Investing in an electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) system is one of the best things you can do for your business in the digital era. Electronic POS combines all the advantages of an old electronic cash register with exciting new technologies that make the modern POS system a complete business solution covering everything from retail transactions to inventory and accounting.
Retail, hospitality, and mobile sector businesses are among the biggest beneficiaries of today’s POS software. Nevertheless, no POS system is worth the investment of time and resources if a business owner is going to make critical mistakes that could potentially doom the future of his/her business to failure. Therefore, it is imperative for any business owner thinking of embracing POS to fully understand how it all works before taking the plunge.
Far too many businesses have invested in electronic point-of-sale systems only to find out those systems do not work as well as they should. In worst-case scenarios, POS systems actually do more harm than good. Below are four mistakes business owners MUST avoid with their POS software if they don’t want that software to be detrimental to their business.
Mistake #1: Trusting the Software Vendor Exclusively
The electronic POS market is very competitive for developers. For example, there are more than a dozen iPad POS options out there right now. So which one is the best option for a new London restaurant hoping to expand quickly? It turns out that the question is one that cannot be answered exclusively by software vendors.
Software developers know how to develop software – that is their area of expertise. Naturally, one would hope vendors speak with representatives from industries they are hoping to serve while developing the products. But even with specific industry input, the software developer is not an expert on how to run a restaurant in central London. It would be foolish for the restaurant owner to make a POS decision based exclusively on the input of the software vendors he/she is dealing with.
No, the restaurant owner needs to speak with other restaurant owners to find out what they are doing, why they are doing it, and whether it is working for them. They need information about everything from the electronic till to how a POS system is helping with bookings and enabling servers to do a better job.
Mistake #2: Purchasing Hardware before Software Is Chosen
There is no doubt that iPad point-of-sale software is now the dominant player in the emerging electronic POS space. But there are POS applications for Android and other mobile operating systems as well. With that in mind, it is a mistake to purchase hardware before deciding which EPOS system to use. Even if a business owner has already settled on an iPad-based system, the actual software must be chosen before hardwareis purchased.
Consider the retailer who intends to use an iPad cash register at the front of his store along with several iPads that will be distributed to sales associates for use on the sales floor. Deciding beforehand what kind of POS system will be used dictates what kind of hardware the store owner will purchase. The business is going to need more than just the iPads.
The set-up is going to require some sort of electronic till, a receipt printer, and maybe even a barcode scanner. The owner may even want to establish several locations around the store with stationary POS equipment. Either way, one will not know what hardware is compatible with the business plans until a decision on software is made.
Mistake #3: Failing to Consider Employees
Another big mistake business ownersmake is failing to consider their employees when choosing POS software. Employees are the ones who will have to learn how to use the system effectively and efficiently. If a system is too complex, employees might throw up their hands and walk away. Imagine purchasing an electronic POS system and losing half of your staff because it is too difficult to learn.
An electronic POS platform for retail business needs to be as simple to use as any smartphone. Employees need to be able to pick it up quickly, learn it quickly, and utilise it in a way that makes serving customers easier and more efficient. If they cannot master the POS in just a couple of days, the business owner is in for real problems.
Furthermore, future implementations of the platform need to be just as easy to learn. There cannot be a steep learning curve with every new version, or the employer will find themselves in the same position of having unhappy staff incapable of using the solution they invested money in. This is yet another reason to speak to other business owners operating similar enterprises and using similar solutions. They can offer valuable insight regarding their own POS vendors and software.
Mistake #4: Signing a Long-Term Contract
Software vendors are known to ask customers to sign long-term contracts in order to secure the financial interests of the developer. While that’s good for vendors, contracts are not necessarily good for business owners. Things change. Business is fluid. Signing a contract without carefully considering the implications could be financially damaging to a small business that is unable to respond to industry changes due to how its POS platform works.
It is far better to adopt an electronic POS platform that does not require an extended contract. That way, the platform can be abandoned in favour of a new platform if it does not keep up with the evolution of the business. Furthermore, vendors who supply their software without contracts are more motivated to be responsive to business owners, although this should not be the sole determining factor to choosing an EPOS solution.
Whether you run a retail, hospitality or mobile based business, electronic point-of-sale is something you will have to consider at some point – if you are not already doing so. Be wise in whatever decision you make. Take the time to research, ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid to test drive some platforms before you buy. And whatever you do, avoid the four mistakes listed here.
Scott Heron is a technology enthusiast who has authored many write-ups on the latest POS technology and their importance in businesses. On days he is not writing, he could be seen researching on POS systems at this website.