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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying the Right POS System

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Point of sale (POS) systems are an essential part of modern businesses – no matter the size. They allow restaurants and retail stores to gain a competitive edge by improving customer service, developing a strong sense of customer loyalty and eventually increasing their annual revenue. It is important to choose your POS system carefully, as it will be the center of every customer interaction and employees will use it for their everyday tasks.

To purchase a system that is capable of supporting your business, follow these steps:

Step #1: Set a budget.

When considering price, remember that it is more important to choose a POS system that meets your business needs than one that simply fits into your budget. If you choose the right system, it will eventually pay itself off over time through decreased inventory and labor costs and increased sales revenue. You don’t want to purchase an inexpensive system only to find out that it lacks the functionality you require.

There are two ways to set your budget:

1. Set a price range based on a percentage of your sales (usually somewhere between 0.5% and 3%).

2. Set budget restrictions based on a portion of your annual revenue (depending on your business size this amount could range anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000).

Step #2: Define your business needs.

It is critical to define your needs in order to find a system that has the functionality and scalability to meet them. Making a list of your requirements is a great starting off point to narrow your search. To generate this list, involve your staff and managers by asking them about their frustrations, challenges, goals, etc. It is important to involve them in the decision because they will be using the equipment for their day-to-day operations.

For example, consider the following questions:

What is the size of your operations? If you have multiple seating areas or store departments or serve a large amount of customers each day, you will need several POS terminals to streamline your service. If you often participate in outdoor events, trade shows, banquets, etc. you might want to consider a mobile POS solution so you are able to easily make sales outside your restaurant or store.

Do you have multiple locations? If you are part of a chain or franchise, consider software that includes enterprise reporting, or a third-party provider that can integrate it into your existing software. It allows managers to monitor performance across multiple locations and access in-depth sales reports for individual ones, as well as communicate corporate messages.

What level inventory visibility do you need? If you have a sensitive inventory that includes, say, alcohol or expensive retail products, consider software that provides advanced reporting. Look for software that allows you mitigate risk and reduce shrinkage by viewing inventory audits and transaction histories.

Step #3: Consider peripheral options.

Purchasing additional equipment may sound expensive, but all of these POS peripherals can help you enhance the functionality of your system and improve the customer experience.

Your system should already include: a touch screen terminal, a magnetic stripe reader, pole displays and a receipt printer. Now think – is there anything missing?

Consider these factors:

– Do you need to check out customers on the sales floor? Mobile POS provides employees with all of the functionalities of a traditional POS system as they explore the sales floor, busting lines and cross-selling.

Do you need to track inventory or ingredients? Barcode scanners can be used to scan and track inventory items in order to reduce employee theft and optimize the stocking process and the amount of merchandise or ingredients kept on-hand.

Is your restaurant fast-paced? Kitchen display systems automatically distribute orders to distinct ordering and preparation areas to improve communication between front of house and kitchen staff. Bump bars can be used to organize the flow of orders as they are completed.

When it comes to POS systems, your selection is everything. Choose wisely!

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