So you’ve been selling online and things are going great. Your once humble home-business has outgrown the confines of your small rented space. Sales are expanding and you have made the decision to step into the world of physical retail. Now you have to find premises, fit the shop with everything you need, hire staff and make sure you have the right equipment such as a POS system.
If you have been in the world of retail business then you might have heard, seen or even used a Point of Sale system otherwise known as POS. Don’t worry though, if you have a small start-up business and you are looking to explore the benefits of moving to POS, this blog post will tell you what Point of Sale is all about and how you can use it to improve your retail experience.
What does POS mean?
A Point of Sale system often refers to a computing system that captures financial transactions whenever a sale is made in a retail environment. Think of the last time you made a purchase in a retail store. Chances are the shop keeper did a simple barcode scan of the product you bought, took payment and finally they generated a receipt for you.
Put simply, ‘Point of Sale’ is the place where a retail transaction is carried out.
A POS system automates what would otherwise be a manual process of handling and registering retail transactions. In fact, there are a number of benefits of using POS systems as opposed to going down the manual cash register route.
Benefits of using POS in retail
Tracking your sales
Of course, you want to know how your retail business is doing and the first metric that pops in mind is the sales. Using a POS system, you will not only get the sales data but you will also drill down to the sales trends over time. You can generate daily, hourly and even real-time reporting which is quite helpful in making decisions related to the business both in the shorter or long term.
Manage your inventory
In the retail business, a well-managed inventory is one of the ingredients towards a successful venture. You have the goods your customers want but it would be a nightmare if you run out of them when your customers are on the queue. A good POS system can help you keep tabs on how your inventory is moving or not moving for that matter. It will alert you when you are almost out of stock plus it will flag off some dead stock on your side among other vital aspects of inventory management.
Customer relationship management
At the heart of every successful business is the customer and this is why the more you know them, the better. POS systems will help you store relevant customer data which can, in turn, help you personalise shopping experiences and any marketing campaigns you run.
In fact, whenever you setup a marketing campaign, you can be able to segment your customers. If you are looking to promote shirts, for example, it wouldn’t be useful to send out a promotional message regarding a large sized shirt to a customer who is a medium size.
With POS systems you can target customers and prospective clients quite easily since you have the right data on your side. You can even go as far as setting up things like loyalty programs and gift cards on a POS and provide incentives for your customers to keep buying from you.
Another benefit that is often underrated is the ability to manage your human resource, particularly when it comes to sales. POS can help you establish the right staffing needs for your sales efforts whilst also aiding in tracking employee hours and sales productivity performance. You can get to know which employee is making your retail business more money and hence craft a reward scheme to incentivise your staff and improve sales performance.
POS systems are moving from brick and mortar stores to the cloud. In other words, they can be accessed via the web which allows you to keep tabs on your sales and other related data wherever you are. It can actually come in handy if you have branches in various physical locations by simplifying the way you manage your business remotely.
Free vs premium point of sale software-which one is right for you?
Now that you know a thing or two about POS and its benefits, it is time to pick the right POS software for your business. There are tons of free and premium options but which one should you go for?
Well, if you are looking to save money then free POS software could be the right option for you. Some examples of popular POS software in the market are eHopper, Chromis POS, Floreant POS, Imonggo, Keyhut and Loyverse. Free POS software, however, tends to be limited when it comes to the features you will get. Moreover, it may not be scalable enough for your business as it grows.
This is where a premium POS tool might be the better option depending on the nature of your business and the features you are looking for. It doesn’t have to cost much and thankfully there are some low price POS that are tailored for small businesses which could be ideal for your start-up.
A good example is the retail POS by Shopify but there definitely other good options you could go for depending on what fits you best. Some of other popular premium POS include the likes of Quickbooks, BG Reklam and Nextar POS.
In a nutshell, a POS system is a nice way to stay on top of your sales process while saving on time, cash and improving your business. This explains why it is finding uses in virtually every retail niche around the globe. The key is to select a POS with the features that fit in with your business. That way you can streamline your payment processing and even combine it with your CRM and HR to get value for your investment.