Select a Point of Sale System to Fit Your Business
The POS system market has two primary types of customers: retail operations and hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.
Retail POS system customers: Retailers have simpler POS system needs than hospitality businesses because they complete transactions at once and often have little product variation. Some POS system features retailers may want include the ability to support kits (for example, three for $2 deals), returns and exchanges, and support for digital scales. Your retail POS system will need to support matrixes if you sell items that come in a variety of styles, such as clothing or shoes. Matrixes let you create one inventory and price entry for a particular item, such as a sweater, but still track sales according to size and color.
Restaurant POS system customers: Restaurants and other hospitality businesses have different POS system requirements. Casual restaurants focus on efficiency. Retail-style restaurants such as sub shops use restaurant POS systems to relay orders, cutting down on time-per-transaction and reducing errors that can occur when passing hastily-scrawled orders back to the kitchen. In quick-service restaurants, employees take orders on terminals in the front, which automatically display on monitors in the food preparation area so that food can be quickly assembled and delivered to the customer. For table-service restaurants and fine dining, POS systems need to create and store open checks, as parties order more over time, as well as track which server is responsible for which table.
Hotel POS system customers: Well-integrated hotel POS systems allow you to transfer meal charges from the dining room to guests’ rooms with just a button or two. Hotel managers need to be aware that not all POS systems integrate with all property management software.
A computerized POS system can provide significant returns if your retail or hospitality business has annual revenues of around $700,000 to $900,000. For example, if a restaurant with 20 tables and an average check of $45 can increase turnover by one party per table, it’ll make an extra $900 on a busy night. Below this level, an electronic cash register can probably meet your needs, unless you want the reporting features of a POS system or see it as an investment that can boost efficiency starting on opening day.
Save money with a POS system: A computerized point of sale system can cut down on shrinkage (the inventory that disappears from your store or restaurant) due to theft, waste, and misuse. It can also ensure that every item in your store or on your menu sells for the correct price and generate detailed sales reports that can help you focus on higher-margin items.
Get more information with a POS system: Know where you stand at any point of the day. A POS system can instantly tell you how many of a particular product have sold today (or last week, or last month), how much money you have in your cash drawer, and how much of that money is profit. Detailed sales reports make it much easier for you to keep the right stock on hand. Track inventory, spot sales trends, and use historical data to better forecast your needs. Often, POS software can alert you to reorder when stock runs low. Plus, it allows you to collect the names and addresses of your best customers as part of standard transactions, which you can then use for targeted advertising and incentive programs.
Increase productivity with a POS system: POS systems can dramatically reduce the time you have to spend doing inventory, sales figures, and other repetitive but important paperwork. The savings here: time and peace of mind. In retail settings, barcode scanners and other POS features make checkout faster. Restaurants will find their order process greatly streamlined as orders are relayed automatically to the kitchen from the dining room. In both cases, your customers get faster, more accurate service.
Keep in mind that realizing these benefits requires a commitment to utilizing the POS system capabilities to their fullest. Without appropriate training and ongoing analysis, even the most sophisticated POS system will be no more useful than a basic cash register.