Fundamentally and in a nutshell, the very basic concept of POS system technology brings a heightened level of capabilities to the checkout process for many different small businesses. Combining hardware and software options added in over the last decade, the practical options for POS technology have evolved and expanded to include a wide range of functions that streamline many other important operational duties. There has been no other innovation that so clearly brings a new level of ease and accuracy to the most critical components of successful business management. Where for many years the only available POS systems were awkward and complicated to use, new technology creatively delivers to current POS operation not only new and significant options, but to that, add an unprecedented degree of accuracy that business owners can trust. So today’s POS software options allow dependable management of inventory, sales reports and marketing options. And to those functions, add detailed timesheets that make payroll and employee performance details available at the touch of a button. Other software options create customer databases that help to maintain valuable connections with customers and offer marketing options and customer loyalty incentives.
Common Purchase Errors
And so it seems that today’s POS technology offers a panacea for streamlined management of small businesses everywhere. Faced with the various software options that address a myriad of tasks (and are fully customer-customizable,) a business owner might feel a bit overwhelmed when facing the choices that will best apply to their needs. While on average, the mistake that most POS system shoppers tend to make is in buying too little, rather than too much. The advantage is in how POS systems are structured–purchase options include bundling of software, but they also allow for customers to buy individual components as well. So to err on the side of underestimating the number of useable features is the better mistake to make.
Specifics That Matter
What type of business do you operate? The bulk of POS technology currently in use tends to be in either the retail or the hospitality industry. What you get ultimately depends on the exact system you buy. While some POS systems are designed to be highly industry-specific, there are others that offer users a wide realm of options that generally apply to practically any business management. Certainly, the owner of a custom-made jewelry boutique would be wasting money to buy a system that provided for split guest checks, tipping, floor layouts, take-out orders and taking reservations. And the operation of a food truck would be unable to effectively benefit from many of the necessities directly applying to the retail market.
The Size of Your Business
The size of your business should factor in prominently among the considerations for your purchase. Larger companies can spend tens of thousands of dollars on POS technology for their operations. Fortunately, smaller to medium-sized businesses don’t have to put so much on the line, especially now that there is POS technology that is designed specifically to work with iPads and other mobile devices.
Recognize Your Specific Areas of Need
Before you head out to shop for a POS system, make a simple list comprised of every area of your business operations that depend on having easy and quick access to any type of information. And to that, add details about how you handle payroll, if you have employees. Then, consider ways in which you envision future marketing campaigns and customer incentives that you would like to provide. You will likely need cash drawers, receipt printer(s,) barcode scanner(s,) and credit card reader(s.) Other components like workstations and mobile devices are fairly universal requirements.
Some Other Considerations
Newer POS technology that is designed to run on mobile devices is available for much less of an investment than the traditional style of server-based functionality. Many systems include free customer support. Software integration capabilities are important for allowing the system to manage many different areas. Local servers offer more stability for larger businesses, while the innovation of cloud-based technology works very well for middle-sized and smaller companies. How will your business fare, being exclusively dependent on having an Internet connection to work? Dedicated servers require more extensive hardware but cloud-based technology allows you to stay connected to your business from anywhere in the world.