A point-of-sale (POS) system works like a smart cash register that helps you manage your business better. But before you run off and get one for your business, you need to choose a system.
POS systems vary widely based on the tasks they can handle and the price you’ll pay for each. Consider what your customers want, your business needs, and your budget as you evaluate your options for POS systems.
- A POS system helps you process sales quickly and easily – whether in-person or online.
- The best POS system for your business accepts digital, credit, and debit card payments and provides a streamlined system to process and track your sales.
- Many small businesses – retail outlets, restaurants, and salons – pay monthly subscriptions for their POS systems.
What Does a POS System Do for Your Business?
A POS system helps you process sales quickly and easily – whether in-person or online. But that’s not all. A POS goes beyond just taking payments. It supports a variety of areas in your business, including payroll and accounting.
Through clever integrations, such as those in modern POS systems, you can reduce admin costs, save time, and get more returns on your operating profits.
If you’re used to juggling and balancing the books, a POS system could transform your business from a mediocre turnover to a growing, profitable one.
- It centralizes and streamlines your business: It’s easy to set up and use to centralize and streamline your business. You can cut down on workload, automate tasks, and improve time management.
- It streamlines your sales from multiple locations: You can conduct business and sell products from multiple locations, accept transactions remotely – and still streamline operations.
- It can track real-time sales performance data: POS systems can log and track data related to sales, which you can access in real-time quickly, securely, and efficiently.
- It improves inventory control: POS systems store inventory data, which you can use to look up past transactions, track best-selling items, and reorder products when they’re low in stock.
- It helps you manage employee output: POS systems can track individual employee or team sales performances and identify where you can improve your sales.
- It provides simple tax management: Managing taxes can be complex, confusing, and time-consuming. An advanced POS calculates tax for you and provides simple tax management thereby saving you time and making your business more cost-focused.
- It controls and secures your data: Modern POS systems include two-factor authentication, password tools, and 256-bit level encryption that keep your company data safe without creating unnecessary risks.
- It offers a variety of payment options: You can offer multiple payment options through your POS system and give customers more ways to buy from you, thus increasing your earning potential.
- It helps you reward customer loyalty: A POS system can help you set up customer loyalty programs and create unique gift cards. This fosters goodwill with your customers and you get behavioral data insights to improve customer satisfaction.
What Your Business Needs From a POS System
- System Requirements
- Customer Experience
- Operations Management
- Business Support
- Overall Cost
The best POS system for your business accepts digital, credit, and debit card payments and provides a streamlined system to process and track your sales. Consider these important factors to look for in a POS solution:
- System requirements
- Customer experience
- Operations management
- Business support
- Overall cost
Choosing a POS service starts with understanding system requirements like:
- Hardware: Determine the hardware items you may need – computer, tablet, barcode scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer – based on how you run your business.
- Software: Get the right software – cloud or on-premises – to power the hardware you’ll use or risk losing time, customers, and money.
- Cloud or on-site: Cloud-based POS systems are convenient, run on general devices, affordable, easy to maintain, and aren’t location-bound compared to traditional sales devices.
Greg Scott, a cybersecurity professional also recommends asking the right security questions when choosing a POS.
“Make sure the POS you choose has provision for easy ongoing software updates that you control, and there are no secret backdoors for the vendor to access over the web,” Scott says. “Ask the right security questions and make sure they follow good security practices.”
Your POS system should enhance the customer experience. Consider these factors:
- Customer management: How you capture information and how the POS system stores and manages that data.
- Coupons and loyalty programs: Do you use a point-based loyalty program? Can you accept promotions and coupons?
- Mobile POS: Are there mobile features like tableside ordering or mobile checkout or is the POS system stationary?
You want a POS system that can manage your day-to-day operations while streamlining the checkout process and managing all the behind-the-scenes actions.
Evaluate how the POS manages:
- Inventory: How will you add, update, organize, and monitor product information? Managing stock control and ordering levels digitally allows you to focus on more important parts of your business.
- Employees: Can your staff clock in and clock out from the POS system? Does it track payroll hours? How does it allocate user permissions?
- Vendors: Can you manage all your purchase orders, vendors, and suppliers from the POS system?
Whether you’re content being a small corner shop or plan to grow your small business into a bustling enterprise, the POS you choose should support your needs now, and in the future.
Look for features, such as:
- Interface and usability: Is the POS system easy to set up, simple to use, and train your staff?
- Multistore functionality: Can the POS support multiple locations from a central back office?
- Integration: Does the system easily sync with your existing apps or tools – accounting software, e-commerce platform, payment processor, and more?
- Reporting: Does the POS provide reports and analytics in real-time?
- Support: Will the POS provider support your business? Is it 24/7 support or only during business hours?
Cost isn’t the only factor that determines the POS system you’ll choose, but it still plays a considerable role, especially if you’re just starting.
- Your budget: Will you use a recurring software-as-a-service (SaaS) model from one provider or pay a single license payment upfront?
- Price: Is the price and quality of the POS system reasonable? Do you pay on-time, recurring fees, or both?
- Payment processing: Can you accept all forms of payment – credit and debit cards, gift cards, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card transactions? What are your processing fees?
Many small businesses – retail outlets, restaurants, and salons – pay monthly subscriptions for their POS systems. Recurring SaaS models offer a convenient and supportive way to get what they need without spending too much on setup costs.
The fees you’ll pay depend on:
- The size of your business
- The number of users and locations
- The number of customers you serve
- The type and number of products you sell
- What you can realistically afford
- Whether the service you choose allows you to scale
What Are the Top 5 POS Systems?
Which POS system should you choose for your business? Below are our top picks for the best POS systems to help you decide.
Many small business owners turn to Square POS, especially because it’s designed to help them manage their businesses and accept payments digitally.
The intuitive, cloud-based POS system can:
- Automate tasks from a centralized dashboard
- Accept payments – cards, cash, checks, and gift cards
- Transfer funds to your bank account
- Track your customers’ purchase history
- Collect customer feedback
- Track your inventory
- Generate sales reports on specific products
Square offers two countertop registers: a full-service and a smaller countertop register. Plus, it has mobile readers – which you can plug into your mobile device and accept chip, swipe, or contactless cards on the go.
If you’re an e-commerce store owner, you can build your store directly through Square Online Store and leverage its dedicated e-commerce services. You don’t need to sign up for a third-party payment processor. Square processes payments itself and charges payment processing fees on a per-transaction basis.
Aloha POS – NCR
Aloha is a single POS system that’s designed for and services businesses in the restaurant industry. The system allows your customers to order from their mobile devices, self-ordering kiosks, or their table at a restaurant.
With Aloha, you can:
- Take and process orders
- Accept and process payments – credit and debit cards (including EMV chip cards) and mobile wallet payments
- Offer promotions, gift cards, and rewards
- Generate reports about operational, employee, and sales data
A variety of hardware options are available including handheld (mobile) and traditional countertop terminals.
If you want an easy-to-use POS solution, Bindo POS is worth considering.
The full-featured, iPad-based POS software is designed especially for restaurant and retail owners managing single or multiple locations. It’s compatible with online, in-store, or mobile payment processing and is loaded with more than 300 features, which you can manage from your Bindo dashboard on any device.
Specifically, Bindo POS:
- Integrates with your e-commerce store and receives payments from customers
- Monitors your stock and sales with detailed, real-time updates
- Stores invoices and receipts
- Checks on your order statuses
- Creates detailed custom reports about your sales
- Manages employees and view real-time reports about their shifts
- Tracks customers’ buying history and see how much they spend
- Designs customized, branded gift cards for your customer loyalty program
Bindo comes with the Ingenico iPP350, a plug-and-play terminal and mobile card reader that plugs into your iOS device’s headphone jack.
CAMPOS – CAM Commerce
CAMPOS software provides simple yet powerful and affordable integrated solutions in POS systems. You’ll find exclusive features such as sales channel automation, retail balance sheets, and profit and loss (P&L) statements.
With CAMPOS – CAM, you can:
- Manage and sell inventory through sales orders or POS transactions
- Process credit and debit card payments
- Create extensive management reports
- Capture and track customer information and purchase history for quicker audits
Epos Now is well-suited for businesses in the hospitality industry. The POS has a built-in CRM and an app store that offers a bevy of extra capabilities – integrations with payments, accounts, marketing, inventory, and other essential business tools.
The cloud-based POS allows you to:
- Access reports and back-office tools from any browser
- Get product management reports to target opportunities
- Generate employee reports to help you train and incentivize where necessary
- Track and analyze customer behavior
- Manage payments through third-party services like PayPal and iZettle
Epos Now has touchscreen POS systems, receipt printers, a handheld option – Epos Pocket – and cash drawers you can buy to create a complete POS system. Plus, you can train your employees quickly and easily on how to use the POS within 15 minutes.
What to Do Next
With a variety of POS solutions on the market, choosing the best one can be a daunting task. Clarify your needs and evaluate solutions extensively, so you can decide on the right one for your business.
Keep things simple:
- Decide whether you’ll invest in a single license desktop or cloud-based POS service
- Choose your payment model
- Ensure the POS system has the tools/integrations and functionality you need
Whatever you do, make sure the POS covers all your bases so your business is poised and primed for continued success.