Setting up a cloud-based Point of Sale system is a huge investment, whether you're moving from an old system or creating a new one. How long that change should take is in direct proportion to two things: how prepared you are to make the change and how easy it is to use the system you're moving to. The following are some guidelines and tips for transitioning to a cloud based Point of Sale system.
This article should help answer the question many business owner asks themselves: How long should it really take to get up and running on a cloud based Point of Sale system?
Step Zero: Research
The research you do is invaluable, and there's only one answer for how long research should take you. When you've found a simple intuitive system that allows inventory and customers to be added quickly while supporting its clients for free, you can stop looking. The most important thing to remember is to write down 3-4 features essential to running your business. If you find most or all of those, there's a high probability you'll be happy with your discoveries. (Some features may include Matrices, eCommerce integrations, free support, credit card integration, etc.)
Step One: Sign up and Setup
Initial setup of the account should be quick and simple. Modern systems should allow you to then customize your setup and features. If it takes you many hours to do the basic setup of your account, this is a good indication you're using a larger, more time-intensive system that may be more complicated than what you need. Generally, you'll want to set up your shop information, employees and their rights, vendor information, sales tax, and payment types. You will also need organizational tools like categories and/or departments first. It's a good idea to think about what information you wish to glean from reports when you're more established. The better you organize now, the easier it will be for you in the future. Well organized shop data (listed above), will take anywhere from 1-3 hours to input. If you're not tech savvy, allow extra time.
Step Two: Inventory and Customer Setup
Some systems will have export tools. In these cases, exporting client and inventory data will be effortless. Once these files are ready for import, the importing process should be quick. Most Point Of Sale platforms have either an import tool so you yourself can import data, or the POS will import your data for you. If you choose to have your POS upload your data, it's reasonable for your import to take up to 48 hours to upload (depending on size).
Step Three: Hardware
Shipping times vary. Make sure you know how your hardware is being shipped and when it will arrive. Purchasing hardware early and allowing for setup time is key. Just because your printer is brand new doesn't mean you won't run into problems. However, you never want to purchase your hardware before you choose your POS system. Many POS programs have recommended hardware, and though you may get a great deal if you purchase elsewhere, it's of no use if the hardware purchased doesn't work with your well-researched POS system.
Step Four: Credit Card Processing
Many POS have recommended credit card processors. Save time by finding out which processors integrate well with your POS. Making a quick call and receiving your credit card swiper shouldn't take more than a few days. With that being said, retailers who wait till the last minute to order may find themselves empty handed on opening day.
Step Five: Hardware Setup
By the time you receive your hardware you should have found out if your POS will help you setup your hardware. Setting up two printers, a scanner, a cash drawer, and your computer should only take about an hour. Free tech support will really be useful during this process. Cloud based Point of Sale systems usually have preferred browsers and important setup requirements. When researching POS these are good questions to ask.
Setting up a cloud-based Point of Sale system is a big change, but doesn't have to be a big hassle. Being prepared to make the change will help ease this process, and finding an easy to use system will keep you happy and focused on your customers. Depending on how comfortable you are with computers, it shouldn't take long at all to get your system up and running.
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