Today, utilizing software to help manage the day to day operations of a retail store is a necessity. Today’s customers demand expediency, and simply aren’t willing to tolerate the pen-and-paper point of sale systems that once dominated most of the world’s stores. When a customer proceeds to the checkout process, they expect a fast, easy, and efficient process.
Likewise, today’s business managers demand perfection. A proper point of sale software system is key to helping reduce shrinkage by ensuring that cashiers always charge the correct price for items. It is also necessary to ensure efficient inventory management, which helps streamline the business process by providing instant feedback on stock levels.
Sophisticated point of sale software can even be used to generate reports that indicate when certain items appear to sell the most, so that staffing and stocking accommodations can be made in order to optimize sales.
Implementation of point of sale software entails a variety of concerns for business owners. Here are the main things to consider:
Taking a few moments to think deeply about your inventory will be essential before moving on to plan what sort of point of sale software implementation your business needs.
Do you sell by volume? By item? Do you sell services by the job, such as a haircut, or by increments of time, as with a massage service? Do you offer service plans, or other add-ons or upgrades to the products that you sell? All of these issues need to be taken into consideration before you start examining point of sale software systems that you might use for your business.
Not all point of sale software systems are able to accommodate all of the above products and / or services. As a result, one must not assume that any point of sale system will do the job. Chances are, if your business entails doing anything more than having a pre-set list of physical products, with no other types of sales being made, then you will need something more than a basic point of sale system in order to keep the checkout process smooth.
Why are you implementing a point of sale system? Have you considered the fact that rigorous cataloguing of all sales can result in a treasure trove of data that will allow you to analyze sales patterns, the effectiveness of promotions, and more? If not, this is an issue that you definitely need to consider.
Since your point of sale system will be collecting a large amount of data, it would be wasteful to purchase a point of sale system that cannot provide analytic capabilities, or cannot provide easily usable data for third party data analysis utilities. Be sure to investigate precisely how each point of sale system you investigate will store information about sales, and investigate whether or not this data can be exported and used with third party programs.
Will your point of sale system integrate with your bookkeeping / accounting software? Do you even need it to? These are very important questions to consider.
Investing in a point of sale system that is incompatible with your accounting software, or doesn’t work quite right with your accounting software, can result in unnecessary labor being spent on manual entry of data that you already have in a digital format. Be sure to consider whether or not your point of sale software will integrate with your accounting software in a relatively seamless manner.
Unless you’re selling items that are billed by weight or time, then chances are, you’ll need to worry about inventory tagging. Do the items that you sell generally come with UPC codes attached? If not, you’ll need to consider the logistics of affixing a UPC code to each item that you’ll be selling. This is hardly as simple as it sounds. Generally, the most efficient way to this is to buy a label printer that directly interfaces with your point of sale system. This way, UPCs for products – which are stored in the point of sale system’s inventory database – are easily printed from the very same system that handles inventory for sales.
This means that you can avoid duplicating functionality across computer systems, and ensures that your most up to date inventory is always available for label printing. Label printers come in a huge number of varieties. Some print adhesive tags. Others print tags that must be attached to objects (garments, usually) with a piece of plastic. Consider your merchandise in order to determine which kind of label printer will be most appropriate for your business.
There are many kinds of checkout equipment that your store can use. Will you select scanners shaped like pistols, or the sort that stand like monoliths? Do you need to have a scale at the checkout? Why not invest in a scale that also has integrated laser scanners in it – like you see at the grocery store?
Could your store accommodate such a thing, and is it worth the expense? Which brands of scanners work with your point of sale software? You need to figure out these things before settling on your point of sale system software. If you end up picking equipment that isn’t well suited for the kind of sales that you’ll be doing, then you might end up wasting many hours of your employees’ and customers’ time over the course of a month – leading to a worsened retail experience for customers, and unnecessary inefficiency at the checkout.
Do you have the background technical knowledge to handle installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your point of sale system? If you don’t have these skills, or don’t have a go-to person at your company to handle such things, then you will probably need to call in a consultant or contractor to handle these matters. And generally speaking, calling in specialized IT support technicians to work with point of sale systems can be a costly endeavor. Be sure to investigate what kind of residual costs support might create for your business.