Is running your restaurant, retail store, or other small business becoming complicated? As a small business owner, it’s your job to manage employees, track inventory, and analyze sales reports while simultaneously keeping the lights on and the floors clean. Even if you consider yourself an excellent multi-tasker, managing all these responsibilities alone can set your head spinning.
What if we told you there was an easier way to still be in complete control, without having to manually complete each task? And it doesn’t even involve hiring an assistant, cloning yourself, or building a robot. In this post, we’re going to explore a solution that could quickly become your new best friend – a point of sale system.
Table of Contents
- What is a Point of Sale System?
- The Components of a POS System
- What to Look for in a POS System
- All Systems are Not the Same
What is a Point of Sale System?
Before we get into the details of this technology, here’s a brief overview:
A point of sale system is what your customer uses to pay you for the products or services they choose to purchase.
You’re probably thinking, “isn’t that just a cash register?” Well, yes and no. Yes, because you do use it to store cash and calculate change. No, because it is so much more.
A point of sale system serves as a central hub that merges everything we mentioned above – employee management, inventory, sales, etc. – to be easily accessed in one place.
If you’re feeling wary about automating processes or tasks that you have always completed manually, we get it. Implementing new technology can be unpredictable and daunting. However, as technology advances, so do the tools available to business owners like you. And we believe that in the end the value to your business will be unmatched.
Allow us to take some of the unknown out of POS systems by sharing what they typically include.
The Components of a POS System
Any POS system you choose will be made up of both hardware and software components. These components will all work together to make the daily operations of your small business easier and faster. Here are some common pieces of a point of sale system:
- Monitor or Tablet
Depending on your needs, your POS will come equipped with a monitor or tablet. This displays your product database and includes other functions such as employee time-tracking and quick views of sales reports.
- Barcode Scanner
These scanners integrate with inventory stock levels to help you seamlessly keep track of what you have on-hand. They also automate the checkout process by pulling product info and adding it to the customer’s order total.
- Credit Card Reader
If you’re accepting credit cards, you need a secure, EMV-compliant card reader. Without one, you face potentially catastrophic losses due to fraud liability. Read more here.
- Receipt Printer
This connects with the system to print a snapshot of a customer’s purchase. It also provides a way to request feedback and proof of purchase in the case of a return or chargeback.
- Cash Drawer
The classic cash drawer safely stores cash you accept from customers and calculates any change due.
Software components will vary depending on your needs, but it’s important to remember that integration is important. You want a system that can grow and change with your business, so make sure the system you choose has integration capabilities.
What to Look for in a POS System
Now that you know what hardware to expect from a POS system, let’s talk about what the system can do. Again, it depends on what your business needs, but point of sale systems are commonly equipped with the following features and functions:
- Sales Reporting
Most systems will allow you to view sales. The difference between systems will be in how the data is presented. In general, you’ll want a system that can give you quick snapshots of your business performance and generate detailed reports based on:
- Total cost of items sold
- Total retail amount
- Net profit
- Profit percentage
- Gross margin
- Inventory Management
If you’re running a restaurant or retail store, this will probably be the most important function of your POS system. It allows your system to calculate inventory digitally, so you always know when you need to place an order or if you have a surplus. With inventory management, you can:
- Manage your stock by creating product variations (i.e. size, color)
- Identify pieces of inventory with a unique serial number
- Track inventory levels across multiple locations
- Set custom reorders of best-selling products
- Customer Management
Your POS system can even come equipped with a customer relationship management function (CRM), to help you track all data and purchase behaviors. If you’re hoping to build more committed customer relationships, look for a system with the power to:
- Attach a sale or transaction to a specific customer
- Keep track of your customers’ purchase history
- Capture information like name, age, birthday, phone number and email address
- Use email marketing to keep in touch with them
- Reward them with a built-in loyalty program
- Employee Tracking and Management
Yes, the right POS system can even help you manage your employees. Use it to identify who your top performers are, who needs be better about getting to work on time, and more. A POS system makes it easy for you to:
- Add employees to your system and manage permissions
- Create and modify schedules for employees based on forecasted activity
- Email schedules to employees
- Track employees’ hours weekly and over time
All Systems are Not the Same
Just like businesses, every POS system is different. We highlighted a few of the most common features and functions for you in this post, but ultimately the decision will be up to you. There are many great options out there to help you grow your business, including MaxxPay® and Total Touch® from Electronic Merchant Systems!
We know you have a big decision ahead of you. If you’d like some more advice, here are a couple of additional blog posts to check out:
To learn more about our POS solutions, contact us today by clicking on the button below!