Thinking about opening up your own retail store? Trying to decide the best POS system for you? Or are you perhaps considering updating your current cashier system to a new one?
There are numerous POS systems, so it’s easy to get confused. Some supplier may offer the latest cloud-based system, while others provide POS systems with integrated ERP systems. The selection of a solution provider is also important from the perspective of system user support and development.
At its best, a POS greatly simplifies daily routines: choose it with great care. We at Solteq draw on our three+ decades of experience in the retail industry to offer you nine essential tips for finding the best solution for you.
1. Define your business model
When choosing a POS system, it is important to first determine all the channels in which you intend to market and sell your products. If you want to use every channel possible, choose a solution that can seamlessly transfer information about products, prices, gift cards, campaigns, customers, sales and inventory levels to your e-commerce system. This will give you an overview of all of your customers’ purchases and save you the hassle of manually entering data into many different systems.
2. Establish a budget for your POS project
The price of a POS system depends on the number of stores and cashiers, capacity needs, size of the product register, and integrations with other systems. Equipment costs and payment solutions add to the total. The size of deployment projects also varies considerably. Consider the financing model for your project. Be precise about how long you are prepared to commit to an agreement. Traditional systems can often be acquired by either paying most of the cost up front in the early stages of the project or distributing the costs over time using a monthly financing plan (popular among cloud-based systems).
3. Check the reliability of system suppliers
When you begin the search for suitable system suppliers, it’s a good idea to check their financial stability and how actively they develop their systems. Depending on the country, you might be able to review financial data by using free online services, or order a more extensive report from a local financial information provider. Interview potential suppliers before making a choice. Ensure the system in question has an adequate number of built-in functionalities. It’s also good to check how widely the system is used and whether development efforts centre on a single large customer or if smaller customers are also involved. A good system supplier also offers additional features of their own or services developed by a partner, such as mobile payment, store display solutions, or self-service options.
4. Validate your system supplier’s expertise
It is important to choose a system supplier who knows your sector and, based on its experience, can recommend the best solution for you. Ensure the proposed system’s functionalities have been field tested and the results correspond to your needs. A good system supplier has a finger on the pulse of future trends affecting your industry, such as the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation, and knows how to develop the system accordingly. A fruitful cooperation model will also generate new ideas for your business and information about other solutions in the sector.
5. Consider the essential features of a POS system
Once you have narrowed down the best suppliers, it is time to spend more time thinking about the system functionalities you need to save time and support your business. Pinpoint daily routines that consume the most time, then challenge the supplier to offer relevant solutions. The solution you choose should at least facilitate targeted marketing automation and inventory management as well as offer different payment options. To get the best possible benefit from the system, you need implementation training and ongoing equipment support. Check to see how – and how quickly – the supplier is prepared to provide service in the event of equipment malfunctions. Find out what services are not included in the price of the system.
6. Pay attention to connectivity with other systems
In addition to a POS system, you will need other systems to run your business. Regardless of how good your POS system might be, your overall array of technology systems will determine the successful operation of your business. This means you need to pay attention to connectivity with other systems. It is especially important for financial management services to be integrated with POS functionalities. Ensure the solution you choose offers accounting, and accounts payable and receivable functionalities as well as billing services either as part of the solution or as an option to connect to them.
7. Ensure the availability of analytics
To support development of your business, you will need as much reliable and clearly structured analytics as possible. So make sure you can easily get all the required reports and analyses from your POS system. Comprehensive analytics will help you with tasks such as designing a budget for sales and purchases, and tracking transactions against the budget. You should also be able to view how different product groups, products, campaigns and stores sell, and be able to set target budgets for these areas and monitor the outcomes. Additionally, you will be able to use a store visitor counter and compare the numbers to sales data.
8. Benefit from other system users
You won’t be the only one struggling with questions, so why not take advantage of peer support? Do background research on what kinds of solutions nearby stores or competitors are using and what they think of them. Or, if you already have a certain system supplier in mind, ask for contact information for their reference customers. Make sure that the system users’ needs correspond with yours to ensure you benefit as much as possible from the use case.
9. Run system trials
A system supplier will be happy to show you different POS use cases and features before you make a purchase decision. Don’t be afraid to first ask to test the system so you can try out the solution before taking it into everyday use. After the trial, you will be able to ask more pointed questions and offer development suggestions to the supplier. This will help ensure you get the POS system that is best suited to your business.
Read more about Solteq’s InStore Solutions.