Managing your retail store – online or offline has got a lot to do with how aware you are of using the modern retail technology. If your retail store uses POS system that is limited to only offline inventory management, you are definitely not the trendsetter or even the trend-follower. Choosing the wrong system can not only be a waste of money for you but also a source of incremental problems. It’s time to make a switch to cloud-based POS software.
Why POS Software
Successful retailers use online POS system. It gives them a better control over accounting, sales operations, online and offline ordering, inventory management, vendor dealings and payment system – every operation from a single and centralized place. You may want to learn some interesting POS related facts from the 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey by Boston Retail Partners.
Now, think of your brand retail store having hundreds of wings online – all being controlled centrally – without you to brainstorm over managing inventories, products, customers, orders and business profit. The best retail stores are the ones that use right POS software to increase operational efficiency, boost profits and fine-tune business model. Because, you ought to get your POS system work on iPad, Mac, PC and even offline. Having the right POS software ensures you are fully utilizing the business benefits of POS retail software solutions.
There are many POS software available in the market, but just anything cannot be a perfect fit for your business. A proper understanding of the POS software benefits and the buyers’ market is necessary to get a good deal. The differences between available POS features and your intended use of POS can largely impact your business.
Here is a list of common features of POS software that you should not miss out on. For a better understanding of how POS features come in play, exploring the know-how of some popular POS software may help.
You may read this comparison of web-based Point of Sale Software for additional information.
Essential Features of POS Software
Web based and Platform Independent
Your POS – the retail heartthrob, should work on iPad, Mac, and PC. The point of sale system should be operational online as well as offline, and keep you connected to all the required hardware components e.g. barcode scanners, cash drawer and receipt printers.
Ease of Use
Do more with less – by expanding as well as syncing your retail operations to a single unit. With a perfect POS solution, brick and mortar stores can create stunning online stores in minutes and organize all their products and customer profiles centrally. It’s simple. Just click to add all your products to the store, get ordering system run easily and bring all your retail operations – online, offline into a single system. This helps you sell more to a more number of customers and track retail performance both in-store and online.
Minimum Learning Curve
Your POS should be able to train your sales staff in minutes and get them fully operational with it in almost no time. You may run a trial to check how your staff is reacting to the new POS interface that you want to opt for.
End-to-end Inventory Tracking
Inventory management process is usually painful and it needs to be effortless. A POS system should be able to track critical information of your store from transactions to purchases. It should manage entire stock and allow you to have a real-time visibility of it anytime, anywhere, irrespective of the number of stores you own. This makes inventory managers’ jobs easier as they need not to spend time in calculating new orders to be placed to suppliers.
Simplifying the check-out process is a basic requirement of any POS software. The system should help sales team to avoid unnecessary delays during transaction completion stage. The less your sales team put the manual effort in completing a transaction, the better.
A good POS system has the ability to run your retail system offline without interruptions. The system should automatically sync your offline data once you are connected to the internet.
Customer Data Analysis
Capturing a pool of customer data does not make sense until you analyze the underlying information and convert customer data into customer profiles. POS software lets you know what products your customers buy more often, what incentives or offers attract them more and what keep them coming back to your store for repeat purchases. This information on customer behavior is useful when you plan to launch a new product in your store or give out discounts/offers/freebies on bulk purchases.
Customer Loyalty Program
A POS software enables you to understand your customers better and maintain a rewarding relationship with them. Once you have customer profiles handy, it is easy to dig out their personal interests and product preferences. This means you can run various loyalty programs and engage your targeted customers throughout a year.
Automated Purchasing Option
This is another useful feature of POS software that aids in efficient vendor management. A good POS can easily connect you to suppliers, in case you run short of critical products that need quick deliveries. With built-in Automated Purchasing Program, you can place an order for required quantity in no time and get them in store. No worries for last time rushes!
Easy Returns, Refunds and Store Credits
POS system provides flexibility in managing customers’ returns, refunds, and even store credits. You can even pay back to your customer using the original payment method. Make sure your own POS software supports this facility.
Mobility/ Multi-location Operations
An online POS system should have this feature built-in. Just imagine you can track your store sales and performance while traveling or manage dozens of your multi-location stores from a single place – preferably from your home. Your POS platform should help you get connected to any device at any place over the cloud.
Does your existing POS system conform to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) agreement? Make sure your POS software does that and protects customers’ payment card details. Not having this feature in your POS may lead you face legal issues.
A good POS software should help you get paid in the commonest ways possible. You may set up customized buttons with it to accept payment in cheque, cash, gift cards or any other mode you like. The system should be dynamic enough to handle deposits, partial payment in layaway sales and direct account transfer by customers.
Reporting makes decision making logical and efficient. Your retail POS should present you an accurate view of sales and product performance. A good reporting system gives quick access to store related information like product types or models, daily/weekly/monthly/annual sales figure, customer profiles, inventory status, hourly transactions and staff performance.
This is an advanced feature of modern POS system that not every vendor deals with. A few does. By integrating with a marketplace of business applications you can automate and centrally manage retail operations on multiple reseller networks. Your sales, products, and customer data remain in sync throughout all the channels meaning you don’t need to manually enter the repeat data.
API Support for Custom Solutions
Do you have a long-term plan of creating your own custom software solution? If your POS software vendor extends API help, you can build your own customized retail software. Check this option with your current vendor or the vendor you are in talks with.
Last but not the least, you should ask POS experts for free consultations – possibly two or three times from each. Get product ideas and unbiased suggestions; understand what makes you feel confident about using it and then go ahead with the pricing and negotiations with your selected POS vendor. That’s a good way to start with.
Your success with a profit-making POS software depends on how good you are at analyzing POS features – obviously before you put your money into it. So, keep venturing into it.