Written by Jodie Pride
11th August 2015 • 6 min read
Whether you’re a newbie when it comes to business or a pro entrepreneur, choosing a point of sale system can be a tricky task. But don’t worry: we’re here to help. A good POS system will save you both time and money, so it’s worth investing some time in comparing the different softwares available on the market to ensure you’re choosing the right one. But first, before you begin comparing purchase order softwares, you should complete the following steps.
Step 1: Identify your needs.
What kind of business do you have? What are you looking to get out of your point of sale software? It’s important to address this because each POS system will have different strengths and weaknesses.
A clothing store is going to need a different type of POS software than a restaurant. Some POS softwares are very industry specific, whereas others can meet a wide variety of business needs. Let’s take the retail industry for example. Here are some of the features you should look for in a POS system:
- Customisable discounts and coupons
- Item scannable by barcode or SKU
- Gift cards
- Loyalty/reward programme
- Customisable products (weight, size, colour etc).
Conversely, a POS software for a restaurant would probably need things like multiple open tabs, the option to split the bill in various ways, floor layout plans and inventory deductions based on menu items.
Make a detailed checklist of things you need your POS software to do. If it doesn’t meet those needs, the software is a no-go.
Step 2: Decide on a budget.
Price is another big factor to consider when choosing a point of sale software. Their prices can range from free to thousands of pounds, with varying pricing structures, so it’s important to pick something that meets your needs while being cost effective.
Consider the size of your business. This is definitely going to affect your decision: the bigger your business, the more powerful POS system you’ll need. You’ll also require a more powerful setup – which is going to cost more. Small and medium businesses can definitely spend less thanks to some of the developments in POS technology.
Step 3: Check your hardware and equipment.
Some point of sales softwares will require hardware and equipment purchases, while others can operate on equipment you most likely already own – cloud-based POS softwares work on iPads, for example.
It’s worth taking note of the hardware and you’ll need to make the software work. Make sure you include the number of units required for each piece of hardware, and if you do end up buying equipment and hardware, make a note of each items brand and model for any future POS softwares you buy to check if they are compatible.
Now for the fun part: it’s time to do your research on the various POS software solutions out there. You can do this in a number of ways:
This is a great way of familiarising yourself with what’s on the market. Get to know a few brand names, check out their star ratings, read their reviews. Review sites are a great first port of call – a hub of information, if you will.
Here you will be able to see a quick overview of each software, so you can check the price and the key features before deciding on a few to check out more thoroughly. Try Software Advice, or if you’re operating an ecommerce store too, you can check their add-on stores – that way you know your POS software will be compatible with your online shop.
Forums are another great way of gathering real opinions from real retailers. You can either simply read older posts, or create your own discussions – this way, you can ask direct questions and get direct answers that address your specific needs. Places like UK Business Forums are popular methods of researching software for your business.
Word of mouth
It’s a good idea to talk to people with similar business structures to yourself because they’ll have the same needs as you, and this way you’ll have a good idea of what works for them – and what works for them, will probably work for you too.
So seek out other retailers in your industry. Talk to them. Gather their opinions on the POS software they have used in the past and present, compare the results, see which software is the most popular.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few different POS software – probably on the basis of price – you should compare them against your checklist from earlier, and eliminate any which don’t meet your needs.
After you have settled on a few different softwares, contact their sales teams and see if you can test them out before buying. Most software companies will offer some sort of trial period, so take advantage of these offers before settling on one software.
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