Choosing the Right Retail POS System
It's a critical decision every retailer faces: How do I go about selecting the right point of sale system for my retail business? The task can be especially daunting knowing that choosing the wrong POS system for your business can cost you thousands of dollars to replace.
Identify the Needs of Your Store
When possible, purchase the entire retail POS system
from one company
First and foremost, you need to identify the needs of your store, particularly any unique needs you have. There are literally hundreds of retail software packages available today. Some retail software is designed for large ticket items with very few daily sales. Other retail software is designed for fast-moving retailers with thousands of daily transactions. Be sure you’re researching the right retail software for your business.
Purchase Retail Software and POS Hardware from One Company
When possible, purchase everything—software, hardware, and services—from one company. The single point of accountability will eliminate the blame game that can arise when multiple suppliers are involved.
Having just one vendor allows you to have a single point of contact for all your point of sale hardware, software, and service needs. Plus, buying everything from the same vendor can often reduce your overall costs.
Establish a Budget
You’ll also need to establish a budget. Be sure to factor in retail software, accounting software, point of sale terminals, peripheral devices, back-office servers, training, and an Internet connection. While the price of the complete point of sale system should not be the only factor in your decision, establishing a budget can help prevent you from putting too much strain on your business’s finances.
Talk to Your Customers
Talk to your customers about things you can do to improve your business. Your customers are on the receiving end of your service and can give you a first-hand perspective on their shopping experience. Questions such as "Have you ever shopped with us online?" or "Would you be interested in joining our Frequent Shopper Program?" can help you determine features you need in your retail software package.
Use the feedback from your customers to make sure the retail point of sale system you are researching will address their needs as well as your own.
Get a Demo
Be sure to get a demo of the retail POS systems you're considering. Depending on the size of your store, your investment in a complete retail point of sale system will most likely range from a few thousand to ten thousand dollars or more. Before blowing your budget on the wrong POS system, make sure that it fits your needs today and can grow with you into the future.
Research the Company
With all the fly-by-night software companies that come and go each year, it's very important to research the company as well as the retail software. Start with companies that have an established track record in developing and implementing retail point of sale systems. You want to purchase your POS system from a reputable company with significant experience in the retail industry. Make sure the company you choose stands behind their products through after-hours technical support, feature enhancements, critical software updates, and extended warranty protection.
Request References and Call Them
While your vendor is the right person to ask about the features available in various retail software packages, be sure to request references and call them. While your vendor may paint his retail software as the perfect point of sale solution, a fellow retailer will tell you everything—the good and the bad—about that retail software or point of sale hardware. Their feedback will give you valuable insight into the practicality and functionality in a real-world retail environment.