Choosing the right point of sale (POS) for your business may seem a little daunting as a new entrepreneur because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to do your homework and ask the right questions based on your current and future needs. If you don’t, you risk being stuck with a system that’s not a good fit.
There are many little things you need to look for to make sure you found the POS that’s the best fit. The basic requirements, such as inventory tracking, reporting and analytics, and whether or not it can process payments, are a given.
Here are some not-so-obvious questions you should address with any potential POS supplier:
Can it support my business as it grows?
One of the biggest mistakes a new entrepreneur can make is to focus too much on their current needs, without addressing what they’ll need in the future. In your business roadmap, ask yourself if you envision any of the following:
- Do you plan on opening multiple stores?
- Do you want to sell online?
- Will you eventually consider diversifying your product offering?
- Could your brand easily be segmented into sister companies?
No matter how far down the line these aspirations may seem right now, you’ll be happy you included them in your decision process. You want to envision the best case scenario and find a POS provider that you can partner with to achieve your goals. If not, you risk being in a situation where your business is primed to grow, but is held back by software that can’t support that growth.
Switching POS’ and migrating your store’s data to another system (all while your store needs to stay 100% operational to support your customers) is a much more painstaking process than defining your future needs in advance and making the right purchase the first time around.
Get a point of sale system that helps you grow, that you won’t outgrow; where you can add and manage new store locations with the click of a button. Make sure the software was built to facilitate a harmonious and efficient workflow between multiple sales channels. This means reporting, inventory, payments, employee and customer relationship management need to be easily accessible from a central database — anywhere, at any time.
Is onboarding, ongoing training and support included?
No matter how user-friendly software is, there will always be a learning curve.
The difference between a good and a not-so-good POS provider often comes down to what kind of post-purchase support they offer.
- Do they train you on how to use the software?
- Do they help you get set up for free?
- Is their 24/7 technical support?
- What is their customer satisfaction rating?
- Does the provider offer any additional resources, like blogs, webinars, free demos, tutorials, reports, or even educational Facebook live streams?
Even if their software won awards, none of that matters if it isn’t backed by a team of friendly, knowledgeable, and readily-available product experts. There’s a reason why people say a product is only as good as the support behind it.
Can it help me create targeted marketing campaigns?
Remember those old, bulky cash registers shackled to a counter? All they did was ring up sales and returns. A modern POS can help you do a lot more, such as build and deploy targeted marketing campaigns that get more customers in your store. To make sure your POS can help you drive awareness and increase conversions, ask the following questions:
- Can you segment your shoppers into custom groups, which you subsequently send highly relevant offers?
- Can you create customer profiles that include all their contact information for future communications?
- Can the POS integrate with email marketing software, like Mailchimp?
- Can the POS integrate with an automated loyalty program?
According to Forbes, it’s six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Having the right tools to nurture customer relationships and stay top-of-mind reduces your marketing spend while making the customers you have a whole lot happier.
Just like finding the perfect location for your store, finding the right technology requires that you do some research. But it’s worth taking the time to get right the first time. You don’t want just a product, you want a partner.
Article by guest author Tina Kyriacou