While there are plenty of guides on what to look for in a POS system, there seems to be little in terms of information on what things to avoid when you’re shopping. POS systems are powerful and versatile tools, but it’s important to truly consider what you’re shopping for before you actually commit to buying.
In this short guide, we’ll discuss what makes a good POS program and brand, and what things you should look for when you’re shopping so you can avoid making the wrong decision.
Bells and Whistles
It can be easy to get caught up in the flashy features of any software program. While some of these features may be nice to have, it’s important to remember why you’re buying the software in the first place. It’s supposed to be a practical payment processing solution for your business, so you’ll want to make sure you’re not getting derailed by flashy extras.
Businesses use POS systems to help improve their operations, and that means a few key features need to be present:
- Payment processing tools
- Inventory management tools
- Employee management tools
- Catalog customization
- Customer Database tools
These features are the bare minimum for a good POS system, so be sure your software has them. Don’t get distracted by customizable color schemes and other less-than-necessary components.
Don’t Overlook the Support
POS software will likely go down from time to time. That’s just what technology does! What makes that downtime worse is when you have no support team available to help you address the problem. The next thing you know, you’re dealing with an issue days down the road that should’ve been handled in just a few hours. If the company you’re buying from doesn’t offer customer support for their products, move on.
Think of it this way: would you buy something from a company that didn’t stand behind its own products? What does that say about the product? About the company itself? What happens when you’re in the middle of a high sales volume day and the system goes down? Who can you call?
This is an important piece of the POS puzzle that’s often overlooked. The best POS companies provide 24/7 support, so that no matter where you are or what time of day it is, your problems will be addressed. That’s excellent customer service.
The Price Trap
Of course, you want to save money when you’re shopping for a POS, but when you buy cheaper software, you’re getting cheaper software. When it comes to a POS system, you’re getting what you pay for. If you decide on a lower-tier option based on price alone, you’re more than likely going to run into problems down the road.
Don’t make the mistake of basing your purchase decision solely on the price of the software. Some of the best POS software out there is incredibly reasonable when it comes to price, and there are flexible options available. Some POS companies offer monthly payment plans, up-front purchases, or per-transaction payment options.
Find the price that fits into your budget, but be sure you’re not sacrificing quality in the name of price. If you can, move some things around in your company finances so you can purchase a higher-quality POS solution; you’ll thank yourself for it!
Shopping for a POS system without knowing exactly what your business needs out of it is like looking for a car without knowing what a car does. You must figure out your individual company needs before you move forward with your POS purchase. If you don’t, you could end up buying software that doesn’t even fit your industry!
There are thousands of POS options available, but it’s important to remember that not all of them are “one size fits all”. Some are specifically designed for retail, others for restaurants and bars, and so forth.
The best way to shop for a POS solution is by writing down all of the features you want in your software. Then, cross-reference this information with what’s available to businesses of your type and in your industry. That way, you’ll get a much more accurate picture of what you’re looking for and you won’t get stuck with something you can’t use.
You’ll want to consider the future of your business when you’re choosing a POS system as well. Does the system scale with your business? Are there upgraded package options for when you reach a higher sales volume? Will you have to switch POS systems once you start making over a certain amount of money?
Not all POS systems are built to handle large sales volumes, so be sure to check the parameters of the software you’re buying. Happy shopping, and remember, don’t forget that support is a necessity when you’re buying software!
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