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Technology Counter Point of Sale Software Buyer's Guide
Point of Sale(POS) Software
In modern retail stores, the register systems are no longer used. People have started to realize the significance of smart transaction solutions to streamline daily transactions. Most of the land-based retailers have embraced the Point of Sale (POS) software to simplify a range of transaction-related activities. They no longer rely on those complex cash registers, spreadsheets, and other such inefficient options.
What is the Point of Sales Software?
Despite being a popular solution to the hectic and tedious management activities, research suggests that 56% of the brick and mortar store owners still rely on the traditional methods for bookkeeping. They still have the cash registers, QuickBooks, excel sheets, and other inconvenient tools for recording the regular transactions.
Running a brick and mortar retail store is not as easy as it seems. You are going to need to invest your time and efforts in the administrative work and marketing activities. In addition to planning and regular management, the store owners are supposed to handle the day-to-day monetary transactions and record them properly. That’s when the POS comes into the picture. Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities.
Simply put, POS refers to the automated software solution that acts as the single, centralized platform where the customers are supposed to make the payment for the goods and services they purchased from your store. Every time, someone shops from your store, they need to complete the transaction by making a payment through the POS system. Not only does it handle transactions, but the POS software helps you manage inventory, sales, and accounting in one place. The best quality of this automated solution is that it allows the retailers to merge different administrative operations, thus simplifying a wide range of manual activities.
Common Capabilities of Point of Sale System
It might seem quite daunting to implement new technology, especially if the POS system is the first automated software you are planning to install. There is no denying that the businesses that fail to implement a reliable and premium Point of Sale system experience slow operations. They also miss out on the important insights and analytics that could help speed up business growth.
POS helps offer valuable insights into the inventory levels, customer data, sales records, and more. This information makes it easier for retailers to build their future marketing and management strategies based on current insights. What makes it even more challenging is the decision of buying the most suitable POS system for your business. Every retail store has a different and unique sales pattern.
You need to select a system that blends well with your business structure and the management system. In order to make the selection process smoother, we have come up with the important features you need at the point of sale management software.
1. Order and Billing
The most common feature of the point of sale software is to simplify billing and transactions. The system you choose must feature the billing and order processing module that can scan the purchased goods and accept payment through different payment methods.
Besides that, the POS system must generate an automated invoice for the purchased goods. You could also forward the invoice to the customer in simple clicks. A high-quality POS solution can be used to mention the discount, customer’s name & address, contact details, and the information about the salesman. You can also mention an additional remark. The POS system is designed to automate billing and invoicing tasks. Once you have the software implemented in your retail store, you don’t have to use the papers and register for bills, orders, and invoices. The software handles everything for you.
2. Track Your Sales Performance
Recording your sales performance can be a challenging and time-consuming task for retailers. You are going to need an accountant to record daily and weekly sales transactions in a systematic manner. You will need this data to generate accurate reports concerning the overall sales performance of your business. That’s what the point of sales software system helps you with. This automated solution doesn’t only manage transactions, but it also handles the sales reports and generates insights.
Make sure you invest in an all-featured POS system that supports sales tracking, monitoring, reporting, and analytics. You must be able to use the software for recording daily transactions, tracking your monthly sales performance, and getting insights into the expenditure. You can’t rely on the guesswork for making a sales decision. If you want to make a sound decision, you are going to need to embrace the POS software for getting accurate insights.
The sales performance and analytics module help you collect insights into the revenue you generated from the sale of the particular product. This tool enables users to monitor the best performing products.
3. Stock Management
Another important yet tedious administrative task is inventory management. The POS software enables store owners to gather real-time inventory updates anytime and anywhere. Using this automated software, you can track the inventory as it goes in and out of the warehouse.
You can also use the point of sale software for tracking the inventory in multiple warehouses. The POS software will keep your sales team up-to-date with inventory movements and order processing. No need to appoint an employee for keeping tabs on the warehouses and inventory. The Point of Sale software will manage it for you. You can also set the email or SMS alerts when you are running out of inventory. That way the tool will send you an alert as soon as you need to refill stock.
Sure, you can order the inventory, check warehouses, and record the items that need to be purchased. However, it can be a time-consuming process. The POS software lets you track the best and worst-performing products, giving you a better understanding of the products your customers need.
4. Customer Management
You don’t need to install a special software application for managing customer relationships. The POS software comes packed with the customer relationship management module that helps you track their previous purchases and expenditure. By providing your customers with personalized service, you can boost your relationship with your audience and help build their trust in your brand. Your customers are going to love to do business with you if you manage to cater to all their requirements while providing them with a personalized shopping experience.
Using the POS software, you can develop a loyalty program and offer rewards to your loyal customers regularly. Not only will it help boost customer engagement, but these innovative strategies can increase your revenue. You can record customer’s data, track their buying history, find out the products they are interested in, and provide them with a personalized recommendation. You can reward some customers with a discount on their favorite products.
5. Employee Management
Usually, companies implement a separate module for managing employees’ performance. They opt for HR management system or employee attendance tracking software to automate all the employee management tasks. However, POS software can also be used for tracking the employee’s performance and their overall productivity. Some point of sale software applications come packed with the employee management module that helps companies track the employee’s working hours, sales performance, and productivity seamlessly.
You can count on the POS software for boosting employee’s engagement and providing them with an unbiased treatment. The software can also be used for creating a loyalty program for business staff. You can track the employee’s performance and offer them incentives from time to time. Not only will it motivate them to perform their best, but it can also reduce the turnover ratio.
6. Purchase Orders
Another important module of the point of sale software is the purchase program. For medium and large-scale organizations, preparing the purchase order and forwarding it to the supplier can turn out to be a hectic job. As a business owner, you are supposed to list the products you need to add to the inventory. Your purchase order can include raw materials or finished products. Now, creating the purchase order manually and ensuring that each product is listed isn’t as easy as it seems.
With the POS solution, you can automate the purchase order. The software will automatically list the products that need to be refilled. You can use it to get quotes from different suppliers. Once you have listed the required products, you can send the purchase order to the supplier and have the products delivered in no time. You can also make the payment for the purchased products through the POS software.
7. Reporting and Analytics
Point of sale software generates accurate sales reports that allow business owners and managers to track their sales performance. From profits to business expenses, everything can be recorded and monitored from one place. It helps you gather real-time data in the most convenient way. If you choose to install the cloud-based point of sale software application, you can collect the sales, employees’ performance, and other such reports at any time and anywhere. Using these reports, you can make sound decisions and plan your future marketing strategies.
These reports also tell you the improvements your business needs. For instance, you can reduce your expenses by avoiding the products that do not have a high demand in the market. It is a perfect way to find insights into your overall sales performance.
Who Uses the POS Software for Your Business?
Point of sale software is mainly used by retailers. Now, the retailers selling clothes, accessories, food, home-based products, appliances, tools, pet supplies, electronics, and other such consumer goods can implement the POS software to streamline their regular management operations.
The software is found in restaurants. Other than that, the companies offering consumer services like spa and hair treatments also implement the point of sale software for smoother business operations.
It is important to note that this automated solution will be used by the associates, staff, managers, and even customers. Customers can use the system to transfer payments, while the manager uses it to handle inventory, employees, and reports.
The main use of the point of sale software is for the transaction. It eliminates the traditional checkout process, in which the customers had to wait in a line to complete the transaction. Now, you no longer need to prepare the invoices and bills manually.
Why do You Need the Best Point of Sale Management Solution?
A strong and all-featured POS system is a must for all types and sizes of organizations. If you are planning to automate your business and streamline the basic management operations, then the point of sale software solution is probably the first automated system you need to implement in your business. POS software solution is a combination of a set of management modules that are designed to automate and simplify a broad range of activities seamlessly. This includes inventory management, customer relationship management, employee management system, purchasing order, monitoring sales performance, and more.
It might sound surprising to the retail store owners, but POS software can handle all these operations effortlessly. If you are still not sure about investing your savings in the point of sale software, then you have come to the right place.
Let’s discuss some of the important reasons why your business needs quality and superior POS software application.
· Automate Management
Business owners and managers tend to spend most of their time executing basic management activities. As a result, they get no time for research, analytics, and reporting. You can’t avoid the management tasks, such as inventory control and employee performance tracking. However, there are many ways you can automate a plethora of hectic management activities and focus more on your customers and future marketing strategies. The effective POS software is designed to save your time on the tedious management tasks.
You need a system that is easy to implement and operate. Now that most of the manual activities are managed by the point of sale system, you get enough time to plan marketing and management activities. It also gives you adequate time to conduct research and focus on your target audience and business growth.
· Personalized Marketing
Gone are the days when the one-size-fits-all approach worked. Today, customers need a personalized shopping experience. Whether you want to retain your existing customers or grab the attention of a new audience, you are going to need an effective and smart POS solution. It helps you monitor your customers’ buying history, their buying pattern, the total expenditure, type of products they are interested in, their browsing history, and more. This information will give you a clear picture of your audience’s interests.
Based on these insights, you can offer the best recommendations to different customers. You could also use the software to send an automated email or SMS to your customers every time you introduce the latest offer. Personalized marketing builds audience engagement and helps boost your revenue. It gets your audience to shop from your store and become your loyal customers. Some advanced POS software allows store owners to market products anytime and anywhere.
· Help Build Trust
Getting people to visit your retail or online store isn’t as difficult as building their trust. Even if you manage to get them to shop from your store, what are the chances they will become your regular customers? Creating the loyalty program using the POS software will help motivate your audience to become your regular clients. They will like to purchase from your store to increase their loyalty points and earn exciting rewards.
In order to achieve customer engagement, you need to provide your audience with some exciting loyalty programs, discounts, and other promotional deals. The point of sale software will enable the store owners to create a loyalty program for customers. You can track their loyalty points based on the number of products they purchased from your store and their total expenditure. You could offer them incentives and rewards to boost engagement and build their trust.
· Smooth and Convenient Transactions
One of the most crucial yet challenging tasks for a business owner is to carry out the online transactions smoothly. Nowadays, people prefer convenient payment methods. You must allow your customers to pay via debit/credit cards, cash, cheques, and their preferred payment methods.
The implementation of an open-source POS software in your firm can help streamline the daily transactions. It enables your customers to complete the checkout process smoothly. It also makes it easier for the retailers to create the invoice or bills in simple clicks. No need to spend hours calculating the amount each customer owes to you.
The POS software is designed for streamlining monetary transactions. This automated system can accept payments through different methods. In fact, the latest software applications can accept e-wallets, cards, and contactless payments. Besides that, the system allows you to record these transactions and use them to generate an accurate sales report.
· Accurate and Simple to Use
Nowadays, software developers have started to focus on touch screen POS software applications. These apps allow your sales team and cashier to access all the information they need in one place. No need to record each transaction in the registers. Your sales associates will not have to look for the cash registers for finding the required information. Everything is mentioned and organized efficiently at the point of a sale software system.
By presenting sales data and transactions in a single centralized system, the POS software eliminates the requirement for cash registers, spreadsheets, and even QuickBooks. Note that even a small error in the billing and accounting can result in the loss of thousands of dollars. The POS software eliminates the risk of manual error by automating the invoice calculation.
· Fast and Smooth Checkout
If research is to be believed, then a majority of customers abandon a website because of the lengthy and difficult checkout process. The land-based stores are no different. Customers do not like to wait in a long queue to complete the transaction. You don’t want your customers to get annoyed and leave the products they were planning to purchase in your store just because of the long line. They don’t think twice before walking out of your store if the checkout process takes time.
Using the barcode scanner in the point of sale software, you can simplify and speed up the checkout process. The scanner can read and add all the items the customer has added to their carts. The software will generate an automated bill based on the prices of the products. Now, the process is super simple and smooth. If you want your customers to walk out the door with satisfaction and a pleasant experience, then you must consider implementing the POS software for a smooth and fast checkout process.
Types of Buyers and the best POS Software that fits their Needs
As mentioned before, each business has a different structure and a unique bookkeeping method. The type of need for a restaurant POS software application is completely different from the system the spa and salon company requires. You need to list your requirements and the features you need in the software before starting shopping.
Basic Level: If you run a small-scale company, then a basic level POS software will be the best option. You don’t have to spend extra on the modules you are not going to use. The basic POS system comes with the necessary modules that streamline multiple administrative tasks. However, this system might not be a great option for businesses that need comprehensive reporting and analytics. You can’t use the basic point of sale system for developing reports and getting insights.
Enterprise Solution: Now, the enterprise-level POS software is designed for medium to large scale organizations. It helps streamline a plethora of management and marketing activities. The cloud-based POS software will allow the managers and employees to access the solution from the comfort of their homes. You can use it to manage inventory, track orders, prepare automated invoices and bills, receive payments, manage employees and customer relationships, and develop reports. The system has all the advanced features you need for a large-scale retail store.
You know your business structure and the requirements. All you got to do is list all the modules you want in the POS software application and compare the best products on the market. You can also discuss each module with the vendor to get a clear understanding of the features and its uses.
Never settle for a basic solution if you plan on expanding your business in the future. You are probably going to need to upgrade the system. The best decision is to pay extra bucks for an all-inclusive software application.
Market Trends for Point of Sale Software
Experts and researchers believe that the POS market is expected to touch $30.9 billion in the next 4 years. Whether you run a restaurant or a hardware retail store, as long as you sell products and services to customers, it is important to have a premium POS system in place.
The point of sale software for small businesses is used for conducting sales and managing the administrative work at the land-based stores. Here are some important trends that will dominate the POS industry in the coming years.
Mobile POS Software
People stay glued to their smartphones all the time. They have embraced mobile payments, especially e-wallets for secure and fast transactions. Only 23% of retailers do not allow mobile payments since they don’t have the tools that support e-wallets and contactless payments. The rest of the businesses use the POS mobile system. The mobile-friendly POS software refers to the automated application that accepts the card, e-wallet, and mobile payments. It also supports the self-checkout process.
The best part is that it enables your customers to pay using their smartphones rather than having to wait in the line. The customers can complete the checkout when they are done shopping. Despite being the latest trend in the POS industry, the mobile-based point of sale software application is implemented by only a few retail stores.
Collect Customers Data
Do you know 83% of your target audience wouldn’t mind sharing their personal details with a store owner as long as they get a personalized shopping experience in return? Customers want a seamless and convenient shopping experience. By recording customers’ data in your POS software, you can cater to your customers’ requirements. It also encourages your audience to become your regular customers, especially if you use their personal details to provide them with a personalized and flawless shopping experience.
Small and large scale organizations can use free POS software for small business to collect customers’ data and offer them the best product recommendations. Not only does the system helps you get real-time updates of the latest customer shopping trends, but it presents this data in the readable format.
Cloud-based POS Software
More than 60% of the retail stores (especially restaurants) invest in the cloud-based point of sale software application. More and more businesses are embracing cloud-based solutions as they allow them to operate the basic functions of the software from the comfort of their home and while traveling. According to the research, more than 50% of the companies will embrace the cloud-based point of sale software by 2021.
This technology allows you to transform your retail store into a digital business at your own pace. You don’t have to buy and use all the modules at once. The cloud-based POS software for PC is customizable, meaning you get enough time to check its basic modules and learn them efficiently. Simplicity is one of the main benefits of cloud-based software. Besides that, you don’t have to worry about losing important business data. You can access the software application anywhere and on any device.
Artificial Intelligence Integration
Approx 15% of modern retailers have adapted to the AI-based POS software application. Considering its perks and a broad range of automated tools, it isn’t surprising to say that the AI-integrated point of sale software is gaining immense popularity these days. There is no denying that AI will become an important part of the point of sale solution in the coming years.
AI can help you track employee’s behavior and performance. It also prevents fraud and protects crucial business information. The main benefit of artificial intelligence in the POS system is that it allows companies to offer their customers the smart and personalized recommendations. AI has the power to provide users with suggestions based on their buying patterns and interests.
Choosing the Best Point of Sale (POS) Software
POS does a lot more than allowing your customers to complete the checkout process and pay for their purchased products and services. It is an efficient way for businesses to collect important customer data, manage inventory, record financial and accounting data, and make sound business decisions. The best POS software is capable of merging different business functions and providing you with a single centralized platform to handle a range of activities smoothly.
However, choosing the best POS software can be a little overwhelming for beginners. Here, we have mentioned a few important tips you need to consider when buying the point of sale system for small businesses.
· Implementation Cost and Compatibility
The price you are supposed to pay upfront for the POS software can be quite high, even though the monthly subscription isn’t that expensive. The cost of the POS system won’t drill a hole in your pocket, but the additional hardware can turn out to be expensive.
So, you need to make sure that the system you are buying is compatible with the barcode scanner and cash drawers. If the system doesn’t support the basic hardware, then you are going to need to spend extra on customizing the software.
· List the Features You Want in the POS Software
The point of sale software is commonly used in restaurants, spas and salons, grocery stores, gyms, and other retail outlets. There is a good chance the software your business needs is different from the system your competitors have implemented.
Each business has a unique structure and transaction system. Based on your business requirements, you need to look for the software that comes packed with the features you need. Before you start your shopping for the POS software for small businesses, create a list of the modules you want in the system. It will make the research a whole lot easier.
· Training Process
The employee turnover ratio tends to be higher during special occasions, such as Christmas. Most of your employees request day-offs during Christmas and other occasions. So, most people hire temporary staff to execute business operations. Now, if you have a complex retail POS software, then it is going to take at least a month for your existing staff to train new employees and make them familiar with the automated point of sale solution.
That being said, you must look for the software that comes with plenty of videos, books, and other such resources that could streamline the training procedure. If you don’t want to spend your time training new employees, then consider buying an easy-to-use software application.
· Integration with other Software Application
The POS software comes packed with many modules that can help streamline multiple management operations. There is a chance you might not need any other software after implementing the point of sale system. However, you may need to integrate the POS system with a third-party application in the future. For instance, you may want to integrate the software with a payment gateway app to make management processes smoother and better. Similarly, you can integrate the point of sale software with an eCommerce app to sync data.
Easy integrations allow retailers to merge different software applications with the point of sale system. Integration can streamline many administrative operations. So, when choosing the POS software, discuss the integration options available.
· Customer Support
It is important to note that you aren’t only investing in the POS software that could simplify the management and transaction operations. You are also signing an agreement with the service provider. Since the POS system software features complicated modules, chances are you might need to contact the customer support department to get the technical issues fixed.
Retailers must consider the credibility of the service providers before sealing the deal. The vendor must be willing to offer a reliable support service. Look for a vendor that helps you solve all the issues you experience while using the free POS software application. An experienced and qualified support team can help you learn each module of the software seamlessly. Besides that, they must be ready to fix the technical errors and other issues in the software. Look for a company that offers 24/7 assistance.
To take your retail business to new heights, you need to invest in a high-quality POS solution that meets your business standards. So, why wait? Automate all those hectic and tedious management activities and let the Point of Sale software handle them for you. Check and compare different types of POS systems. If you are having a hard time choosing the best software application, consider the above-mentioned tips for buying the best point of sale software for your retail store.
Frequently Asked Questions [ FAQs ]
Point of Sale software is an automated management system that is used to conduct sales. It is commonly found in the brick and mortar stores these days. The software does not only support smooth and seamless transactions, but it is known for checking inventory and managing accounts. The main purpose of the POS solution is to streamline a broad range of administrative activities.
You don’t need software knowledge to be able to operate the point of sale system. The software comes packed with the training course module that has all the lectures, videos, and training materials that helps you get familiar with the structure, design, navigation, and the modules of the software. If you need more training, you can contact the vendor.
What is the Estimate Time Frame Required to Implement the Point of Sale System?
The time required for the implementation of the POS software depends on a number of factors, such as the modules you would like to integrate into the software, its interface, complexity, and more. Usually, it takes no longer than 3-6 months for the vendor to implement a premium point of sale system. Make sure you discuss the software requirements and terms with the vendor to know the implementation time.
The integration you want to include in the POS system depends on your requirements. If you are running a restaurant, chances are you are going to need an all-featured point of sale software. If you own a small retail store, you can keep only the features you are going to need. The basic integrations that are a must in each POS software application are payment and transactions, bookkeeping, accounting, employee management, inventory management, and customer relationship management.
Yes, POS software can be customized. You can add, remove, upgrade, and edit the solution so that it fits your business standards. However, not all POS software applications are flexible enough to be customized. So, before you make a purchase, check the flexibility of the POS software and ask the vendor if the system can be customized to fit the particular business structure.
While the POS software will streamline your operations a plethora of administrative activities, it can lead to certain technical issues. It can be quite hard for beginners to understand each module in the software. Navigation is also a little difficult. That’s why it is important to look for a vendor who’s willing to offer 24/7 assistance. You must sign the deal with a company that can offer quality support.