Key Features in Retail POS Software
Retail point-of-sale (POS) software can offer many advantages to owners and operators of brick-and-mortar stores. A POS system does more than just process sales: it can provide valuable information about inventory and customer behavior and enable customer-centric practices that keep clients coming back.
Here are a few of the ways a Retail POS system can not only keep your business running smoothly on a daily basis, but also help grow your bottom line.
1. More Payment Options
A good POS system can handle multiple payment methods, enabling you to accept not only all credit and debit cards, but also mobile payment apps such as ApplePay. For example, you should also look for a system that can divide payments between a gift card and the remaining balance.
2. Sales Data
A POS system records every transaction, but the more sophisticated systems offer analysis and reporting to enable valuable sales intelligence. These capabilities can transform your decision-making from guesswork to data-driven.
For example, sales and product reporting can identify important buying patterns. Some products may only sell at certain times of the year, and other products may sell best at particular times of the day. You may even uncover groupings of product purchases that can steer your inventory and display decisions.
3. Employee and Location Reporting
Sales reporting is not the only valuable area of analysis a Retail POS system can enable. It can also generate employee and location-based reports. These can help you identify top performers, as well as set and monitor sales targets. You will gain a better understanding of the subtle factors that will improve the performance of locations that are not on a par with others.
4. Inventory Management
Retail POS software can put an end to dreaded stock-taking exercises. Inventory management features will automatically deduct purchased items from the database of your store’s inventory. Manual verification is still recommended, but you’ll no longer be in the dark until stock-taking week rolls around.
Some POS systems allow you to interface these stock management functions with a barcode reader. Simply scan new inventory as it arrives—this can be done one by one, or in batches as your staff indicate the number of each products under that common barcode. At purchase, the system will then subtract each item from the total number under the code.
If you manage a charitable or resale-based operation such as a thrift store or consignment clothing boutique, you can still use this kind of feature to track how much of certain items you have. In this case, you can create your own barcodes based on price, and then categorize your donated or consigned items based on these price groupings. Your POS software will then track how much you’ve sold of each category and can even automatically mark down discounted merchandise on special days.
5. Discount Management
Promotions and discounts are important marketing tactics that many smaller retailers find difficult to manage. A Retail POS system can remove the headaches by automating promotions and discounts and tracking the programs as they run over time.
Even manufacturer’s coupons can be accommodated without manual tracking: simply scan the coupons at the register. The system will automatically offer the customer the appropriate discount, as well as tally up the number of manufacturer’s coupons used and send this data to the issuer so your store is properly reimbursed.
Newer POS systems also accept online promotion codes and digital coupons. Consumers that download a coupon can have the cashier scan the screen of their mobile device rather than using a card or paper voucher. This also allows you to offer discounts to customers who visit your store’s website, sign up for your emailing list, or download your app.
6. Customer Relationship Management
POS systems mirror some of the core functions of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software programs by keeping track of contact information for customers and recording purchase history. Building customer profiles provides a wealth of information on which categories of customers are interested in which kinds of products, and can help you target your best shoppers for special sales and events. Building deeper relationships with your customers can help you create and nurture your most loyal customer base.
7. E-commerce and Multichannel Sales
E-commerce integration is essential for any retailer with both physical and online locations (multichannel sales). Some retail POS systems deposit all your sales in a single place, which makes multichannel selling less confusing by helping you manage your inventory, balance your books, and track sales trends. Multichannel sales features can also support telephone and special orders such as those made at concerts, trade shows, or other special events.
Some POS programs offer full mobile device support, meaning that if a customer’s order is first entered on a phone or tablet, the app automatically adds the transaction to the same ledger used by the register in your store(s). This technology is what allows online order with in-person pick-up. Artists, florists, and specialty-product operators greatly appreciate this function, since they tend to sell from several different outlets or sites on an on-going basis.
The Right POS System for Your Business
Retail POS systems are among the most practical enterprise software applications on the market. With a relatively low investment, most retailers can reap major rewards through their implementation. The features outlined in this article are considered core and will be enabled by most robust POS systems, but a careful assessment of what matters most for your business is an essential first step when shopping for POS software. Now that you know for the basics, check out TEC’s list of top POS systems.
Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) is a global consulting and advisory firm, helping organizations select the best enterprise software solution for their needs. TEC reduces the time, cost, and risk associated with enterprise software selection with its advanced decision-making process and support application, software selection experts, and extensive resources. Over 3.5 million subscribers leverage TEC’s industry-leading research and detailed information on more than 1,000 leading software solutions across all major application areas. For more information, please visit http://www.technologyevaluation.com/.