With so many POS systems available on the market, finding the right flavour to suit your needs can be a tiresome task. These tips should provide you with some guidance so you don’t choose the wrong one!
Define Your Business’ Needs
When it comes to POS systems, it’s certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. Even the most comprehensive systems that aim to serve the majority of businesses will find merchants inappropriate for their software. For this reason it is of utmost importance that you find a system that compliments your business model well. If you’re already using a Point of Sale system, try to identify some of the features it lacks that would make things easier or more efficient. Use these observations to as a guide for picking you’re upgrade.
What industry are you in? I ask because it’ll have a huge impact on what POS system is right for you. Get the system that works best for the type of work you’re in, whether that be hospitality, e-commerce or retail. There are Point of Sale apps that offer huge customisation options on their systems, enabling you to cater the POS to your business, instead of catering your business to the POS.
Establish a Budget
The cost of implementing a Point of Sale system will vary depending on business size, the amount of terminals and users needed, and the capabilities you require. Broadly speaking, the average price of traditional desktop-based POS software ranges anywhere between £500 - £1,200. If that’s a little above your budget, fear not, there are cheaper alternatives available. Many modern cloud-based systems offer free, basic systems, through to £40 - £130 per month for more advanced systems, dependant on the complexity and size of your business.
Before signing up to any vendor, get a quote for the installation, features, software fees, maintenance fees and ongoing support. Pay particular attention to the license fee. Not all companies charge for one but those that do typically don’t share that information plainly on their website.
Research, research and more research. There is a great deal of choice out there, which can be overwhelming, but if you stay focused on the needs of your business you’ll be fine. This is your chance to compare and audit systems, read reviews and speak to people who have used the systems you’re interested in. Call the POS vendors yourself and ask all about their product, services and what their company can offer you that others can’t.
As mentioned in the previous section, many cloud-based POS systems have free versions so use this to your advantage! Try a few to see which Point of Sale system works best for you and your business.
Consider the Future
You don’t want a system that works today, but is obsolete by tomorrow. You should be asking what this POS vendor is doing to future-proof their software. Do they offer continued updates and support?
The future appears to be headed towards mobile payment and cloud-based systems and data storage. Point of Sale vendors who wish to stay in the market need to incorporate these aspects into their system. It would be wise of you to consider these things before selecting which vendor you’ll be getting your POS system from. Also be sure to enquire if you will receive free updates for the lifetime of your account.
Accessibility is a Big Deal
Cloud-based systems offer unparalleled portability and access, but not all systems, just because they’re cloud-based, are equally good. Some systems store everything in the cloud, meaning they do not work offline. This may be problematic if, for instance, your internet connection were to suddenly fail. Luckily there are systems that save processes to the device itself, and queue those processes to be sent to the server when a connection is re-established. Point of Sale systems that operate this way tend to be far more responsive, as sending information directly to the servers can slow the entire system down, causing a delay.
An unreliable POS system has the potential to devastate your business, so when choosing a system, reliability is a huge factor. You should be able to depend on your system working, and working well, all the time.
...so is Security
If these tips were numbered in order of importance, data security would not be placed here at the bottom. It should be one of your highest priorities when selecting a POS system. There have been quite a few recent high-profile hacking incidents in recent times and no one wants their company involved in such a scandal, it’s generally bad for business. Most reputable POS vendors do not store credit card data, but double check just to be sure. Compromising customer data can effectively kill your business.
The operating system your POS is based on should be taken into consideration. Point of Sale systems that are PC-based are far more susceptible to viruses and malware. iPad security on the other hand is practically impenetrable. This is due to the way iOS works. It permits each app to have its own space on the system and restricts any app from accessing or interacting with another app, without your permission. Security is very important, do not overlook it!