Choosing the Best Retail POS System for Your Store
Contributed by Sara Sugar of ShopKeep
Choosing the best retail POS system for your store can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Having a solid knowledge of what you should be looking for in POS software can point you in the right direction. To get you started, here are 5 aspects of quality POS software you should always expect from a provider.
- Flexible Pricing
Just because retailers no longer have to cough up tens of thousands of dollars upfront for POS systems, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still ask questions and push for the best deal you can get. When choosing your retail POS system, opt for a provider that offers clear and competitive pricing. Contracts should be optional and never required. Quality POS providers should allow you the option of picking a payment processor from a third party or using theirs if you choose. Also, make sure to cover all of your bases by searching the fine print for hidden fees. The added time it will take you to do this will be well worth it in the end.
- Dynamic Sales Reporting
Some retail POS systems might assist you in completing a transaction, but that doesn’t mean they will provide you with the necessary sales data you need to grow your business. When shopping for a POS system, make sure that the software you choose provides you with robust reporting tools to help you analyze data and optimize sales. What reports should you be looking for? For starters, make sure you have access to inventory reporting, transaction tables, employee shift summaries, and a tips and gratuities report — just to name a few.
- Exceptional Customer Support
Your POS software is the lifeblood of your business. Its presence and utility weave itself through every aspect of your shop. If something goes awry and your system goes down, it can put you in a tight spot — to say the least — not to mention, the loss of sales and a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Look for a POS system that provides 24/7 customer support with a real human on the other end of the line. Anything less is a deal breaker in our opinion.
- Non-Proprietary Software
Besides needing your POS software to be functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing, you’ll want to choose a POS provider with non-proprietary hardware. What does this mean exactly? It means that if for any reason you need to switch POS systems, you’ll be able to migrate the hardware you’re using with your old POS software over to your new system. Hopefully you’ll never have to switch systems — but if you do — being forced by a provider to use proprietary hardware could possibly result in some major loss of money.
- Software Integration Capabilities
You’ve probably heard it around, but we’ll mention it anyway just for argument’s sake. POS system integrations are a must for your business. Don’t think of them as conveniences, but as necessities. For example, being able to integrate your POS software with your QuickBooks account can decrease the time you spend on accounting and can improve your tracking of financial information.
Now that you’ve had a crash course on choosing the best retail POS system for your store, you’re ready to hit the ground running and begin weighing your options. Choosing a POS provider isn’t something to take lightly. Make sure you do your homework, ask questions, and request references for businesses that are similar to your own.
Contributed by Sara Sugar, ShopKeep point of sale’s in-house Content Marketing Specialist. Sara uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down topics like POS system technology, payments, and payment security for small business owners.