Fundamentals of POS Systems and Picking The Right One
A POS system is one of the tools that a retail business needs to improve efficiency and productivity. What is it, though? A point of sale system is the physical platform where customers of a retail business pay for goods or services. It is typically the last point in the purchasing journey. A point of sale transaction refers to the process of a customer tendering payment for services or goods. Payments can be in different forms, including credit cards, cash, and mobile payments. Traditional POS mechanisms involved cash registers that were used in combination with other tools such as Excel and QuickBooks. Points of sale platforms have evolved a great deal to provide comprehensive features that streamline several operations. Merchants can get POS systems that merge inventory management, billing, and customer management. The use of new POS systems is rising steadily with the market accounting for $12.9 billion in 2017. Still, some retail businesses lag behind when it comes to investing in point of sale software. Learning the value that POS systems add to your enterprises makes all the difference when deciding if to get one.
Switching from Cash Registers to POS Systems
POS systems offer several benefits to merchants that make them worth considering.
Inventory management is one primary motivation to invest in a POS platform. Tracking the stock in your retail store can be tedious. Workers have to know how many products are left at any given time, which can be hard when you deal with goods of different brands, sizes, models, volumes, and many other variations. POS software automates inventory management by tracking sales and other variables.
A POS system can save you significant time and resources, which will have a positive impact on the bottom-line. The time a cashier takes to run a barcode reader over a product and complete a transaction is far less compared to using a manual calculator and cash register.
Efficient accounting is another huge upside. Almost all POS platforms have bookkeeping functions that allow businesses to track sales and other transactions automatically. The system will calculate aspects like tax due, meaning that the cashier doesn't have to allocate time to do it manually.
Different Types of POS Systems
Businesses have a range of POS systems from which to choose, depending on specific needs. The knowledge of what each offers can ease the task of picking the correct system.
Mobile - With a mobile system, you use a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet as the point of transaction. An mPOS platform can attach different peripherals, such as receipt printers and barcode readers. Mobile POS is ideal for a small business that can appreciate the portability of the system.
Cloud POS - It's a POS system that exists online, meaning that all the data is stored in a data center. The biggest advantage is the convenience of being able to access information remotely with the right permissions.
Terminal POS - On-premises POS systems are the most common. They integrate hardware and software with various devices included in one system. Terminal POS stores data on location. On-premises POS systems are more expensive than cloud POS because they come with considerable upfront costs. It's why they are suitable for large enterprises that can afford the investment.
Features of POS Systems
What should you expect when getting a point of sale system? Firstly, a POS system requires specific hardware. The physical setup comprises of several physical components such as a computer or mobile device, barcode scanner, and cash drawer, among others. The hardware requirements will depend on the system. You will also need software that is responsible for most of the functions of the POS platform.
POS software provides inventory management, which is the ability to monitor the stock quantity. Customer management allows a business to track the purchasing habits of its buyers and create personalized promotions. Information about your customers is also crucial to your marketing efforts. POS systems should have sales monitoring and reporting capabilities. They also ease the burden of employee management by letting you monitor the sales of every worker.
Selecting the Right POS System
The different kinds of POS systems on the market and the numerous vendors who promise exceptional service can make choosing one a nightmare. For a simple selection process, start by evaluating the needs of your store. Ask yourself if your business needs customer management? Do you have space for POS hardware? What features are important? If you already have a POS platform and looking to upgrade, find out what is missing. Factor in the existing systems so you can get a solution that integrates with all of them seamlessly. Have a budget. Look at what your enterprise can afford from the upfront costs to the maintenance of the system. For example, if it's on-premises POS, you might need to hire an in-house IT team. Ask about the technical support that a POS vendor offers. If something went wrong, be sure that you can receive the necessary assistance.
Take the time to research POS systems to guarantee your business gets what it needs.