Common Mistakes to Avoid
When Choosing a Retail POS System
Selecting the right retail point of sale system can be a lengthy process. Failure to do the research to match the best retail software and point of sale hardware to your business can cost you thousands of dollars. Here are a few common pitfalls to avoid.
Buying Your POS Hardware First
Most retail software packages have certain hardware requirements and a specific operating system on which they run. By purchasing the hardware first, you really limit your available software options, as you're forced to pick retail software that fits your POS hardware as opposed to the needs of your retail store. It's best to purchase the complete solution—retail software, point of sale hardware, and technical services—from a single supplier. Buying everything from the same technology vendor can reduce or eliminate compatibility issues and can often reduce your overall costs.
Buying a Retail POS System Based Solely on Price
As a retailer, you thoroughly understand that you get what you pay for. The same principle holds true when it comes to purchasing a point of sale system for your retail business. While the least expensive retail POS system may seem to be a good choice financially, oftentimes, hidden costs such as additional features, technical support, supplemental services, installation, and overall inefficiency can significantly increase your total cost of ownership. While price should not be ignored in your selection process, it should not be the most important factor either.
Relying Solely on the Advice of a Local Computer Consultant
This is not to disparage the work of computer consultants. When you have technical questions, they're the right call to make. But when it comes to understanding the specific needs of your industry, it may be outside the realm of a computer consultant's expertise. Talk to other business owners in your industry to find out what retail point of sale system works for them.
Underestimating the Research Aspect of Selecting a Retail POS System
You and your managers should sit down and decide which features your store needs and act on that. There are literally hundreds of point of sale systems available, so researching which ones fit your needs and your budget can help you narrow your choices down dramatically. Need help narrowing down the features you need in your retail software? Start with our Needs Analysis
Only Researching Retail POS Systems within Your Industry
While there are many industry-specific software packages available, many of them don't offer all of the features available in a general retail software package. Make sure you research general retail software packages as well as those specific to your industry. Often times, a general retail software package can do everything that industry-specific software can do, plus a whole lot more. Ask yourself what features you need now and in the future. Do you want a customer loyalty program? Do you need faster credit card authorizations over the Internet? What about a Dashboard view of your key performance indicators? Make sure that you don't lock yourself into an industry-specific software package that can't handle all of your basic retail needs.