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analyzing point of sale (POS) technology

Tips for Choosing and Analyzing POS Software

By Matt Downs

Are you getting ready to acquire a new point-of-sale (POS) system? Prepare to familiarize yourself with POS software—the lifeblood and heartbeat of any POS solution. The application should be easy-to-use and accommodate your employees’ daily tasks. Keep in mind, different industries require different workflow requirements. Below are a few items to consider when evaluating POS software options.

What is my vertical? In the POS world, an industry is called a “vertical.” For example, in the hospitality business, different verticals would include: table service restaurants, quick service restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc. Retail is one of the broadest verticals and can include everything from boutiques to convenience stores. Determine your vertical, as some POS systems are only suitable for a single vertical with specific workflow procedures pre-programmed into the system based on standard industry practice. However, if you decide to enhance your business model, you may quickly find that your POS software is no longer able to accommodate new workflow requirements.

Security Software Features. Ask point of sale providers questions about the security functions of the system. Make sure you are able to limit access to the system based on job roles or user groups.

Inventory Management. One of the best new features for high-tech POS systems is inventory management functionality.  The system should allow you to keep track of inventory levels as you sell and account for shrinkage. The software additionally would allow for split ordering cases into units for sale.  Understand whether the inventory is managed as “average cost” or “FIFO” (First-in-First-out).

Bulk Changes. Well-designed software makes it easy to change a common feature on many items in the database at the same time.

Loyalty and Marketing.  Too many businesses ignore the loyalty solution in their POS software. The ability to communicate with your customers via SMS and email directly from the POS system is more time and cost effective than using third-party tools. You also want to be able to filter customers by criteria for targeted campaigns, and a robust solution will offer a myriad of capabilities.  You will want to have a plan in mind for loyalty when you are shopping for a POS software solution, and make sure the software you choose can successfully implement the plan.

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