A Point of Sale system or “POS system” is of the utmost importance for the vast majority of businesses. In fact, most businesses wouldn’t be able to operate and make a profit without a good POS system. More consumers are using credit cards than ever before and the expectation of purchasing with plastic has long since become common practice.
If you’re starting a business, you’ll definitely want to choose the right point of sale system to ensure your business venture starts off on the right foot.
Here are a few tips that will help you select the right POS system for your small business.
Know what components your business needs
In order to choose the right POS system, it’s important to know what components your business needs. There are multiple retail POS systems on the market and every business has different requirements. If you’re running a restaurant, a robust employee management system and an application to communicate with the kitchen would be appropriate for your business. If you run a retail clothing store, tracking SKUs is likely a primary concern.
Different point of sale systems will come with different features, advantages and novelties. Don’t depend on someone else to sell you on a certain POS system. Come up with a list and research what others in your industry are utilizing before you make your investment. Otherwise, you may end up with a POS system that features advanced technology and features, but fails to meet your specific needs.
To get started, here are some important functions to consider when shopping for a POS system:
- Software: inventory management, customer management, returns and exchanges
- Hardware: screen, cashier’s drawer, connectivity
Compare point of sale providers to find the right partner
When finding the right point of sale system for your startup, one factor that you definitely want to consider is the provider. Even if a POS system is perfect for the needs of your company, you will still need to ensure that you will be able to work well with the provider. If you end up encountering issues or technical difficulties with your POS system, you will want to have a provider who is dependable and always available for help. The ideal provider offers 24/7 customer service.
In the event your POS system goes down for whatever reason, you don’t want to wait multiple business days before the issue is fixed. Your new business will depend on the point of sale system to receive payment from customers for products and services. Therefore, chances are, having a functional POS system is critical to your ability to generate revenue.
It is also a good idea to look for a provider that will be able to ship replacement hardware to you in an expedited fashion. Some providers ship replacement hardware for POS systems overnight so that businesses experience as little downtime as possible.
Negotiate pricing and pay attention to the overall costs
Once you’ve identified a few POS systems and their providers that are ideal for your new business, you will want to start negotiating pricing with the providers. One way that you can get extra bang for your buck is by negotiating to get software modules added to your software purchase for free. Many point of sale system providers will offer software modules for employee scheduling, inventory tracking and table management at an extra cost. However, since providing these software modules doesn’t cost the provider, you may have an easier time getting a vendor to add a module to your software purchase for free.
Another way that you can save money is by purchasing a POS system at the right time. Providers of POS systems often have business cycles that they need to adhere to and manage. Large companies often have sales at the end of the quarter. Therefore, you may have an easier time finding good deals for POS systems at the end of the quarter.
If you’re overwhelmed by the initial investment of a POS system, keep in mind that there are subscription plans available where you can pay a small upfront payment and then pay a set amount every month that you continue to use the POS system. Although these monthly payments will rarely be a total cheaper option than paying upfront, they can be considered for cash strapped businesses. Some vendors may offer a special incentive or discount to businesses that can pay for the POS system upfront.
Understand PCI compliance
Before you officially purchase a POS system for your business, you will want to ensure that it is PCI compliant. PCI compliance is a standard that helps mitigate fraudulent activities. Being PCI compliant is incredibly important if you want to earn and keep the trust of your customers. As you probably know, credit card terminals are a major target for criminals and hackers. Therefore, if your POS system is not PCI compliant, it will be an easy target for criminals and hackers who are looking to steal the credit card numbers of your customers.
Undoubtedly, finding the right point of sale system for your new startup can be a difficult and overwhelming task if you have no idea where to start. However, as long as you follow the tips discussed above, you should have no problem choosing the ideal POS system for your new business’ needs.