Seven tips to choosing the right point of sales system

You should be considering the replacment of your cash register and payment processing terminal with a computerised point of sale (POS) system if you want to take your business to the next level. Few purchases can have as dramatic an effect on your retail business as a POS system. A well implemented POS system can give you a new level of control over your operations, increase efficiencies, boost profits and help you fine-tune your business model. In addition to efficiency gains over your cash register, POS systems provide information and reports that can help you make more informed business decisions. Conversely, the wrong POS system can multiply your headaches and cause you to spend valuable time and money on supporting a technology that distracts you from running and growing your business. You can learn how to make an informed POS purchase decision by reading this article which will assist you to know what questions to ask that will help you avoid the mistakes of a first time buyer.

#1 - DO YOUR RESEARCH

Spend time evaluating POS companies

Finding the right POS software for you takes time and effort. It's an important decision that will effect how your business operates. Make sure you do your due diligence and research several companies.

When choosing a POS system, experienced buyers will tell you that it is very important to buy from a solid company. Taking the time to evaluate companies to ensure that they are customer centric and are committed to great service for the entire lifetime of your business is a smart move which will alleviate headaches now and in the future.

#2 - SPEND TIME EVALUTATION SERVICE LEVELS

When you purchase POS software, you are entering into a long term relationship with a vendor. Let's face it, there's no such thing as fool-proof software. Understanding that you will be in continual contact with your chosen POS company for software updates, support, training, hardware and consulting should be an important consideration in your decision process. The company's level of support could be the difference between a good experience and a bad one. Take the time to inquire about support service levels. If the company you are talking to cannot provide you with specific support measures, they likely don't take support seriously.

#3 - LOOK FOR A POS SYSTEM THAT'S DESIGNED FOR YOUR SPECIFIC BUSINESS TYPE

Your business is unique. As such, you need software that meets your specific needs. A lot of POS companies claim their system works for every business type (retail, restaurant: fast food to fine dinning). As a business owner, you are well aware that you can't be all things to all people. Why settle for something generic when you can get software that was built with you in mind? Know what business issues you need to address with your POS in advance and then look for a POS that is catered to your needs. You will be much happier in the long run.

#4 - REQUEST A DEMONSTRATION

You'd test drive a car before you buy it, wouldn't you? Requesting a demonstration from a salesperson is a great way to see how the software works and if it's a potential fit for your business. Beware of the salesperson who just launches into their product without first taking the time to understand your business needs. Use the salesperson as a resource. The best salespeople are there to answer any questions you may have and to help you find the best solution for you - even if it's not their product.

#5 - ASK SALESPEOPLE FOR QUOTES

By now, you should have a good understanding of what your needs are and you can begin asking for quotes. Please note that getting quotes from companies that you are interested in adds another dimension to the decision making process.

Some POS companies will include everything in their quotations while others will leave items out to make their prices seem more palatable - make sure you are comparing apples to apples. It's also very important to ask about costs that may arise during the life of your POS, such as maintenance, support, and upgrades.

You should also ask the sales rep to give you a proposal on all hardware, training, installation, support, upgrades and maintenance.

#6 - CALL REFERENCES

Asking the salesperson for references gives you the opportunity to speak with someone that has used the product first hand. Taking the time to contact references and ask the right questions will help you select the right system and avoid many problems.

In addition to asking for references from businesses that are similar to your own business, ask for references from businesses that have successfully addressed issues that are similar to your own issues (opening a new apparel or clothing store, switching from a cash register, addressing a specific cost issue). By speaking with relevant references, you can find out if the POS company keeps their sales promise.

#7 - PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

It's important to think about your future. You may have one location now, but if you ever plan or dream of having multiple locations you need to consider scalability. Ask the provider about the software's ability to incorporate additional locations. How are the different locations integrated? How are menu items and prices changed for all locations? What are the costs associated with having additional locations? Purchasing a POS system can be a scary and frustrating process, but with the right amount of patience and perseverance you can find the POS that best fits your needs and puts you on the track to success.

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