What are the key features to consider when buying a Point of Sale (POS) system?
When it comes to retail, the easiest, most secure way to accept payments and track your sales is with a point of sale (POS) system. In the age of the Internet of Things, the POS system is a must-have retail device.
What is a POS?
A POS system is the place where a customer will pay for goods and services. This can be via a physical store that has a series of POS systems and terminals to process card payments. Alternatively, this could be a virtual POS that uses a computer, smartphone or tablet. The POS system allows customers to place orders, make reservations, and pay bills electronically, making it an incredibly beneficial device for your business. Traditionally, POS systems are placed near store exits as this increases the rate of impulse purchases, however, they can be located throughout a store for more micro-market specific product categories.
What are the types of POS?
There are several types of POS systems, all suited to different sectors within the retail industry. Whether you have a large business or a small enterprise, there is a POS system designed specifically to assist your business needs. Here is a quick look at the types of POS systems for the various retail sectors:
- Retail POS Systems – This is generally quite a feature-specific system because of the very different nature of retail outlets. Elements such as colour and size matrix, inventory tracking, customer database and purchase orders would be included.
- SMME POS Systems – Most of these systems are app-based on mobile devices. These will generally be lighter, more flexible and affordable than other POS systems.
- Restaurant POS Systems – The point of sale will be used to accept cash and credit card payments, as well as tracking financial and tax data. Some of the features included will be really thorough monitoring of transactions according to date, time and type. These POS systems also have features for dealing with bar payments. This means integrated credit card processing, pre-authorisation of payments, inventory control and bar prep printing.
- Spa POS Systems – These are quite specified for this particular market with features such as customer database, appointment reminders and calendars.
- Cloud-based POS Systems – This will be found on a mobile device used at the retail outlet and eliminates the need for onsite servers to store data.
What are these key features of POS?
We’ve briefly touched on some of the beneficial features of the POS systems in different retail sectors, but here is an in-depth look at the features you need to consider when investing in a POS system.
- Billing and order processes
This is the first key feature every POS system will have, allowing you to simply bill orders by scanning products and capturing different payment types. With this POS system, you can create order invoices, add discounts, customer details, the name of the sales’ individual and any additional comments.
- Sales’ monitoring
If you’re looking for a report on sales’, then this is a feature to opt for. The POS system will be able to report, inaccurate detail, the sales’ information relating to takings and goings in various time frames – hourly to annually. You can also look into getting a POS system with advanced sales’ monitoring for details on seasonal demands in products, overspend on products, stock management and even a sales’ forecast based on trends.
- Inventory management
Tracking a company’s inventory is one of the biggest cost-savings techniques for any retailer. Unfortunately, human error often makes inventory management a difficult job, however, with a POS system offering this key feature, your bottom line will benefit greatly. You will have a stock-keeping unit (SKU) transaction history relating to all inbound and outbound inventory. It will also alert you when items need to be re-ordered while providing the recent and current prices available. Proactive inventory management is vital to business success.
- Loyalty programmes
A modern retail experience often involves some form of loyalty and rewards programmes or gift vouchers, and there are some POS systems with a dedicated feature to track these customer incentives. The data collected on your customers by the POS system can also be used to tailor loyalty programmes for every shopper.
- Returns and pricing
Keeping a track of prices can get quite complex when aspects such as the above-mentioned loyalty programmes, promotions, sales, or bulk orders come into play. So, while the POS system must be able to monitor standard prices, an important feature is also keeping track of price variations. Additionally, your POS might have to monitor returns and facilitate refunds and replacements while keeping a track of the reason for the return, salesperson’s details and comments. This minimises any margin for error and inconsistencies.
- Customer relationships
A key feature of a POS system is the retention of customer data, purchase history and other relevant information, providing your customers with a personalised shopping experience. Customer data is marketing gold as it provides unique insights that could lead to future sales. As mentioned above, it can be used to personalise loyalty programmes, thereby increasing your chance of repeat business. The pre-order option also ensures you don’t lose customers to competitors because you are out of stock.
- Employee management
Another critical aspect of business success is employee management, and many are interested to learn that POS systems can be used for this. Features such as tracking employee working hours, managing staff levels, and a record of sales’ performance will assist you in tracking individual productivity. This could then be used for staff incentives such as bonuses and ‘staff of the month’ awards, boosting morale and overall productivity.
Where once we believed ‘cash is king’, the reality in this modern, techno-centric world, is that electronic payments are surpassing cash payments, making POS systems so vital in the retail sector. Retaining traditional systems will only see you losing out on all the benefits of POS systems related to the aforementioned key features, costing you in the long run. By adding a POS system to your business, you will also have the option of integrating it with your existing ERP software, providing you with even more insight into changes that could potentially revolutionise your business.