Point of Sale systems, or POS systems, are an integral part of any business. They are what allow customers to complete their transactions for the goods or services they purchased from your company. But what are they and why are they so important?
The POS system can perhaps be best described as a network of computers headed by a main computer. In many cases, there are multiple terminals at which the business transactions can occur. These terminals, which are often referred to as check out terminals, can have a variety of different features. Most modern POS systems include a computer, a cash drawer, a receipt printer, a customer display, and a barcode scanner. Many also include card payment terminals that allow customers to pay via credit or debit.
Not all POS systems are created equal, though, and the point of sale system that works for one type of business might not work for another. Retail companies should invest in a system that is specifically geared towards the retail sector.
Retail POS systems are of great value to any retail business, no matter what goods and services it provides. In past decades when cash registers were extensively used, only simple payments could be processed and managed. But with the invention of retail POS software, businesses gained the ability to not only manage transactions, but also track customer information, sales, and inventory. This allowed for significant increases in efficiency. Moreover, this information allowed businesses to determine what’s lacking in the business and what can be done to increase sales, resulting in the potential for huge profit gains.
These are some of the most recommended POS systems available for retail businesses:
Retail businesses have a unique set of needs, and it’s important that the POS system they choose meets those needs. Some of the must-have features and benefits for retail POS systems include:
A retail POS will support your business in maintaining an up-to-date sales record. Simply by looking at the records, you’ll be able to determine what action the sales and marketing teams can take to further (or better) market the goods or services you’re selling. Moreover, this feature gives a clear picture of the inventory that’s currently stored and when you’re running low. Traditional cash registers don’t allow for this type of analysis at a glance.
In general, a customer decides whether or not to make a purchase in the first few seconds. The rest of the time is spent looking into the product or service more deeply. Employees who have the retail POS software with them can immediately tell the customer whether their desired product or service is available at the moment and if it’s not when they expect it to become available. This increases employee efficiency and builds trust with the customer. While inventory management can be done other ways, having a retail point of sale system simplifies and streamlines things, allowing businesses to focus more time on what matters most: the customers. Lightspeed is a great POS system that helps retail business owners automate their inventory management.
A retail POS can go a long way to promoting your product or service. For example, you’ll be able to collect data like customer birthdays and email addresses, which allows you to send special offers or discounts on those special days. In addition to making your customers feel valued, it can help boost your sales. This data can be integrated with loyalty tools. These features ensure that your clients keep returning time and time again.
Cash registers require huge amounts of storage space. Retail POS software, on the other hand, can be easily installed on a regular computer or even on a mobile device, making it compact and easy to access from anywhere.
Digital retail POS systems increase the ability of businesses to interact with customers. Businesses are built on customer interactions, and the relationship between a business and its customers plays a great role in the success (or not) of a company. With retail POS, it’s possible to maintain interactions with customers long after the purchase is made, thereby increasing branding as well.
Retail POS system hardware is just as important as the software. The two work together to allow the system to run smoothly. After all, your software could be on point, but if your computer or scanner isn’t functioning, the point of sale system software is of little use. To get the most out of your retail POS system, here’s the hardware you should be looking for:
This is the visual front of your POS system. The screen displays information about the transaction, customer data, databases, etc. The register screen is an essential component of the retail POS and is generally either a slim computer monitor or a mobile device, like an iPad. Earlier systems used bulky monitors.
A barcode scanner scans the barcode printed on the product and adds its details and price to the transaction. It also ensures that the inventory is correctly maintained and managed after the transaction is completed.
Receipts show customers exactly what was billed and how much they paid for each product or service they purchased. They also contain other information, like the date and location of the purchase. The receipt printer is what allows you to print out a paper receipt for the customer. While many businesses now offer email or text receipts, some customers still prefer something tangible, so a receipt printer is an important piece of hardware to have.
The cash drawer is, of course, where the cash is kept. It’s a secure drawer that generally opens only once a transaction is complete.
Though not a mandatory component of a POS system, having a card reader allows businesses to accept payments from credit and debit cards. Some card readers also accept mobile payments for the goods or services purchased.
Shifting to a new POS system can be a great option for increasing sales and creating a more efficient transaction experience for customers. However, as you prepare to make the jump to a new point of sale system, there are a few important things to consider.
Before you do anything else, it’s critical that you identify your business requirements. This sets the basis for everything else. To find the best retail POS system for your needs, start by making a list of the non-negotiable features that your business can’t live without. If you find that your requirements are minimal and can be managed with a simple cash register, then perhaps reconsider your desire to switch to a POS system, as it may not be necessary. However, if you have many requirements and they cannot be met by a cash register, a POS system is likely the best option.
Processing fees for credit and debit cards can be high, and the cost for this usually falls on business owners. Look for retail POS software that offers low processing fees.
When you’re selecting a system, remember that your employees need to learn to use it. The best retail POS software is intuitive and quick for employees to pick up on. Choosing a point of sale system that’s difficult to operate means that you’ll need to spend additional time and resources teaching everyone how to use it. Remember, too, that the system must be updated regularly to maintain its functionality.
It’s important that the POS software you choose can easily integrate with the existing software your company uses. Failing to consider this while purchasing your new system can lead to unnecessary technology problems and headaches for everyone involved. Many of today’s POS software options integrate with a lot of popular business tools, such as Quickbooks, BigCommerce, Magneto, Apple Pay, and more.
Finally, you’ll want to consider security, both for your sake and for the sake of your customers. The best retail POS systems protect your customers’ information and offer excellent technical support to solve any issues that might occur.