Point of Sale Systems: Benefits and Shopping Tips for Retail Business Owners

While there are plenty of ways in which businesses can utilize technology to their advantage, retailers can greatly benefit from the use of POS (point of sale) systems. Such systems have increased in popularity over the average cash register as it does more than tally up the day’s sales. The right POS system can provide instant reports on information about company inventory and customers.

What is a Point of Sale System?
In general, a point of sale system was previously referred to as the cash register. It was the system in which all business transactions in the retail industry took place. However, now a point of sale system is comprised of a standard computer equipped with a cash drawer, receipt printer, bar code scanner, and credit card reader. Modern systems, such as the iPad POS system includes software that is used for tracking and monitoring business transactions.

Benefits of Investing in a POS System
Two of the biggest advantages include the ability to accurately assess your inventory and the convenience of getting to know more about your target audience.

Tracking Inventory
One of the most tedious tasks of owning a retail business is tracking inventory. Keeping up with merchandise, determining how much you have, when to reorder, and even how fast its going used to require a lot of manual labor. It meant physically counting inventory which left room for human error. New point of sale systems makes tracking inventory a piece of cake. Every time an item is scanned for purchase it is automatically removed from your inventory. Your Point of sale system can provide you with up to the minute reports on what you have in stock and when it’s time to reorder. Certain advanced software even keeps track of the prices you’ve paid for the merchandise so you can also monitor your budget and potentially find better deals with suppliers in the future.

Get to Know Your Customers
Part of satisfying your customers means having the products they need at all times. In addition to inventory tracking, the right POS system will help you to determine who your most valuable customers are and what types of products they’re interested in. Since purchase history is available in the system, retailers can customize their inventory to match the needs of their target audience. For example, the owner of a grocery store might have a group of customers that particularly likes fresh produce, as such, when produce goes on sale, the grocery store owner can customize advertising and marketing efforts to those ideal customers.

Finding the POS System that Works Best for You
There are various types of POS systems out there, and choosing which one is right for your business will require a bit of research. Price is certainly a huge factor but should not be the determining factor when investing in your business. POS systems as explained above are worth every penny and will certainly help to streamline business processes. As such, here are a few factors you want to consider as you shop:

Inventory Reporting – Above all else, inventory tracking and reporting should be your main priorities. While all POS systems record sales and track your inventory, there are various levels of inventory reporting to consider. A quality POS will do more than record your inventory, it should allow you to customize alerts for hot items that are running low, add new products to the system, and even assist in generating purchase orders for vendors. The more advanced the inventory reporting is the better it is for your business.

Ease of Use and Functionality – Essentially you will have to train new employees on how to utilize the system. For this reason, you don’t want to invest in a system that is too complex to comprehend. However, on the same token, the more involved your transactions are the more features you will need on your POS system. Therefore, retail business owners should try to find a balance between ease of use and functionality.

Room for Growth – Lastly, businesses should look for POS systems that can grow with your business. Maybe in the beginning you can only afford a system that has a cash drawer and receipt printer, however, as business progresses you need a bar code scanner and card reader.

At the end of the day it all boils down to one thing. In order to run a retail business well retail owners must look to their point of sale system as more than just a cash register used to collect money. It should be looked at as a service center that helps to grow your business and satisfy your customers.

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