A point-of-sale (POS) system is one of the most important tools for managing sales transactions, allowing small business owners to get paid faster and with fewer hiccups. This technology caters to organizations of any size and across industries like retail and ecommerce, restaurants, hotels, salons, and more—making operations more efficient, improving customer experience, and providing accurate sales information.
Having the right POS system can make or break your business. As companies compete to make online and brick-and-mortar experiences as smooth and seamless as possible, using the right technology is vital to running a successful business.
What is a point-of-sale system?
A point-of-sale system is used to manage sales transactions, allowing businesses to accept payments from customers and keep track of sales. While a POS system can be split up into hardware and software categories, not all businesses need POS hardware.
POS hardware are tools for physical storefronts that allow them to accept cash, credit card, and mobile payments, as well as print customer receipts, store cash, and scan bar codes. Hardware can consist of computers, tablets, cash registers, barcode scanners, and other peripherals like receipt printers and card credit readers.
POS software, on the other hand, is the brain of the operations. It helps process sales transactions while tracking and making sense of all the information related to inventory, sales and returns, and customer data. Because POS solutions have evolved over the years, today’s robust technology offers helpful tools such as analytics, accounting, and invoicing. The software can also be used to automate inventory management, track all financial transactions, and prepare reports related to taxes, payroll, employee schedules, and time-off calendars.
What’s the benefit of having the right POS system?
Having the right point-of-sale system for your business can have countless advantages for customers, employees, and the organization at large. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits a POS system can provide:
Accept your customers’ preferred form of payment
Not only is your POS system used to calculate prices and “ring up” sales, but it also provides flexibility by accepting different payment types. As cash payments are becoming less common, today’s POS technology works with different credit card and smartphone payment methods.
Give your business credibility
A point-of-sale system can help a business appear more professional, secure, accurate, convenient, and efficient. This helps build customer trust and satisfaction, leading to enhanced credibility and reputation.
The right technology can help your business stay competitive by providing data analytics that help you improve efficiency and inventory management tools that help you adapt to the changing environment. Armed with the right information, business owners can stay ahead of the curve and meet changing customer needs in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Simplify data analytics
A POS system helps simplify analytics by providing a centralized location for data collection and storage, real-time analysis, detailed reporting, and integration with other systems. This simplifies inventory tracking and productivity management, and it gives you insights into the habits and needs of your customers.
Tips for choosing the best POS system for your business
While the need for a POS technology is indisputable, it’s important to understand that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Every industry and business size has its own unique requirements that must be taken into consideration when choosing the best POS system.
Below are some tips to help find the best point-of-sale system for your business:
1. Know what your business needs
Prior to starting your search for a POS system, do internal research to determine not only your needs but also the pain points of your business and industry that need improvement. If you’re replacing existing hardware or software, identify where it falls short and how a new point-of-sale system can fill in those gaps. Get your team’s input, as your employees have hands-on experience and technical know-how. Lastly, figure out your budget because POS systems have different price points and payment structures.
2. Consider the hardware and software
Because POS software and hardware can oftentimes require a big investment, inventory existing tools and software that your business relies on. Before making the final selection, make sure the POS solution is compatible and works well with your existing hardware such as barcode scanners, credit card terminals, drawers, and printers. For software, it’s important that the POS system you select integrates easily with existing business apps like accounting software, CRM, e-commerce platform, etc.
3. Look for ease of use
No matter how practical the technology is, it should be easy to use. Your point-of-sale system must be intuitive and user-friendly for employees as well as customers. Your team should not lose time consulting a user manual or constantly calling tech support. And if your business offers a self-checkout option or online shopping, the process must be as effortless and friction-free as possible for the customer to make the purchase. The less friction, the more likely your customers will be to complete their purchases.
4. Make sure it’s secure
Because a lot of businesses deal with personal data and payment information, security is essential. Choose a POS system that’s updated and compliant with all the laws and regulations, especially with data security standards established by the Payment Card Industry (PCI). Your system should safeguard customer payment information using the latest end-to-end encryption and data tokenization tools.
5. Get the support you need
It doesn’t matter how tech-savvy you or your team are—knowing that there’s a dedicated customer support team is a huge advantage. That’s why it’s important to choose a POS system that offers 24/7 support via email, live chat, or phone to help when issues arise.
There are countless POS hardware and software solutions available for every industry and business type. Before making a decision, do your due diligence to make sure you choose the best POS system to fit the needs of both your small business and your customers.
Convenient, secure online business checking—with high-yield interest.