor in expenses such as:

Setup fees
Additional registers
Hardware and software
Migration costs
Maintenance
Payment processing

Only looking at the technical features of a POS solution

There’s more to a POS solution than specs, features, and capabilities. Things like customer support, thought leadership, and integration partners all contribute to your experience with the vendor, so take the time to evaluate these components. If you neglect them and focus solely on the technical features of a solution, you could miss out on other great companies — or worse, get stuck with a vendor that isn’t completely invested your success.

How to prevent it:

Go beyond the technical offerings of a POS vendor, and evaluate its customer support and success offerings, educational initiatives, and even corporate culture. The right vendor won’t just offer a great solution; ideally, it’ll also provide you with the support and resources you need to improve your retail business — and that can pay off in dividends in the long run.

Nick Anderson-Gee

Nick Anderson-Gee, Brothers Beer, New Zealand

“Vend is completely unburdened by squares, middle management, and outsourced call centres. You got a problem? They’ll fix it there and then. Got an idea? They’ll listen — and hell, they even offer relationship advice. Well, not quite, but they’re super rad!”

There you have it! The top 7 costly mistakes to avoid when choosing a new POS system.

Take the guesswork out of choosing your next POS. Join thousands of retailers who have downloaded a copy of Vend’s POS Buyers Guide. Written by several of the world’s leading retail experts, this guide will ensure you don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse in six months time. Or alternatively, request a call back from one of our retail specialists.