Your point of sale system plays a critical role in your business, so it’s understandable that you’ll have a few questions before diving into purchasing a POS system and the software and hardware to support it.
Here are four common questions about point of sale, answered:
What is the best point of sale system?
This is of course a very subjective question; and the POS system, hardware and software that's right for you and your business will depend on what kind of business you run and what specifically you need. However, the best point of sale systems and software are those that give you the freedom and support to scale and curate your business as you see fit. The best POS systems are: hardware agnostic, platform agnostic and payment gateway agnostic… meaning, you can pick and choose the features you want and need to support your business without getting locked into expensive contracts or large upfront costs that don't serve your bottom line.
What features are important in a point of sale system?
Some of these will depend on the type of industry you're in and the size of your business. But that’s not to say there aren’t universal features you should keep an eye out for no matter if you own a retail store, restaurant, salon, food truck, or any business that requires a POS.
Here are some features you should look out for in a point of sale system:
- Order processing. This is a given but also make sure that you can manage and track returns, store credit, exchanges and discounts easily.
- Sales monitoring and reporting. Your point of sale system should easily generate clear sales reports so that you can capture insights and trends about your business. Detailed product reports and other analytics tools will give you the business intelligence you need to make decisions that will benefit your bottom line.
- Inventory tracking and stock management. Retail stores and restaurants need seamless inventory control to gain visibility and improve ordering efficiency. Point of sale tools like low stock notifications and auto-order suggestions help you stay on track and pivot quickly and easily when it comes to keeping up your stock.
- Ease of use. You can have the most dynamic, technologically-advanced point of sale system, but if no one knows how to use it and it’s not intuitive enough for you and your employees to not only run the day-to-day tasks, but pull reports, manage stock, process accounting items, and more easily––then it’s not worth it. Make sure your point of sale system is not only intelligent but easy to operate.
- A customer database and an email integration and loyalty program to capitalize on it. With each and every sale, your POS should be tracking customer information and adding it to your database. Marketing integrations like rewards programs can help you easily communicate promos, sales and other events that can attract your warm market to your business.
- Other things to consider: the ability to easily trigger store promotions and sales, the ability to track employees through user accounts (which can give varying levels of access to your staff), and ease of integration from your current point of sale system or database.
Does a POS system need internet?
Traditionally point of sale systems have needed to be hardwired or have access to WiFi in order to operate. But with advances in technology and with cloud point of sale systems becoming the norm, there are plenty of workarounds to ensure that with or without the internet, your business can still run smoothly. Nowadays point of sale systems have offline modes which save all point of sale transactions locally to your device using POS software and will automatically update when you’re reconnected. This is especially helpful for food trucks, farmer’s market vendors, and mobile businesses like pet groomers, hairdressers and more. Just be sure to take extra precautions when accepting credit card payments with no internet. If the card is expired or declined, you’re at risk for eating that cost. So make it a point to check IDs and expirations when taking payments in offline mode.
Can I use an iPad as a point of sale system?
The short answer is: yes! Of course you can. The long answer is: make sure you have all the tools and programs you need to be successful. The right point of sale company will provide you with guidance on what apps and integrations you’ll need to run an organized and profitable business and can easily equip you with the type of POS software you’ll need to process payments and manage your sales from an iPad. A lot of business owners prefer to run their point of sale off of an iPad because they are portable and have an easy-to-use touch screen. Rest assured that you can use an iPad as your main point of sale device or as a supporting device. Just remember to have a knowledgeable and trusted POS company help set it up for you because all point of sale software is not created equal.
Contact Us with All of Your Point of Sale Questions
Want to know more about your point of sale options before you take the leap? Give our friendly team a call for a free 15-minute point of sale demo and let us answer any questions you have.