You’ve decided to start a business but your passion is in the product you’ll be selling at your store or the food you’ll be making at your restaurant. You’re not sure about all of this IT stuff, especially the part about taking credit cards and setting up a point of sale system.
So, what should a business owner look for in a point of sale? These systems have come a long way since the days of electronic cash registers. Thanks to the power of cloud computing and cheap server space, today’s machines can handle dozens of tasks that used to require days laboring over spreadsheets and lots of different software systems.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind as you shop for a point of sale system:
Reliable hardware and support
This may be a given but it’s important to read reviews and learn from other customers of the point of sale system you’re evaluating. Does the card reader still work after a few hundred swipes? Does the printer continue printing in the heat of a kitchen? What if something spills on a display system? Think about all of the different types of things that can go wrong in your business that may affect the point of sale from a physical perspective.
Then, you’ll want to know what to do if something does go wrong. How can you return the equipment for a replacement? Will the company send someone to fix the problem? And, how long do repairs take?
These days, many businesses need some sort of an online presence. Even if your sales primary result from in-store purchases on your retail POS, it may make sense to open up another revenue generating channel online.
And while it’s possible to build a website on your own to sell your goods, it’s better to have something that your point of sale provides or, at least, integrates with so that you’ll have a better grasp on inventory.
In addition, the e-commerce integration for restaurant POS systems often translates to online ordering. That means customers can order food from your website, pay for it and then just pick it up from the counter once they arrive.
Do you need to hire employees for your business? If so, make sure you take advantage of a point of sale system that can double as a time clock. Many point of sale solutions now come with labor management included and it helps make doing pay roll much smoother.
Advanced Sales Reporting
The more data you can wrangle out of your point of sales system, the better equipped you’ll be with knowledge of what items are selling, what’s not moving and who are your best salespeople. You can see sales trends and attempt to forecast what might happen over the same time period next month or next year.
The bottom line is that the sales reporting can help you learn where to cut costs and how to boost revenues. But, the point of sale needs to be capable of supplying the data needed to find those insights.
As security becomes more a concern, many customers are turning to the use of chip-and-pin, or EMV, cards to help reduce fraud and identity theft. These cards reduce the risk of counterfeiting by creating a unique, one-time code that’s needed for the in-store transaction to be approved. This means that the card numbers are never run through the credit card terminal. In addition to knowing about the technology, merchants need to be aware of the fraud liability shift that took place in October of 2015.
Using a point of sale that can process EMV transactions will help keep you on the right side of the liability shift.
Have questions about point of sale features and choices? Contact us for more information and a demo.