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Focus on the important features of a point-of-sale (POS) solution

Joe Pergola President of Sales and Marketing AccuPOS Point of Sale
Focus on the important features of a point-of-sale (POS) solution

A point-of-sale (POS) system can streamline customer transactions and capture incredibly valuable data for your business. But there are many different types of solutions on the market. How do you know which one will work best for your business? These dos and don’ts can help you make the right choice.


Do

Do think about accounting software integration

It’s great to have a POS system that generates sales reports, but sales data alone doesn’t give you the big picture. You need to know not only what you sold but if you turned a profit. Look for a POS system that integrates with your accounting software, e.g., QuickBooks, so you can view detailed sales data and accounting information all in one place.

Do know the difference between wants and needs

When you’re in the market for a technology solution like a POS system, you’ll have an array of options, which is a good thing. But don’t get so distracted by flashy features that you lose sight of what’s truly important, which is reliability, support, security, and ease of use. When shopping for a POS system, stay focused on what you need instead of what you want.

Do find a solution you can set up yourself

While it’s important to purchase a POS system from a company that will back up their product, it’s also crucial to ask yourself whether you’re capable of finding a solution and set it up yourself rather than relying on a third party. These days, you can find a POS system that has easy-to-use setup tools and remote desktop support, which will save you time and money.

Do look for a flexible POS system

Make sure you future-proof your business by selecting a POS system that is flexible enough to help you manage changes. Look for a system that will allow you to add more stations as you grow, and find a POS system that enables e-commerce transactions. Also make sure you can upgrade accounting software and still integrate sales data.

Do find the right vendor

As the owner of a small to mid-sized business, you need a vendor that is large enough to provide excellent support but small enough that your company won’t get lost in the shuffle of tens of thousands of other customers. You have an excellent opportunity to assess vendor service levels while shopping around for a system, so use that time to explore service levels.


Don't

Do not use unintegrated apps to track sales

To run a business effectively, you need to be able to see sales, inventory, and accounting data all in one place to get a “big picture” view. But there may be times when you need to process payments offsite. Make sure you get a POS system that offers a mobile app that integrates with your in-house system, including accounting software. Otherwise, you could be stuck manually entering data, which is a waste of your time.

Do not get gouged by transaction fees

There are mobile payment apps out there that advertise a “free card reader” for every business that signs up to use their service. Be wary of that kind of deal – nothing is ever really free. Apps that offer free hardware generally make a hefty profit on the back end through transaction fees. You’ll be better off establishing a merchant services account for your business and purchasing your own hardware.

Do not get hung up on a shiny new object

iPads are cool – no doubt about it – and many merchants envision using an iPad POS to project a cutting-edge image. But is the Apple brand worth the tradeoffs? The fact is, iPads and iPhones cost a lot more than Androids, and there are fewer peripheral hardware options available. Android tablets are made by numerous manufacturers, so the competition results in reduced pricing. Android devices can do all the cool stuff Apple products can do, plus more, like linking receipt printers and cash drawers.

Do not rely too much on a vendor

Watch out for reseller who promise to handle everything for you – chances are they’ll be too busy “handling everything” for another customer when you need them the most. Find a system that is intuitive enough for you to set up and manage yourself. Having access to good support is important, but you don’t want to be utterly dependent on a third party.

Do not assume you’ll never need mobile capabilities

Some merchants figure they’ll never need to process payments away from their location. But then new opportunities arise, such as the chance to participate in a local festival or food fair, and suddenly they find they need mobile capabilities after all, but their POS system doesn’t support it. Make sure you select a flexible option that is capable of mobile extension.


Summary
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The good news is that there are many different types of POS systems on the market, so owners of small and midsized businesses can find a great system at an affordable price. The trick is to select the one that’s just right for your business. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can make the correct choice.


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Joe PergolaPresident of Sales and Marketing

Joe Pergola is President of AccuPOS Point of Sale, a leader in accounting-integrated POS solutions, based in Henderson, NV. He joined AccuPOS in 2006 with fifteen years of retail and restaurant management experience and immediately merged the f...

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