As a small business owner, you will likely need the technology of a point-of-sale (POS) system to integrate your hardware and software in a streamlined way to accept payments, track your inventory and your customer buying habits, and manage other time-consuming tasks.
When your customers walk into your business, they don’t all have the same mindset. Some are steady customers and know what to expect. Others are first-timers who found you in their neighborhood or through an ad, or a friend. Some are in a hurry to finish up and get out the door. Others like to hang out and chat, or browse for what’s new. Their time in your business ends in the same place, however—your point of sale (POS). Here’s what a POS system can do for you and how to find the right one.
What’s a POS system, and why is it important?
A POS is the part of the buyer journey where you “close the deal,” and a POS system is the hardware and software that helps your customers check out, whether online or in-person. It’s important to make this final step in the sales journey a nice experience for yourself and your customers: the right POS system can do so much more than just ring up and record sales. The right system can absolutely improve your business.
No matter what kind of small business you have—retail, restaurant, service provider, entertainment or hospitality—you likely need a POS system in place to help you manage things.
Here’s what the right POS system can do
As a small business owner, you’re likely used to multitasking. But if you’re acting as CEO, marketing manager, accountant, inventory manager, and HR director, you’re already taking on a lot. The right POS system can help you manage or automate many important tasks, with everything in one spot.
Consider how the right system can improve your business. Here are some key benefits of a POS system:
• Can give you useful info about your individual customers, such as what products or services they buy
• Helps with inventory tracking so you always know what’s moving, what’s not, and what’s needed
• Helps manage your marketing and loyalty programs to reach new customers and build strong relationships with your present ones
• Helps automate time-consuming tasks like refunds and returns, invoicing, accounting, and reporting
• Helps with employee scheduling and productivity tracking, positioning you to build the strongest, most efficient team possible
What are your key business needs?
You may already have a POS system that seems to work just fine. But does it help you manage all of the information you need to run your business? Without a good POS system in place, you may be missing the opportunity to connect sales transactions to other tasks that make your business work smoothly.
The first step in finding the right POS system is to figure out what your business needs. What types of payments do you accept—cash, credit and debit cards, mobile payments, gift cards? What’s your present system missing? What tasks would you like it to do? What do you spend time on that could be simplified if you had better information or automation?
Also take time to consider your future. Are you planning to add locations or expand your current ones? Or maybe you want to add new perks through your customer loyalty program. All easily done, if you pick a POS system that can grow with you.
Along with your own research, ask your key team members to weigh in on what works now and what’s missing. Record your results and start to prioritize your needs.
What’s currently in place that you can keep?
A POS system can be a significant investment, so find out what you can improve on with additional technology. First, look at your hardware, your cash drawers, barcode scanners, credit card terminals, and printers. Make sure any POS system you consider will link with your current devices. Then look at your software, including apps. If you already have good accounting software, customer relationship management (CRM), ecommerce platforms, and inventory systems, search for a compatible POS system. If you don’t have some of these systems in place, or if they desperately need an upgrade, perhaps consider an all-in-one POS platform.
What to look for in a POS system
After you determine your needs, start to shop and compare POS systems. Look at these features and functions:
• The checkout process
Make sure it’s easy to scan items and look up products and prices. Speed is important to keep the lines moving, so test for ease of use. Take a close look at how your customer needs to interact with the POS system. Make sure it’s intuitive and easy.
• Catalog management
Choose a POS system that helps you track and manage your offerings of goods and services. The right POS system has fields for all information you need, like supplier data, products in multiple sizes or colors, unique bundled package offerings, or discounts for multiple purchases.
• Customer management
Your ideal POS system should help you manage your customers and grow your business. For instance, a system that lets you email or text your customers, with their permission, would help you stay connected.
• Reporting and analytics
The data and insights your POS system offers can help you make smarter decisions. It can provide sales reports for tax purposes, inventory insights like your best sellers and slow movers, info about your top spenders, frequent shoppers, inactive customers, and more.
When it comes to checking out, customers like to have payment options. So it’s important that your POS system is capable of processing all types of payments, including cash, credit and debit cards, and mobile payments.
What’s your next step?
Once you know what features you need, it’s time to find the right POS provider. Ask your business friends what they’re using and how it’s working. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or a business association to see what resources they offer. Ask the POS company you’re considering for references and check them out. Ask for a demo at your store, or even better, a free trial, so you and your team can test features and benefits. Make notes of what works well and what doesn’t so you can ask the provider to address issues.
You’re on your way!
If you’re ready to take this big important step in managing your business, you’ve made a good decision. The right POS system is an investment in how you operate your business today and will help you build future success.
No matter what kind of POS system you have in place or are considering, it’s important to partner with a company that simplifies payment solutions. And that’s where BLUbeem comes in. For more insights on small businesses, click here.