Having the right Point of Sale system for your company can mean the difference between streamlining multiple business processes and bottlenecking your registers. You want a system that is easy to use, integrates with some current systems and does not cost an arm and a leg. Choosing the right one for your current needs and future goals can be tricky, but with the proper preparation and a few tips, you can get the right tools for the job.
Determine What Your Needs Are
The first step when researching software solutions for your company should be to determine your needs. This list should be a complete one that includes the needs met by your current system, so you will have a better checklist to compare solutions to once you go shopping for them. Adding anticipated wants or features to this list is also a good idea so your system can grow with you. For instance, if you are looking for a point-of-sale system that incorporates the rest of your dive shop software, you will want to find a system capable of handling inventory management with automated updates and accounting software compatibility for future integration. Going with the bare minimum as your company is still growing can mean needing to buy a new one sooner than you want to.
List the Pros and Cons of Your Current System
Once you know the basics of what you need, you will want to go into more specifics based on your experience with other Point of Sale systems. For instance, if your current system has difficult-to-navigate menus or lacks a graphical user interface, you will want to list those as cons and find a new system that is easier to use and learn. Remember to prioritize this list if you have to make compromises to find a solution that works for your business. If you dislike working with stationary hardware systems, focus on finding more mobile solutions. Be sure to get input from those using the current software for a complete picture of what needs improving because no one will have as many opinions of your system’s pros and cons as your cashiers do.
Point of Sale hardware can be a big blow to the budget, so if you can avoid replacing some or all of the items you already have, you can afford more bells and whistles in the software. Keeping your current hardware can also give you a starting point for researching the software because you will need to find compatible solutions. While many older systems use proprietary hardware, you can find modern ones which use apps you can add to your company’s computers, tablets and smartphones.
If you do not have a current system, or if your existing hardware is not up to the job, then you will want to research which units are the most cost-effective, which will work best with your ideal software and which vendors have the best reputation for quality equipment. It is important to note that many modern Point of Sale systems are designed to operate without proprietary equipment.
Narrow Down a Budget
If you build a final budget before researching available POS systems, you may be discouraged to find very little in your price range because it is nearly impossible to guess how much it will cost without some research. On the other side, you will want to avoid overestimating how much these systems cost, especially if you are financing the purchase with a loan. Researching how much a high-end and low-end system will cost can give you a good budget range to work with as you crunch the numbers. Knowing whether you need to include new hardware in that cost can help you narrow your budget to the best fit for your needs.
Choosing a Point of Sale system for your business can be overwhelming without the proper preparation. If you start your search by defining your needs, evaluating your current hardware and software, and fixing a realistic budget, you can find better-quality systems that better fit your needs.