A retail Point of Sale (POS) system combines software and hardware solutions to enable customers to complete their purchase of goods or services. But they are much more than simple cash registers, and modern POS systems offer many features and advantages to businesses of all sizes.
POS systems for retail stores are vital for a business’s operations and survival. Customers are looking for more than a transactional in-store experience as it used to be in the past. They want a modern, personalized, flexible, and fast service, with knowledgeable in-store staff to guide customers along their purchase journey.
According to Oracle’s consumer research study 2021—which surveyed 5,700 consumers worldwide—53% of respondents wanted a customized service, 57% wanted helpful staff, and 71% said that faster service, a wonderful checkout experience, and delivery options were essential for maintaining their loyalty in a brand.
Small business retail POS systems can enhance your customers’ experience, not only by processing payments but also by offering an extensive list of features that help employees and management sell products and complete transactions more smoothly.
For example, retail systems can manage inventory, with the POS software tracking items sold and those still on the shelf in real time, enabling the store owner to order new stock before it runs out. Restocking early prevents customer service complaints and protects the business from missing out on sales.
Another benefit of retail Point of Sale systems is easy data analysis. The system will collect data on employees, customers, suppliers, and inventory, making it straightforward to analyze trends and gain actionable insights. You’ll know the top-selling items and the types of customers you’re attracting to your store, plus how long employees have worked and their sales numbers.
Finally, top retail POS systems streamline your operations, enabling your store to run efficiently. The systems offer multiple quick payment options, sales history and invoicing, and marketing opportunities, such as discounts for loyal customers. Often, retail software for business also provides employee time-tracking services as well.
All these functions can combine to speed up the overall store experience, enhancing customer satisfaction and staff productivity.
Choosing the best retail POS system on the market involves analyzing several factors. Here’s a quick list.
POS systems offer a diverse array of features on top of processing payments. Invoicing, inventory tracking, employee time tracking, email marketing features, ecommerce solutions, multi-device integration, and supply chain apps are just some of what’s on offer.
Review the options and find a retail POS provider that offers the features your business needs. If you’re looking for a scalable and flexible system, cloud-based POS systems for retail stores might be a good option.
Ensure the system you select is easy to use, with an intuitive interface that doesn’t require staff upskilling. A complicated system creates the possibility of employees making costly errors that may damage your store’s reputation, which is bad for your branding.
You may be using sales, accounting, or reservations software, and the POS system must work well with them. The best POS system for small retail business will integrate seamlessly with any other retail software solutions you’ve deployed in your store, or even replace some of them by offering their functions plus more.
Since retail POS software collects and processes vast amounts of sensitive customer data, make sure the system uses end-to-end encryption, antivirus, and other security tools.
While some POS systems will work with your own devices, others require specialized hardware, which can be expensive to install. If so, you’ll also need to make sure there is sufficient space to install the hardware at your store.
In simple terms, a POS system works by providing a simple, user-friendly interface for you to accept payments, manage inventory and employees, perform CRM-related tasks, and more. There are a few different aspects of POS systems worth discussing.
Setting up a POS system is generally as simple as switching on your hardware device—such as an iPad, computer, or smartphone—and installing the software. Then, you will need to customize your user interface and the other aspects of your system to ensure you have access to the tools you need. For many businesses, this will involve different interfaces for different types of users, such as managers, employees, or customers. In many cases, your POS provider will help you with setup by providing a full demo of the software.
Following deployment, familiarize yourself with your system before using it in a real-world setting. Every system comes with a different user interface, but there will usually be options for accepting cash and credit card payments, processing returns, and taking orders (if applicable). You may also have access to a range of other business-specific features, such as an employee time clock.
Once again, the way the different hardware components of your POS system work together largely depends on the devices you’re using. In simple cases, a single tablet or smartphone is all you need to accept payments. Larger businesses may upgrade to several mobile devices connected to a single central terminal. In some cases, you may even have devices from several locations connected to your central POS processing terminal to ensure inventory and performance are tracked across locations.
When someone pays you with a bank card or other digital payment method, your system will need to collect a small number of financial details in order to process the payment. Because of this, many POS systems include security features such as end-to-end encryption, which means that this payment information is protected from the eyes of hackers and other malicious third parties.
There are POS options in many different price ranges available on the market, and some of them can be complex. For a typical POS system, you will have to pay hardware installation fees, software subscription costs, transaction fees, and fees for add-ons and additional tools.
Some POS providers charge one-time fees for hardware installation, while others offer subscription-based payments. And you may be able to get a discount on your software subscription by paying annually.
Other providers only offer custom pricing designed to suit each business’s unique needs, so be sure to seek multiple quotes and compare to get the best deal.
The best POS system for retail store owners will depend on their needs and their budget. Regardless, POS systems are valuable and can make a big difference to a business’s operations and bottom line. Retail Point of Sale software can track inventory and supplies, manage customers and employees, and provide convenient payment solutions for your business—all of which can save you time and money, making your business more successful and efficient.