Take it from us – the importance of Point of Sale (or POS) systems in business cannot be understated. The development and evolution of the POS system has increased rapidly over the past 20 years, benefiting the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (in addition to others) by integrating cloud services, mobile and a multitude of other handy features designed to improve your bottom line.
Ultimately, POS systems are about maximizing sales – something that they do in a multitude of different ways. There are too many to mention, but we’ve picked out five reasons why a business needs a POS system so that you can then determine how much money you are prepared to spend on kitting out your business with one that suits your requirements.
1. Save time and money
If the old adage of ‘time is money’ is to be believed, your company’s profitability can shoot up after getting a POS system. That’s because you can become more efficient in multiple areas of the business – not just sales (though it plays a large part). Even becoming 10 per cent more efficient in your operations processes as a result of using a POS system can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Using an efficient POS in your business will make you more cost-focused and can be a powerful motivator in helping your employees (and managers, for that matter) achieve individual sales targets and objectives, in addition to identifying where sales can be improved.
For example, through means such as improving customer service. Companies that don’t bother with a POS system (or implement one effectively) will often suffer from long queues at the checkout; they also find it more difficult for cashiers to retrieve information for customers who want to find out more about items. By being intuitive, today’s cloud-based POS systems reduce risk by preventing frustration and minimizing the loss of time and productivity, all for the benefit of the customer.
2. Increase functionality and ease of use
You can greatly improve the functionality of your business through a POS. One of the main ways this is possible is by selecting a system that is cloud-based, which allows you to run the business and retrieve reports and useful data from any location and on any device. That said, employees can only make the most of a POS system’s useful functionality if it’s easy to use. Unlike traditional cash registers, which were not designed with ease of use in mind, POS systems are designed to be as useful as possible to companies within certain sectors.
For that reason, it’s worth doing as in-depth research up front as possible to determine whether a POS system has been designed for the sector that your company is based in. Ones designed for retail, for example, will offer inventory management functionality, while ones designed for restaurants will sport large interfaces that make it easier to book tables in darkened environments.
3. Reduce (or eliminate) employee error and theft
POS systems do a lot of the hard work for employees and their managers. Not only will they calculate all manner of sales-related activity, they can also hold employees to account and figure out which are performing best (and, conversely, which aren’t pulling their weight). They can also reduce error: if you are calculating stock takes or orders manually, then it means that your business is being exposed to unnecessary errors caused by your human workers.
This wouldn’t be a problem if it happened once a day, but when multiple errors go undetected it can add up. Additionally, POS systems can detect employee theft, which is the original reason that inventor James Ritty invented the very first POS system back in the late 19th century. Any decent small business POS has the data needed to understand the source of losses and determine where weaknesses are, and where action needs to be taken.
4. Get real-time actionable reports and data
Introducing a POS system will bring more data into your business over time that can be acted upon to reap rewards. After all, you cannot run a business based on insight and intuition alone. Through accurate data you can create successful strategies and make informed business decisions.
When you have sufficient data, for example, you can order in exactly the amount of actionable stock that a certain store needs (and has proved popular with customers). You will be then able to introduce price reductions and special offers on goods according to that data. A POS system will also offer analytics features that provide specific information, such as low stock count; best selling items; worse selling items; off-peak hours; and peak hours.
5. Improve the customer experience
Getting a POS can improve the customer experience greatly. That’s through features such as customer ordering and inventory tracking, which will allow you to look up and order products into a store from other franchise locations. Additionally, a cloud-based POS lets your workers provide customer service and sell items directly from the shop floor on a mobile device – such as an iPhone or iPad – which then feeds back to all other areas of your system.
A decent POS system will remember thousands of existing customer enquiries, meaning that other customers who have the same problems or queries can be served much faster than stores that would have to look up answers without existing context every time.