Choosing a point of sale system doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. But it certainly helps to have some background on what to look for and expect in your POS solution. There is a huge variety of features and tools available, so it’s important to figure out what will fit best in your business. Check out our tips for buying a retail POS system with the following steps and questions to ask yourself. If you make the effort, you’ll wind up with the ideal retail POS system for your store.
What Are My Needs?
The first thing you have to do is think about what functions, features and services you currently or will use to keep your business up and running. Evaluate your inventory procedure, checkout process, and customer management. These differ between retail businesses. Coffee shops and bakeries require quick processing and tip management features; amusement parks and museums must have advanced ticketing and membership features; liquor stores and wine shops must have more advanced inventory management. Even if you already have a point of sale system in place, you need to consider these before you upgrade. Think about any issues you might have had in the past so that you can plan on what will make the future better.
What Features Are Essential?
While some features are based on preference and your business niche, others are simply essential. Consider software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. More and more POS businesses offer a subscription service rather than a larger, one-time fee. This service includes all updates for the POS software to which you’re subscribed, ensuring that you always have the latest tools and features. Spending a large amount for outright ownership is risky because the software can quickly become dated.
Also be sure that your solution is cloud-based. The vast majority are, but there are still some relics floating around. Cloud-based solutions allow you to access your business’s data from any location or device as long as you have internet access. It also ensures that no transaction is ever lost. Even if your store is offline, credit card data will be queued and processed as soon as you come back online.
What POS Hardware is Best for My Retail Store?
Next, you want to determine what hardware is best for your needs and your POS software. Your hardware options are varied. Some points of sale services require a certain universal hardware to go along with it. Others integrate with a wider variety of hardware options. Figure out what hardware is best for the layout and needs of your store and how many terminals make sense. If you already have hardware that you like, be sure to ask your new point of sale solution if the software is integrated with your existing hardware. Plan your hardware budget beforehand as well – prices vary widely.
What is Your POS Budget?
Retail POS software also varies in cost. And depending on the solution, the costs can come from different directions. Think about how many locations you have, what types of products you sell, how many total registers are your stores, your in-store traffic, and so on. Point of sale software options cover all types of businesses. And their prices reflect their features. Knowing exactly what you need and how much you want to spend beforehand will help you determine the best POS solution for your retail store.
Compare Other POS Systems
Make sure that your decision is informed. Spend ample time comparing different systems on the market. Talk to your neighbors with similar business types to get outside opinions. Make POS companies offer free trials for their software so you can play around with the layout to see if it’s intuitive enough for your business. Talk to different vendor representatives to be more informed about their product specifically, as well as the industry in general. There is an incredible number of POS companies so do your research before making such a big decision for your small business.
Watch Out for Traps
Unfortunately, there are several pitfalls from some POS solutions that can cost small businesses a lot of money. The biggest is credit card processing fees. Several of the biggest POS solutions are also credit processors themselves. By signing up with this software you’re also locking your business into a processing contract as well. This can lead to much higher transaction percentage fees and flat rates. Be sure to keep your credit card processing options open no matter the solution that you choose and don’t sign a contract with a POS company that doubles as a processor.
Less financially devasting are smaller hidden fees. This most commonly comes with additional support fees. Ask any solution you’re thinking about if support is included. It’s inevitable that issues will arise as you learn your new system, so it’s important that these are resolved quickly and without extra fees. Additionally, support should be 24/7 if your store is open early or late.
Get Your System Set Up
Once you have chosen which vendor you are going to go with and you have the equipment and software in place, you need to schedule a time to get your new system installed. The process will vary from one vendor to the next, depending on which solution you chose to go with. Vendors often provide you with instructions on how to set everything up, but you can always contact them to go over any questions you might have during the process. Here at KORONA, your set up and installation is all included in your monthly subscription.
So What’s the Best Tip for Buying a Retail POS System?
It might be KORONA! We cater to different business with unique software platforms. Our SaaS model is updated monthly, and you’ll never be asked to sign a contract or sign up with a specific credit card processor. We also include all installation and our incredible 24/7 phone and chat support. Click below to sign up for a free look at our software to see if KORONA POS is the right solution for you.