The best point of sale systems for retail
Electronic point of sale systems as we know them have been around since the late 1980’s, and they have come a long way since they first appeared. Prior to this, retailers relied on simple cash registers and their own bookkeeping skills to keep track of their stock, pricing, and transactions.
It’s hard to imagine a retail world without POS technology now. Thankfully, the days of manual entry and calculations are now behind us, and technology allows us to be much more productive throughout our day.
Electronic point of sale supports your business through automation. It records every transaction, manages inventory, maintains accurate pricing, and even handles your customer database, all in one place. This allows not only for efficient daily task management, but also presents detailed data analysis opportunities. When paired with broad reporting options, this offers you a complete tool set for better business forecasting and strategy.
If you have a retail business, or are thinking about launching one, an electronic point of sale system should be high on your list of investments. Budget accordingly; good EPOS systems are designed to help you grow your business and boost your profits.
Firstly, think about the functionality you’ll require from your system. This mainly depends on the type of business you have and the services you’d like to provide. Make a list of your key requirements, this will help you to ensure that your chosen EPOS system provides at least the minimum capabilities that you require. If you’re already in business, talk to your team. No one knows what they need from a system better than those who are using it daily.
Some of the key features you might want include are:
Customer and supplier management
Ease of use
Data back up
Integrated third party services: e.g. credit cards, website, loyalty
The best modern point of sale systems have integration capabilities. This means that you can ‘bolt on’ additional third party services, and have them work smoothly alongside your EPOS system.
This is a really Important area to understand, as new integrations are becoming available all the time, and it could greatly impact your business both now and in the future.
Ensure that your new EPOS system can work with the integrated services that you want to use. If you already have a chosen loyalty scheme, preferred accounts package, or fully functioning e-commerce site, you’re going to run into problems if you choose and EPOS system that can’t work with them.
In addition, you’ll want to ensure your EPOS provider has an ongoing development program. That way, when innovative new integration services come online in the future, you can be confident that your system software will capable of working with it, and your business won’t be left behind. Otherwise, you could risk having to replace your entire system.
As with all technology, sometimes you need to be able to talk with an expert. Back up services are an important aspect of the best EPOS systems. Before making any firm decisions, be sure there is an ongoing, reliable support structure in place.
You should receive a consultation with an expert to talk you through the possibilities before making any decisions. Outline your list of requirements and find out how they expect to meet them. Consider practicalities such as size of equipment and store layout at this point. The right system for your store will not only need to fit your technology requirements, it’ll need to fit the space you have available.
Make sure that your chosen EPOS supplier can provide a full support service once you have decided to proceed.
Consider scalability at this point too. You might have a small, single till outlet now, but what happen should you get busier, or decide to expand? It’s important that you’re able to upscale your equipment at that point, instead of having to start again.
This means taking care of your complete installation, which includes working directly with your other suppliers to ensure you are up and running quickly and smoothly.
Once your system is in place, you’ll want to have a couple of training sessions organised, one at the time of install (make sure everybody is available to take part!) and another a few weeks down the line. Use this time to list any key training areas, or advanced feature you may want to take advantage of once you are more familiar with the system.
Another important consideration for your new system is technical support. What happens if you get stuck, or have an issue? Be sure that your supplier is able to provide a fast and efficient technical support service. Ask about online support services, and telephone or email support.
Finally, and this is an easy one to forget, don’t forget about the importance of data back up.
Not only will your business will have a legal obligation to protect its data, it’s a huge headache if something goes wrong and your information is lost. The best EPOS systems can and should now incorporate security features and cloud data back up, to all but ensure data for you and your customers is safe and accessible, no matter what happens.
The best point of sale systems for retail provide all the features your business requires for smooth daily operations.
They should offer useful features that make your life easier and provide instant, accurate data and reporting features that allow you to monitor and control your business, leading to improved long term business strategy, reduced waste, and increased profits.
Your system should come with expert advice and support services, to allow you to make the most of your investment. There should be ongoing background development services, and you should be able to scale your system with the size of your business.
Who are we?
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up to date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
Our self-checkout partners are NCR, who are global leaders in self-checkout technology.
Want to know more?
Take a look at some of our EPOS solutions for retailers here: https://retailsolutions.ie/product-sector/retail/
About the author:
Susan McGuire is originally from London, United Kingdom, and has now lived in Galway, Ireland, for 15 years. She has been with Retail Solutions for almost 7 of those, and during that time has enjoyed various roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!