These days point of sale is all about mobility with a host of apps available to suit retailers and hospitality providers alike. Often easily affordable with month-to-month plans, they can be downloaded at the click of a button.
But as you trawl through the bounty of downloadable delights available, here are five key features to look for in your POS.
Reports and analytics
Providing access to essential information about what you sell, when you sell it and who you sell it to, reports and analytics allow you to understand the nature of your business and focus on improvement.
According to statistics outlined in softwareadvice.com it's one of the most sought after features in a point of sale system, with 76% per cent of businesses identifying reports and analytics as a key requirement.
Many of the big name POS providers will allow you to track daily, monthly and annual sales at varying locations with a breakdown of sales by store, sales by staff member and sales by period.
Other data available can include:
- sales by item
- payment type
- sales trends comparisons of weekly, monthly, daily and yearly takings
- taxed sales
- top grossing categories
- discount sales,
- transaction status
Next on the list of must-haves is inventory management, which allows users to easily input items and monitor stock levels.
Overall, inventory management is the insight into what a retailer has available and is invaluable to staff and clientele alike. softwareadvice.com notes 74% of businesses seek solid inventory managements as a key feature of their POS, while 83% of customers will stop shopping at a location if they run out of stock of their desired item.
When comparing inventory management features between POS providers, key components to look for include:
- How you add items -
- Can you import existing stock from a file like CSV?
- Can you add items easily with a simple procedure?
- Can you add items from your POS tablet or just via a dashboard?
- Is there barcode capability?
- Can you vary items by colour, size etc?
- How you search items -
- Is there barcode reader compatibility?
- Can you search by keywords?
- Can you generate stock reports?
- Is there automatic reordering ability?
How your inventory management reports back to you -
- Can you readily see what stock is available?
- Can you see what stock is available at what location?
- Does the system automatically alert you when items are running low?
As staff are an essential ingredient for every business' success, managing them as part of your POS goes a long way to streamlining the enterprise.
Many current POS systems boast features like shift scheduling and time clocks, allowing the automation of payroll via a further integration or as part of the system.
Most will also allow individual passwords to be assigned to staff members with varying access levels.
This individual tracking means the manager can see exactly what an employee has sold and when. This enables management to ascertain who their top sellers are and utilise incentives, if desired. In some instances commission on sales can also be automatically calculated.
Customer relations via marketing, loyalty programs and promotions is becoming an increasingly important element of the new shopping world.
A vital component of this is customer management, which allows users to collect and store information about who their customer is, how they spend, when they do it, and their preferred method of payment.
This information can then be used to recognise loyal customers, send bulk marketing emails, target a specific group or even offer them a gift on their birthday. And, according to softwareadvice.com, 66% of shoppers would cease shopping at a store if their loyalty was not rewarded.
Used by every member of your sales team, the register is arguably the most important component of POS. While apps enable the software to be housed on portable devices like tablets or smartphones, the hardware which this software supports is an essential element of the checkout experience.
Features to look for include the:
- Ability to record different types of payments
- Support for barcode scanners receipt printers, cash drawers and card scanners
The speed at which the checkout operates is also worth noting, along with whether it will remain operational and how sales are recorded if there is an internet outage. Many will continue to operate and let you record sales, backing up data from the session once your back online.
The wrap up
The bulk of big names like Square, Revel, Vend, Shopkeep and PayPal Here offer multi-platform usage. In other words you can run off Windows, iOS or even Android using your tablet as a cash register. They are often accompanied by an online dashboard that grants the manager further access to reporting, staff handling and set up.
Some even offer specific hardware packages, to get your full POS up and running as swiftly as possible, and you can also opt to have your POS tailored to suit your needs, or adopt the various integrations available that allow easy data export for accounting, and marketing campaigns.
Regardless of whether you're a high street retailer or a heart and soul cafe, your POS system needs to be easy to use for all involved, but it takes investigation to ascertain exactly what's right for your business.