VS1 Cloud Blog
The shopping journeys of customers vary from one shopper to another. Some people walk through your doors because they saw a great product on display. Others may find you while doing online research. Maybe you have customers referred to you by their friends.
Regardless of how they find you, anyone who decides to buy from your store ends up in the same place: the point of sale (POS). This is the point where the purchase is completed and you hand over the products to the customer.
Needless to say, the point of sale is a critical step to any shopping journey, which is why it’s important to give shoppers a great experience.
Doing that starts with having the right POS system.
And that is exactly what we’ll discuss in this post. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the factors you should consider when shopping for a solution and how you can select the best POS system for your biz.
Let’s dive in.
What is a POS system?
A POS system refers to the components that facilitate the point of sale process. It consists of the hardware and software you use to ring up sales.
At its most basic level, a POS system functions as a cash register that lets you record sales, take payments and issue receipts. But point of sale systems have evolved over the years, and today many modern POS solutions come with inventory management, analytics, and CRM capabilities.
Key benefits of POS system
Investing in the right point of sale system can benefit you, your team, and your customers in the following ways:
This is THE system that holds the point of sale process together. Without a POS solution, there would be no checkout and you won’t be able to record transactions. Needless to say, it’s a system that’s absolutely essential to ringing up sales, and your business won’t function well without one.
A POS system (a good one, anyway) may also have reporting capabilities that can surface useful insights about your products, sales, customers, and more. With the right solution, you can gain actionable insights and make smarter business decisions.
This benefit applies to modern retail POS software and restaurant POS systems that have extended capabilities like stock control, customer management, marketing, etc. Adopting a robust point of sale solution gives you access to powerful tools you can use to grow your business. For instance, if your POS software comes with a built-in loyalty program, that feature can be used to drive repeat business.
Types of businesses that use POS systems
Any business with a physical checkout process needs a POS system. Such merchants include:
Retail stores. Shops that sell physical goods (e.g., boutiques, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.) need retail POS software and hardware.
Restaurants. Sit-down restaurants, as well as quick-service restaurants like fast food chains, use restaurant POS systems.
Entertainment and hospitality. Establishments where people pay for experiences use POS systems. Examples of businesses in this realm include hotels, cinemas, museums, theme parks, etc.
Service providers. Salons, spas, and other service-based businesses also use POS systems.
On-the-go merchants. Retailers and service providers that operate on-the-go (e.g., merchants at events or service providers that do house calls) also need a POS solution to ring up sales.
Get a quote for a POS system today.
What to consider when looking for the best POS system for your business
Now that we’ve covered the basics of point of sale systems and who they’re for, let’s look at some of the top considerations you should keep in mind when selecting a solution for your business.
Iron out the needs of your business
It’s tempting to immediately jump into research mode and find POS companies to check out, but before you do that, it’s best to do some internal research and figure out your requirements. Doing so will give you clarity on what you need (and what you don’t), which will make your search much easier.
Here are some areas to look at when determining your requirements:
Existing system shortcomings
If you already have a POS system that you’re looking to replace, start by identifying its shortcomings. What features are missing from the solution? What are some tasks that you wish it would let you do? What are your pain points?
Take note of the answers to these questions and use them when you’re researching solutions in the market. For example, if one of your system’s shortcomings is the inability to take gift cards, then that’s something you could keep in mind when comparing solutions later on.
It also helps to discuss your POS system with your team. Ask the above questions to your cashiers and associates and document their input.
Point of sale equipment can be a big investment, so if you have an existing setup, and you’re happy with your hardware, then set your sights on solutions that work with what you have.
Let’s say you’re using iPads for your POS. In this case, you’d want to look for solutions that function well on an iPad.
Also, take note of devices like barcodes scanners, credit card terminals, drawers, and printers, and make sure that the POS system you choose works with those devices.
Software or apps that you’re using
The same goes for the software or apps that you’re using. If you’re happy with your accounting software, CRM, ecommerce platforms, etc., see to it that the point of sale solution integrates with the apps in your business.
Knowing your current needs is great, but you should also be cognizant of your future needs. What does your business roadmap look like? Are you planning to expand or do new things in the coming months or years? You’ll need a solution that can grow and evolve with you.
Let’s say you intend to open new locations in the near future. If so, make sure your POS system has multi-store support and lets you manage several shops with ease. Or maybe you want to revamp your customer loyalty program and introduce new perks. If this is the case, see to it that your POS has loyalty features or integrations that can make that happen.
For obvious reasons, you need a system that fits your budget. The cost and billing structures of restaurant POS systems and retail POS software vary from one provider to another.
Some solutions charge a subscription fee which can range from $29 per month to well over $500+ a month. Other providers take a percentage out of your sales, and there are POS solution vendors that do both.
The best POS system depends on your needs and budget. But generally, the fees that you’ll pay will depend on factors like:
Features and functionalities
Number of locations
Number of users
Customer database size