Identify Your Needs and Features You Need
Before shopping for a point of sale system, it helps to identify the needs of your business. If you already have a point of sale system and want to upgrade, make note of any issues you have with your current system. Consider tasks in your business that could be simplified, such as inventory management and employee check-in. Don’t forget to ask employees what changes could improve efficiency.
Every POS system will offer basic features like payment processing, inventory management, and reports. Many systems offer less common features that can boost productivity and make managing your business easier. Here are some features to consider:
- Online ordering support for in-person pickup
- Age verification prompts for tobacco and liquor sales
- Integrated appointment calendars for studios, salons, healthcare, and more
- Delivery tracking
- Split payment support
- Built-in scales for weighing products
- Third party integration with email marketing, accounting and other software. This means yo don’t need to manually download and upload information between systems.
Determine What Hardware You Need
Next, you need to determine what hardware is required to make the system work. Some point of sale systems require hardware while others can work with existing equipment or an iPad or tablet. If you already have existing equipment and hardware, you will need to check for systems that are compatible. Cloud-based systems are increasingly popular as they reduce the upfront costs to set up the system. You will only pay a monthly fee rather than buying a software license. Most work with tablets.
Note that some point of sale systems are proprietary and require working with a specific merchant services provider to use the system. You may want to avoid choosing a point of sale company with a proprietary system as it’s usually more expensive and you can’t use your hardware if you switch software.
Lease or Buy?
Another important decision to make when choosing a point of sale system is whether you will lease or buy the system. Because a POS system is more expensive than a simple credit card machine that sits on the counter, it pays to consider this choice carefully.
Leasing equipment means little or no upfront cost at all but leasing does cost more over time. Eventually, the monthly lease fees will double or triple the cost of the system. A lease also comes with a contract that prevents you from canceling for 4+ years. Even if you stop using the point of sale system, you will be stuck paying to lease the equipment.
Buying a point of sale system offers a better value although it comes with a larger upfront commitment. You can keep your system current with free software updates but make sure you choose a system with the latest technology like NFC capabilities to accept a range of payment types and keep the system from becoming outdated too soon.
There are so many different point of sale systems available today that your choice can seem overwhelming at first. Just remember that a point of sale system does far more than payment processing; it can boost productivity, make business management easier, and help your bottom line. Carefully go over the features you need most from your system and consider any existing hardware you have before making your choice.