Do you own your point of sale system or does it own you?
Whether you’re working in retail or hospitality, your POS should give you an edge on daily operations, business insights, accounting, and stock control without getting in the way of making a sale.
Is your point of sale system doing everything it could–or should–be doing?
An effective POS system will record information about your sales, inventory, customers, and employees so you can manage your business more efficiently. But when was the last time you updated your POS system? Three years ago? 10 years ago? Do you even remember a time when your POS system was technically “new”?
If you can’t answer that last question, chances are pretty good that your POS software could use an upgrade.
Signs You Need to Upgrade Your POS System
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need a point of sale upgrade, check out the signs below to see if you can relate.
Your POS Gives You No Freedom
The age of cloud-based POS is here and as a business owner, you should be able to access your business information (and even make sales) from anywhere. Running your business from your smartphone should be easy. You should also be able to choose your own payment structure and integrations. Look for a POS provider with no contracts and no fine print, that way you have the freedom to hand-pick solutions that are right for your business, rather than those that just benefit your provider.
Software is Slow and Complicated
The most obvious sign you need new POS software is that your current system is outdated and it shows. Customers shouldn’t have to wonder whether or not their transaction is going to even go through and you shouldn’t be restarting and rebooting multiple times every week.
Customer Experience Suffers
It’s no longer enough to only offer efficient payment processing. A good POS system will have customer-centric features that allow you to integrate with your website, issue loyalty points, run your own timed promotions, set up customer profiles, and connect all your sales channels. Store associates should also be able to look up transaction data, including past purchases, for a more personalized shopping experience.
Modern Methods of Payment are a No-Go
You should be able to accept new types of payments like Apple or Android Pay and offer customers the opportunity to receive paperless e-receipts. Around 44% of all stores use mobile POS to ring up customers, with 79% of those companies being small-midsize. If you can’t provide an elite and versatile customer experience, your competition can.
You Have Outdated Hardware
How often do you replace technology like your phone in your personal life? Most people swap in the latest smartphone every couple of years, and while you may not want to replace your POS hardware quite that often, the average system is going to be considered out-of-date after about four or five years.
Most new software isn’t compatible with older hardware anyway, and older terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, etc. simply can’t accommodate the level of functionality that’s currently available. Frequent minor hardware malfunctions like receipt printers that quit working may indicate that a POS system is at risk of imminent failure sooner rather than later. Think of this in terms of your computer, whether you use Mac, Windows or another provider, you know that an old machine can’t keep up with new software. Why stunt your growth with old hardware?
You Can’t Keep Track
By not updating your hardware, you’re also putting your business at a higher risk of theft. According to the National Retail Federation, shoplifting and employee theft cost the U.S. retail industry alone nearly $48.9 billion in 2016. If you’re concerned with internal theft, POS systems allow you to compare the reports with actual inventory, and go through shift reports to see who was working when there was a discrepancy in the records.
Omni-Channel Obstacles Are a New Norm
Consumer expectations with regards to omni-channel retailing have gone through the roof over the past few years. Whether they’re shopping online or in store, customers expect a consistent brand experience and what they want, when they want it. It’s unacceptable for associates in stores to not know real-time inventory across the chain.
This has led retailers to adopt a retail model in which merchants’ brick-and-mortar stores, websites, etc. operate as a cohesive unit instead of as separate entities. It’s impossible to do this successfully if you don’t have a POS system that offers real-time access to inventory data and customer information across all sites and lines of business.
You’re Struggling with Lack of Features
Do you want to integrate rewards memberships or loyalty tracking? To offer layaway and gift cards? Many basic POS systems lack the integrations you need to manage your business as it’s being run today. At the very least, your POS system should offer social media integrations, digital receipts, customer loyalty programs, and email marketing campaigns.
You need a POS system that has your specific business in mind, one that can support your growth. If your current system is lagging with new volumes of SKUs or more customer profiles, it’s time to look for a system that can scale.
What To Look For In a New POS System
The system you choose will depend on the needs of your business and involves a lot of components, but everyone should consider the five features below.
Retailers need to watch inventory closely to keep shelves stocked, and your system should keep numbers and data in real time with every single transaction. You should be able to track your best sellers and reorder when those items are low.
Customer is king, and you want to keep an eye on customer activity. Some retail POS systems can help you manage loyalty programs and give you insights on specific customer behaviours that give you insight into the most effective discounts or sales to offer next.
Returns and Exchanges
If you sell a product, you need a system that can simply deal with returns and exchanges. You’ll also want a clear record of this historical data to make strategic decisions on what products to continue stocking and what items to never order again.
Determine what kind of hardware you currently have and what you need to run with your system in the future. Smaller retailers may only need a tablet and a card reader, while larger retailers will have to consider multiple terminals, receipt printers, and more. Think about where your business is now and consider how a POS system needs to work within that system.
With a new POS, you’ll need to migrate data from your existing system. Make sure your new provider offers seamless migration with the help of a responsive implementation team. The right provider will migrate your products, customer information and more, setting you up for success with your new POS without losing vital information from past transactions.
Data Collection and Reporting
It’s critical that you track a lot of important information about the sales transactions that happen in your business. An efficient system will track data to help you make critical decisions, like sales broken down over time, sales per employee, product reports, and number of orders broken into segments.
The Final Step
Once you have an idea of your ideal system, schedule a demo so you can preview the software. Be sure to consider everything from the cost to the level of support and implementation you receive.