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Guest Post by Susan Guillory
Whether you run a retail or restaurant business, a point-of-sale system is one of the best investments you can make. This simple hardware and software combo can increase your staff’s productivity, boost sales, and keep customers coming back to buy from you. Here’s how.
Streamline your scheduling
POS software is useful because you can track which times of the day, week, and month are busy and which are slow. This information lets you ensure that you are appropriately staffed. Otherwise, you’re shooting in the dark and you’ll end up having employees twiddling their thumbs during a slow time or slammed with customers waiting in lines when things speed up.
Some POS systems include employee management features like scheduling and time clocks, so you can do it all in one place.
Stay on top of inventory
Point-of-sales systems are also tied to inventory. If a customer orders a steak dinner at your restaurant, those ingredients are removed from the available inventory. Yes, you should still do a walkthrough of your pantry and walk-in regularly, but you probably won’t have to do manual inventory if you’re relying on inventory management software built into your POS.
Adjust pricing on the fly
The time will come when you need to raise prices (or lower them) for some or all of your products. Rather than having to put a price sticker on every item in your store, you can simply update the price affiliated with the product’s barcode in your POS system.
This is a major time-saver, especially for brands that fluctuate their prices regularly.
Set up promotions to be automatic
Additionally, you can keep up with sales and promotional pricing in your point-of-sale system. These prices are temporary, but you can make them easy to access in your system by setting up a percent off button, a buy one get one free button or a dollar amount off button. If certain products are on sale, you can set a temporary price adjustment for the time the sale is happening so your staff doesn’t have to hunt through the sale paper to see what the price should be.
Virtually eliminate the possibility of human error
If you run a restaurant, you know how easy it is for servers to get an order wrong or for the cooks to misread their handwriting. But when you give them mobile order tools that they can use to tap in an order, it’s pretty much impossible to mess it up between the table and the kitchen.
Your POS system can be set up to add or substitute ingredients, serve them on the side, or otherwise modify an order so your customers get exactly what they want.
Accept multiple types of payments
Today’s POS systems let you accept cash, debit, credit, and tap-to-pay options which gives your customers the ease and flexibility of paying for a purchase with their preferred method.
If you run a restaurant, your POS tablet can be flipped around so that customers can add a tip and sign the receipt digitally. They can even opt to have the receipt sent to them via email or mobile.
Streamline your online and offline shopping experiences
If you run both an online retail store as well as a physical location, you need to ensure that inventory numbers and pricing match up in both places. That can be difficult to manage manually, but the right POS software makes it a breeze.
When a customer makes a purchase in your physical store, that product will no longer be available online (unless you have more in stock). This is important for ensuring that customers are never disappointed by trying to order something that they are later told is out of stock.
Manage your loyalty program
Having a mobile loyalty program rather than a card-based one can save you 90 percent on your program (since you’re not paying for those plastic cards that everyone forgets to carry around), and it’s more convenient for your customers.
All they have to do is tap their phone to your payment terminal or enter their phone number. On the POS, you’ll see the shopper’s loyalty profile. You can add points for the purchase, help the shopper redeem a loyalty offer, or let her redeem points. You also get valuable data on her shopping behavior, which helps you customize future marketing offers for her.
Grow your email and mobile marketing lists
When a customer is checking out, it’s the ideal time to ask for an email address or mobile number so you can add it to your marketing database. If you have that database connected to your point-of-sale system, you’re all set. The customer will be automatically added to your list and will start getting offers from your brand.
A point-of-sale system is so much more than just a tool to accept payments. It can really accelerate your retail or restaurant business if you maximize your use of it.
Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision.