Whether you’re starting a new business or managing an existing one, it’s crucial to have the right point of sale (POS) system put in place. This system will allow you to process cash and card payments in a flash to keep customers happy and your business running smoothly. In order to keep up in an ever-evolving tech world, having up-to-date POS systems should be one of your main priorities. Today we want to present a small business owner’s guide to POS systems.
Like any technical system, there’s a lot of information and choices out there. To help you navigate the world of POS devices, we’ve provided some basic information along with some industry-specific advice for choosing the right device that best suits your business.
A point of sale (POS) system consists of both purchasing devices and software that allows consumers to complete a transaction. Common devices that are used in POS systems include barcode scanners, credit card readers, tablets, mobile computers, computer monitors, receipt printers, and cash registers. Then when it comes to software, common choices for small businesses include Square, eHopper, TouchBistro, Vend, Shopify, and ShopKeep.
Important Note: These systems are not one-fits-all solutions and will need to be set up in a specific way to meet the needs of your business.
The main function of a POS system is to process payments and manage sales. This sounds pretty straightforward, but there are various ways you can set up your system that ranges in complexity and require different devices.
Some of the older POS systems use cash registers, swipe card readers, and bare-bones purchasing software. There’s nothing wrong with using an older system, it’ll get the job done, it just won’t be as effective as some of the newer systems on the market.
Many of these newer systems are completely digital, allowing you to process payments from virtually anywhere. Many of these systems utilize tablets, mobile computers, and portable card readers. They also allow you to easily create discounts, manage inventory and track online sales. The more insight you have into sales analytics, the better you’ll be able to serve your customers.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to dive a little deeper into how to find the right POS system for your specific industry. Each industry comes with its own unique challenges. You’ll need a system that is not only capable of handling those challenges but will also provide you with the right tools to excel in the industry.
To have a successful retail business, you’ll need to choose a POS system that offers the ability to set and manage prices easily, keep track of inventory, collect sales data and build reports. Currently, the best POS system on the market for retail businesses is Vend. This system offers a user-friendly interface that integrates seamlessly with your purchasing devices. All payment data is synced to the cloud allowing secure and easy access from virtually anywhere.
If you’ve ever worked in or managed a restaurant, you know that things move fast. The last thing you need to worry about is a slow POS system. Ideally, you’ll want a system that can handle online orders, reservations, order tracking, and bill splitting. Right now, the leading POS system on the market for restaurants is TouchBistro. This system helps to streamline and simplify restaurant operations by providing easy management of the dining room, kitchen, and guest engagement.
Whether you’re a massage clinic or a carpenter, you’ll need a way to process payments quickly and effectively. The best all-around POS solution for the service industry is Square. This flexible system allows service providers to collect payments in-person, online, and on the go. It also offers special features such as loyalty programs, email and SMS marketing, and a message hub.
Some of the most successful small businesses of today operate entirely online. If this is the direction you’re wanting to take your business, you’re going to need a secure payment system that is easy to use on the front end and back end of your website. One of the best and most affordable POS systems for online sales is Shopify.
This system allows you to sell, ship, and process payments from the comfort of your own home. Not only will you be able to easily manage products, but you’ll be provided with insightful sales data to help you make more informed business decisions.
With the advancement in technology, more and more systems are transitioning to an online environment. With this transition, business owners must take proper measures to protect customer data. A breach in your POS system could end up costing you millions of dollars due to stolen financial information and loss of consumer trust.
The best way to ensure that you’re putting a secure POS system in place is to spend time researching and comparing different POS software packages. All of the software options mentioned above include PCI compliance, meaning that they abide by a set of strict security standards when it comes to processing and storing financial data.
Choosing the right POS system is the first step, now you’ll need to maintain that system and keep it running smoothly. All of the best POS software packages will include personalized customer service. Any time you have questions or run into an issue, you should be able to reach out to your service rep for assistance.
When it comes to POS hardware, it’s a little trickier. Oftentimes businesses use devices from different manufacturers. For example, your cash drawers may be from APG while your handheld scanners are from Honeywell. Each manufacturer usually has its own system set in place for getting devices serviced and it’s not always the easiest or most cost-effective route.
At TSI, we streamline the process of getting your POS hardware serviced by accepting all types of devices from various manufacturers. So back to our example, if you needed to get both your cash drawers and barcode scanners serviced, you could purchase one of our service programs and have them worked on in the same location. This will take some extra steps out of the process, saving you valuable time and money.