Basics of a Retail POS System
If you're searching for a new point of sale system for your retail business, it's important to learn as much as you can about what's available. The most valuable retail POS system is the one that will run your business your way. You want one comprehensive solution for your entire business, no matter how small your business is today or how big you want it to be tomorrow.
Electronic Cash Registers vs. Retail POS SystemsIf you've spent any time in the retail world, you've experienced the highs and lows of the industry. Let's take two businesses as an example. Both are about the same size and stock basically the same items.
Business A has empty shelves, last winter’s sweaters on sale in July, employees stuck behind the counter instead of on the sales floor, and a long line at the checkout counter.
Business B runs like a well-oiled machine. The hottest selling items are prominently displayed. Employees are able to help their customers select the right merchandise. Checkout times are minimal. Even returns and exchanges are processed efficiently.
What's the difference between Business A and Business B?Business A is still running its business with an out-dated electronic cash register, while Business B is managing their entire business with a fully integrated retail point of sale system. The difference in the two methods is astounding.
Business A's decision to keep costs down with out-dated equipment is actually hindering their growth. The electronic cash register does little more than ring up sales. Business A is missing the key growth elements necessary in today’s retail businesses: inventory management, customer tracking, automated purchasing, audit trails, and historical sales records.
Business B is growing much faster than their competitor. Their retail software provides all the information they need to make critical business decisions. It has flexible reports and cost-saving retail inventory management tools that identify weak areas of the business. Their retail software automatically calculates inventory levels and creates restocking orders. They implemented a frequent shopper program to reward loyal customers with special incentives, and they’ve seen the average ticket price increase as a result. Plus, they just opened an ecommerce store and expect their sales to increase an additional 20% during the holiday season. And they’re doing all of this with one comprehensive retail point of sale system.
Features of a Retail POS SystemEven though different retailers may require different features in their retail software, the following features are key components of any good retail point of sale system:
- Fast and easy checkouts: Yourretail software should streamline your checkout process. Whether you're ringing up sales or processing orders, a few clicks of the mouse should quickly move your customers through the line.
- Up-to-the-minute inventory picture: Your retail software should improve your inventory management by minimizing your inventory investment and out-of-stock conditions. With the right retail software, you'll always know what's on-hand, on-order, and in-transit.
- Customer retention: Your retail software should track customer information and include a built-in loyalty program. When you know who your customers are and what they're buying, you can keep them coming back for more.
- Automated purchasing: Your retail software should not only suggest reorder quantities, it should also allow you to easily place purchase orders with your vendors.
- Integrated ecommerce: Your retail software package should be able to expand your business to the web with minimum effort and expense.
- PCI compliancy: Your retail software should protect your customers' credit card information as well as your business. If you're using retail software that's not compliant with PCI DSS standards, you may be subject to hefty fines.
- Reports library: Your retail software should include an extensive library of built-in reports that you can customize to meet your needs.