Your POS system is an integral part of your business. Without it, you would be limited to cash-only transactions, and you’d have to do the math yourself! A POS system enables you to accept multiple kinds of payment and dramatically expedites the checkout process. In a way, it’s the heartbeat of your business.
Not all POS systems are the same, though. Some are pretty basic and are capable of handling payments and scanning items, but not much more. Others are electronic and include software that helps you manage various aspects of your business beyond checking customers out. What should you look for in a POS system? Here are a few key features that will put you in a good place:
Order Processing and Billing
First and foremost, your POS system should be able to scan items (most likely with a barcode system, or with manual entry if no two of your products are the same), total the cost, and accept payment. It’s not a POS system at all if it cannot perform these tasks.
The system should also be able to apply discounts and generate order invoices and receipts. You don’t need to provide paper receipts if your system can send them via email, but it’s essential to provide customers with proof of purchase.
The best POS systems won’t stop at cash, credit and debit card, and check payments, though. While you should be able to take all of these (it’s crucial to accept cash, or you rusk shutting out people who have no choice but to use it), it’s also advantageous to accept mobile payments and split them how customers prefer. Maybe they want to pay for half of their order with a debit card and the other with cash. If you allow them to do so, you’re more likely to see them again.
Inventory Management and Item Lookup
Many electronic point-of-sale systems include inventory management software. Isn’t it a pain to manage your inventory manually? Doing so entails a great deal of data entry that leaves room for human error. When all of your products are connected to your ePOS system, though, the software tracks everything in real-time.
For instance, the system deducts a specific product from your inventory whenever someone purchases it. When you use POS systems this way, you always know how much of any product is currently on-site, and it avoids confusion when customers ask (the system would also add said products back in the event of returns). Plus, you and your staff would never have to check the backroom again: if you have tablets accessible, you can simply search for products in the database to access stock numbers, prices, and more.
Some POS systems can even generate sales reports on a schedule of your choosing. You and your accountant had to create these yourselves in the past, probably on a monthly or quarterly basis, but the best ePOS systems can produce them automatically weekly or even daily.
With easily digestible visual data representation and insightful analytics, you can glean a comprehensive understanding of how your business is performing and what changes you need to make. Is a product not selling as well as you hoped it would? Then you can listen to the reports’ recommendations and reduce how much you order, move it to a different spot in your store, promote it differently, or something else.
Customer relationship management tools
It’s also advantageous when a POS system can help improve your relationship with your customers. What products are your most popular? What products do people typically buy together, and how often do they do so? By keeping track of customers’ histories within your store, you can also address issues more efficiently when they arise (was something lost or broken? You can look at your POS’s platform to deduce what went wrong and how to make it up to a customer).
Promotions and loyalty program capabilities
On a related note, the right POS system can help you cater to your customers on an individual level. For example, if someone comes in regularly and purchases similar products, then the system can assist with creating a customized offering for the next time they come in. This can improve customer loyalty, and it makes the process easier for you because you don’t have to manually change prices on an individual basis. Such features can also enable customers to send and use gift cards.
Do you have more than one location? Instead of running each store like they are separate businesses, electronic point of sale systems can unite them with one database. You can update prices across stores, track inventory in multiple places in real-time, and assess which strategies work in one place but perhaps not in another.
Your POS system can do more for you than checkout customers. What key features do you look for in a point of sale system?