It goes without saying that you are looking for a POS system to fulfill some specific needs. Cost and features will play a heavy role in your decision, but much like buying a car, there are countless features and options. In compiling a list of questions to ask of a potential POS provider, it becomes obvious that the first questions must be asked of yourself and the appropriate members of your team before you even start your mighty search for your next Point of Sale system.
Questions to Ask On Your End
Ask your managers and buyers what is holding them back and what features would help them do their jobs better.
Do you currently have access to all of the information you need?
Ask your accountant what reporting features he needs, what will increase accuracy and tracking on his end and what may save him time?
Then ask yourself: Why do I need a Point Of Sale system? What is the problem you have in mind to solve and how much time / money will be saved by resolving these issues?
Calculate how much money you would save with a system that reduces your business’ current errors, both in man-hours and loss.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Going into a system requires not only financial expenditure but valuable time. Be sure you are planning for a system that will take you into the future, increased sales and inventory and even expanding into an online store or adding new stores.
How much should you really be spending on your system? Determine your budget based off of your gross annual sales, not what you can currently afford. Consider a race car driver running a low end, basic car as opposed to a properly constructed vehicle suited to fit his needs. Your POS budget should roughly amount to 2% of your Gross Annual sales, and you should be investing in upgrades and on-going training.
Make a list of reports, features and guidelines that are required by law. This includes PCI compliancy.
Consider your level of technical skill and evaluate how much you are willing to change and learn. Many retailers avoid upgrades and change not only because of cost but because of a concern over time investment and moving out of old habits.
Questions to Ask a Potential POS Provider
Find out how long the reseller has been in business. As the retail technology industry continues to race forward into the future with many new systems popping up, you will still want to ensure the company itself is stable enough to be there with you in the years to come.
Does the reseller offer training and support? What additional features are available, and again, will this provider be with you in the years to come?
Is the user interface simple enough for your sales team to be rapidly trained on? Consider turnover and seasonal staff that will need to be up and running rapidly.
Is the location of the reseller important to you? In this day and age of technology this is of less and less importance; if they are not in your immediate city or town (as is common) and you want on-site assistance, find out what they offer.
Will this system generate the reports you need to properly conduct business? Many low-end POS systems include minimal reporting features. Bare bone reporting features for a retail shop would include best sellers, lowest sellers, beginning of the month, planned projected sales including mark downs and vendor reports. Sales rep sales comparisons and hourly sales trends are also of definite use.
Will the system connect my multiple stores? If you are opening up a multi-store business consider the ability to communicate store to store and from a central management location. This will not only save countless man hours but avoid loss, theft, fraud and costly errors. Consider if you will want this information to be in real time.
With your list of needed features in hand and the above information, you should be able to evaluate technology providers and software solutions to find the one that is right for you.
Think with the future, don’t be afraid of change and do let us know if we can be of assistance.
This article was brought to you by One Step Retail Solutions, a retail technology consultancy and point of sale resource for retailers big and small.
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