Written by: Benjamin Smith | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Have you ever wondered if your business is performing below its true potential? Surprisingly, a number of business owners answer this question with a resounding "Yes," and they are not wrong. Many factors go into running a business successfully. This article will discuss the 10 key features of a point of sale system that can jump start your company in ways that you may not have thought possible.
Does your current POS provider offer these features? If not, it might be time to find a better fit for your business needs. Once you find that perfect POS solution, your business has the potential to turn into a truly well-oiled machine.
Running a retail store or restaurant can be a lot of work, but can you imagine how much harder it would be if each sale made required multiple steps in order to appropriately be recorded for your records? One of the most important features found in a good point of sale solution is simplicity. Brad Dunlap, Operations Manager for bestpricenutrition.com, feels that this is the very first thing that you should consider when selecting a POS solution for your business.
Point of sale systems have continued to change over the years and have become much more customer-friendly. One of the major ways that this has been accomplished is through customer-facing screens. Derek Webster, Founder and CEO of CardFlight, feels that this allows the merchant to communicate message to their customers and allows the customers to review line item details and pricing as the order is taking place. Another benefit of this feature the tip feature that can be shown to customers on an iPad or tablet allowing them to customize tips as part of the official transaction.
A number of businesses provide customers with products. In these situations, it is important that the business has a record of what it has left in stock in order to know when to restock. Dunlap feels that this feature is important as it provides businesses with real-time data to ensure that they are able to maximize sales. In restaurants this proves helpful as specific amounts of ingredients are accounted for in this real-time data and automatic restocking orders can be placed as soon as ingredients are getting low.
No two businesses are the same. This is not a hypothesis; this is a fact. No matter what services or products you provide, it is not possible to be exactly the same as another business. It is important to find a POS service that will fulfill your specific needs. Finding this right solution for you “creates a user-friendly experience, as the functionality of the POS is tailored to what you specifically need it to do,'' says Graham Campbell, COO of Givex. For many, the lack of this feature could be a major red flag. As you run your business, you continually find areas where you can improve and being able to customize your POS software to help you make those changes will jumpstart the process. If you are unable to make personalized changes to your software and the way that it is set up, it is possible that your POS software will become a hindrance, and you may start looking for a replacement.
Types of payment
We all know that this does not refer to coins or bills. John Moss, CEO of English Blinds, suggests that this be considered when sorting through the vast number of point of sale systems currently on the market. This targets cash, debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, mag strips, chip technology, phone payments, partial payments, contactless payments and more. If you are looking to invest in a POS solution, it is important that you are able to process transactions for all of these different payment methods. Doing so will ensure that you never suffer from customer frustration due to the inability to receive certain forms of payment. Have you ever been to a store, restaurant, or merchant that only accepts cash? Hello! It is 2019! Most would agree that this type of practice is inconvenient and not worth their time.
Cloud-based reporting and analytics
Recent years have seen major advancements in cloud-based POS solutions. Webster believes that small business owners should have access to real-time back office reporting and analytics to keep track of sales, get insights, and run tests to better business practices. Cloud-based solutions certainly have their perks. The most pertinent is the ability that business owners have to access data and current reporting at any time from anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet.
This can be seen from a variety of different perspectives. For business owners, being reliable could signify that no matter what the circumstance, temporary internet failure, a power surge, or some other unwanted and/or unexpected blip, your POS solution still functions. For customers, this could mean that when visiting a store, you are not stuck in long lines when trying to check out due to a slow POS software. Instead, transactions should move forward fairly quickly and without major hiccups. Campbell recommends that business owners take this into account before investing in a POS system.
During the past decade, mobile transactions have become popular among POS providers. This does not mean that these are transactions done using your mobile phone, this means that you are able to process transactions on your phone, iPad, tablet, or other wireless device using external POS hardware and compatible software. No longer do you need to sit at a booth at a fair with just a cash box and count out people’s change. A large percentage of transactions that take place today are now made using some type of debit or credit card and can be easily tracked and processed using a cloud-based system. Don’t let your check-out counter scare away your customers. Streamline the process to make their experience much quicker and easier.
According to Luke Wilwerding, Director of North America Sales for Elo, these are some of the most common questions that should be asked about POS solutions:
- Do you have the ability to service more than one location at a time?
- Does the POS allow for zero-touch deployment, as well as remote content and settings management?
- Can the POS OS be upgraded with minimal downtime?
If you have ever found yourself asking these questions, you may be looking for a point of sale solution that provides excellent device management options. Point of sale systems that do this help you to connect and manage a number of hardware devices, paired with software, all from one main device and/or account. Management features are typically found in the settings section of the POS management system. An example of one of these key features is the ability to set up automatic updates for your software, ensuring that it is always up-to-date.
Campbell believes that “Seamless integration reduces the margin for errors, allows for control of inventory and allows the communication between all aspects of the business to flow without confusion.” He suggests that interested parties look into the integrations that are provided in software packages from varying POS solution providers. Some common integrations include the following:
- Online ordering
- Inventory control
- Labor management
- Financial management
- HR software
- Customer profiling
- Loyalty programs
If you can find a POS system that sports all of these features, you are on the road to success. If you are looking for a list of possible POS providers, click here.