How POS Can Help a Small Business?
A Point of Sale (POS) system, also known as a Point of Purchase (POP) system, can be an invaluable tool for a small business. At its basic level, a POS system helps a small business manage the check-out process when interacting with a customer at the point of sale- but its benefits go far and beyond a simple transaction at the cashier! It can enhance your relationship with your customer and add invaluable benefits to the management of your business.
Seamless Purchase Process
The most obvious benefit of a well-functioning POS system is a seamless transaction process for the customer and merchant. The ability to scan barcodes, generate detailed invoices and receipts at the point of purchase, makes a POS system a great step forward from the simple cash register. Your customers have efficient clarity on price and have all the documentation for their purchase easily to hand. You, the merchant, have an accurate record of the correct system price (gone are the outdated and incorrect price labels!), an accurate record of the stock item purchased as well as the payment method and cash received. It takes away the headache of the end-of-day cash up and gives you a live system with which to monitor your day’s progress at the till. Another advantage of POS systems is the ability to manage price. Not only from an accuracy point of view- but a POS system opens up the opportunity to run discount programs easily, as well as allowing you to run customer loyalty programs should you so wish.
Inventory Management/Stock Control
But that is simply the tip of the iceberg of a good POS system. Most good POS systems come with some sort of stock control functionality (also called inventory management). This allows a real-time adjustment to stock levels as purchases are made and stock leaves the floor. Advanced POS systems can handle a multitude of stock-keeping units (SKU’s) while others have more limited SKU management. However, the management of stock-on-hand is a key feature of POS systems that assists in better control of your business inventory levels, and better service to your customers with regards to stock level visibility. A good POS system that feeds into inventory management can provide important SKU information. The profitability of your lines becomes much easier to assess with up-to-date POS data; and it becomes far easier to assess pricing levels and the corresponding rate of sale, in order to identify optimum prices levels. Purchase and price patterns available in a good POS system assist greatly in identifying the best time to order stock, as well as the optimum level of stock to hold on each particular SKU.
Know Your Customer/CRM
Knowing your customer is a powerful tool for any business, and a POS system is a key point at which to get to know your customer better. POS systems often allow you to update and access customer record files at the purchase point, allowing you to identify your most important customers and also identify, and therefore target, your customers’ unique buying habits and needs there and then. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems often link directly into your POS system, allowing you to use POS information in your business planning as well as allowing your staff to assist your customers in a personalised and professional manner.
Unique Employee Profiles
A good POS system will also allow you to manage which employees have access to what sort of information and tasks. You may wish for only a manager to have the ability to reverse a sale, or for only your supervisor to be able to run a particular report and have access to certain information- and a POS system allows you that flexibility. Customised user profiles allow you to design the tasks and information access that certain levels of staff have, giving you even greater control of your business.
A POS system also opens up a world of selling opportunities. With the introduction of mobile devices- the point of purchase can be wherever your customer is! Conventionally customers find what they want to purchase and then take it to the cashier to pay. In the mobile world, this is changing fast. Staff no longer need to wait for a customer to come to them- with a POS system and a mobile scanner the cashier can go to them and assist with the sale decision. What’s more, a good POS system will have extra information (such as stock availability and lead time, and even customer information) available to your staff that can act as powerful tools to facilitate the sales process.
Gone are the days where a POS system was simply a cash register upgrade. Today’s POS systems act as invaluable conduits between you, your customer, and powerful back-end business management.