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investing in POS software

Five Questions to Consider When Purchasing a POS System

Jake West

Once upon a time, a simple cash register was considered a cutting-edge and sophisticated technology tool for point-of-sale (POS) transactions.  Now, POS systems are incredibly advanced, highly scalable, and will work as a valuable asset to any brick-and-mortar business. If you are thinking of investing in a POS system, below are five questions to consider.

1. What is the total cost of ownership? The total cost of owning a POS system requires critical analysis. The following are items to consider when making this calculation:

  • POS terminals and peripherals cost
  • Warranty contract cost
  • Support contract cost
  • POS implementation and service fees
  • Networking equipment cost
  • Leasing fees
  • PCI security protection and remediation
  • Internet service fees
  • POS fixtures cost
  • Credit card processing rates and fees

2. How many POS stations do I need? Plan the number of stations based on peak business, so your staff can handle the influx of customers during these periods.  Consider the number of staff you have that are placing orders and serving customers. In a hospitality environment, we suggest one station for every five wait staff. High volume areas, such as the bar, may require a dedicated station.

3. What is PCI Compliance and why does it matter to me? The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) applies to all merchants that accept credit cards. Very few merchants have a working knowledge of this standard and what it means for them. The PCI Compliance requirements vary based on business size, category and other factors. Many merchants ask whether the POS software is PCI compliant.  The question instead is whether the payment application is PA-DSS certified. Be sure to speak with your merchant services provider to find out which PCI requirements pertain to you.

4. Do I need Value Added Services? Value added services play a vital role in the initial setup of your POS solution. Examples of value added services include menu programming, inventory imports, credit card setup, technical support and ongoing training. Some providers offer turnkey solutions and other services may be sold a la carte. Read reviews of the point of sale providers you are considering and ask about the services included in your proposal.

5. What kind of technical support comes with my POS purchase? Before you decide on a POS system to purchase, be sure to understand the scope of customer and technical support that is included with the system.  Ask a lot of questions. Is support included in the price of the system? Can you reach a live person on the phone 24/7? Is it necessary to buy a supplemental support contract? Technical support is a critical factor when choosing a merchant services provider.

A state-of-the-art POS system will allow management of business operations including inventory, pricing and sales, employee management and much more. Ultimately, by choosing a POS system that caters to your specific needs and improves the customer experience, your business will grow and flourish.



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