Deciding which point-of-sale system to buy is one of the most important and complicated decisions a business makes. It’s easy for a business owner to get lost in the details of choosing this platform or that, a traditional all-in-one system or a more modular cloud-based setup. How much to spend? What kind of hardware? Which payment processors? Which point of sale service provider should I work with? The questions seem to go on forever.
Point of sale systems are more than just hardware and software. In fact, selecting the POS service that is the best fit for your business’s unique operation may be the single most important consideration when evaluating POS alternatives. Here’s a look at the aspects businesses need to consider when evaluating point-of-sale service providers.
Important Factors in Choosing the Perfect POS System
Retailers beginning the search for the best POS system for their business will likely start by looking for recommendations from people they know and other trusted sources. However, no two businesses are identical, so the POS approach that works well for one operation will be a poor choice for another. As with any business purchase, the first step is to determine the POS features you need and then to figure out how to acquire those features in a way that fits your budget.
These are most important when choosing a POS system for your company:
- Transaction and payment processing: In addition to the ability to process credit cards, the POS system should support two or more payment types (split tenders), barcode scanning, loyalty programs, gift checks, discounts, special promotions, and time-limited offers.
- Customer relationship management: The system should safely store customer information and transaction histories to support rewards and loyalty programs, house accounts, email marketing, customer feedback, and payment preferences.
- Retail accounting: Accurate accounting enhances your business’s performance, so the POS system should support bank reconciliation, generation of sales reports, business intelligence via data analytics, accounts payable and receivable, payroll processing, and sales audits.
- Inventory management: Your business can’t run efficiently without an accurate, up-to-date snapshot of current inventory. In addition to displaying inventory levels clearly and simply, the POS system should send alerts when items drop below a specified level, and it should support labeling and tagging items. Other inventory features include barcode generation, inventory forecasting, scheduling, and variable pricing.
- POS hardware: In addition to monitors and barcode scanners, the POS system should offer a cash drawer, check reader, signature capture device, and receipt printer. It should also support running the POS software on smartphones and tablets to support mobility.
The Critical Role of Point of Sale Service Providers
Even with the ideal hardware and software setup, a POS system will fail to live up to expectations if it isn’t properly supported by the vendor. The role of the POS service provider grows in importance as more retailers choose all-in-one solutions that combine hardware, software, credit card processing, and other features in a complete package via the software-as-a-service model.
The point-of-sale service provider’s goal is to make the business’s transactions simple and straightforward, streamline its processes, and increase the operation’s productivity. The POS system’s order entry, inventory tracking, data collection, mobility, report generation, and customization must be as fast, accurate, and as user-friendly as possible. Whether you choose a pay-as-you-go, software-only service that runs on smartphones and tablets, or a full bundle of hardware, software, and payment processing under a long-term contract, the system must include the online integration and employee-management features that are critical to your operation.
The true value of a quality POS service provider becomes evident when something goes wrong. To get a sense of the level of technical support offered by a POS service, learn more about the provider’s reputation via customer reviews and other sources. Potential red flags include a company that charges early termination fees, renews contracts automatically, rejects hardware returns, withholds funds, requires personal guarantees, or tacks on unnecessary services.
Questions to Ask Potential Point of Sale Service Providers
Whether your business is a long-time user of POS systems or is preparing to implement its first, it can be difficult for a business owner to anticipate the many different capabilities the operation will require for efficient and accurate sales, inventory, and employee management. The Crazy Lister has compiled a collection of questions to ask before committing to a specific point-of-sale service provider:
- Will our customers’ data be stored securely?
- What type of data analytics does the system offer to provide insight into sales patterns, inventory management, and other aspects of the business’s operation?
- What types of payments does the system accept (Apple Pay, PayPal, Android Pay, chip-based cards, cryptocurrencies)?
- What chargeback fees and other monthly processing fees will the business be billed for?
- What payment processing fees do you charge? Percentage per sale or flat for each transaction? (Or both?)
- How much will it cost to buy or rent additional hardware?
Whichever POS service provider you work with, it’s important to focus on the approach that best matches your business’s needs. There are the three most important considerations in choosing a POS system:
- Budget: In addition to the service’s monthly fee, consider any potential added fees for extra features, upgrades, and support.
- Ease of use: The POS system must combine sophisticated features with an intuitive interface so employees will find it easy to use.
- Features: Make sure the POS system includes all the options your business needs, but only the options it will need to prevent paying for features you can do without.
Perhaps the most important characteristic a point-of-sale service provider must possess is the agility to adapt along with your business to changes in customer preferences and market trends. The last thing your business needs is a POS system that’s stuck in the past.
Learn more about how the talech POS system helps retailers improve the shopping experience for their customers and optimize the management of all their vital business processes. We work with you to determine the best ways to meet the needs of your customers and employees so your business can thrive. We take the time to learn your business so we can balance your specific needs with your budget and comfort level in a custom POS system implementation. The result is a valued investment that will pay for itself in short order. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and learn more about how talech can be your valued partner in the POS world.