Choosing the right point-of-sale software is a big deal for your business. You want to make sure your POS software serves your company's needs.
If you operate a business that sells goods or services, chances are you will need some form of point-of-sale (POS) system to ring up sales and accept customer payments. As technology evolves, so has the functionality of POS systems. In addition to payment processing, there are hundreds of POS software features available. Your business should choose a top POS software solution that has features tailored to your specific industry and size. Learn which POS system software features are available to make an educated choice for your business.
What is a POS system?A POS system is a combination of software and hardware that allows businesses to complete purchasing transactions. Businesses can often tailor POS systems to their specific business needs. There are various types of POS software (cloud-based, on-premises, hybrid) and hardware options (stationary POS terminals, mobile POS systems, cash drawers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, card readers, customer-facing display systems, self-serve kiosks, kitchen display systems, digital menu boards, etc.).
What are the benefits of POS software?The most beneficial POS software depends on the industry you're in, the size of your business, your budget and the features you need. Some POS software companies tier the features in each plan, so when you consider a plan, pay special attention to the benefits it includes.
Here's how five of the major feature categories of POS software can greatly impact your business:
In addition to ringing up sales, POS systems can often store a variety of data, such as customer information, employees' hours, and inventory levels. This data can be compiled into actionable insights via POS reports. Many POS systems can also integrate with other business platforms.
What's the difference between POS software and hardware? When you get a POS system, you will need both POS software and POS hardware. The main difference between these two items is that the POS hardware is the set of physical components you need to operate, whereas the POS software is the digital technology program you use to access information.
POS softwareThere are three main POS software options: cloud-based, on-premises and hybrid software.
POS hardware typically includes these components:
1. Determine your budget.As with any business purchase, you need to determine how much you can spend on your POS system. Look at industry averages on what you should expect to spend and go from there. You may want to look for a scalable POS system, meaning you can start out with affordable, basic features and then add on advanced features and peripherals as your business (and budget) grows. Your total budget should include the cost of the software, hardware and payment processing.
2. Decide which features you need. A POS system can do more than just ring up sales. It can store a plethora of data, integrate with other platforms, and streamline processes like employee, customer and inventory management. Some systems even include features like online ordering, delivery options, customer loyalty programs and gift cards. However, you may not need all the bells and whistles just yet. Identify which features you need, which ones would be nice to have, and which ones you don't need at all.
3. Consider your industry. The industry your business operates could be another factor, as some vendors offer industry-specific POS systems. Depending on your industry, this could help narrow down your choices significantly. For example, if you own a food service business, look for a POS system geared toward restaurants. Considering your industry and employees will help you pick a POS system that is easy for your staff to use.
4. Research and choose a specific POS system.Once you are armed with information on the type of POS you want, research your options. Narrow the list down to your top picks, and call each of these companies to inquire about terms and features. Ask any questions you may have so you can make an educated decision.
How much does a POS system cost? The total cost of your POS system is the combination of hardware (which could be anywhere from P10,000 to 50,000), software (1,500 to 3500 per month), and payment processing (roughly 1.3% to 3.5% per card transaction).
The exact cost will depend on what type of hardware you need, what payment processor you use, how many registers and locations you have, and what software features you want. You get what you pay for, so advanced systems tend to cost more.
Who offers the best POS Software? There are several great POS systems on the market, but the best one for your business depends on your industry, budget, and the features and tools you need.
What is the best POS software based on industry? Each industry has its own software requirements. For example, a large restaurant may need POS software that focuses on ingredient-level inventory management, menu and order management, and employee scheduling and tip management. A retail store may need software that focuses on inventory management with size and color matrices, customer relationship management features to track interactions and purchase histories, and a loyalty program.
Best POS software for retailIf you're looking for POS software for your retail business, you have several factors to consider. You will likely need a system with extensive retail-centric POS features like inventory management for unique items and pricing, customer management for purchase histories and loyalty programs, reporting tools for sales data and performance, and third-party integrations.
Here are some great options for retail POS:
Here are some great restaurant POS options:
Epos Now is a flexible POS system with a long list of versatile features. It is easy to use, with an average training time of just 15 minutes, so your stylists can acclimate to it in no time. You can also add on customer loyalty campaign features. It offers affordable rates and month-to-month terms. Read our full review of Epos Now to learn more.
What are some POS software options for PCs?Whether you are looking for a retail or restaurant POS option for your business, several POS systems are available for your device. Some POS software is both browser- and app-based and works with various devices, like iPads and iPhones, Android phones and tablets, and PC or Mac computers. Others are limited in their connections or may only work with dedicated, proprietary POS terminals. If you are looking for POS software for a specific platform, make sure you read the terms or speak with a representative about the hardware and operating system requirements.
What is open-source point-of-sale software?There are multiple variations of POS software when it comes to compatibility, with open-source software offering the most flexibility. For example, if a POS software program is listed as open-source on merchant processing, that means you can use it with the credit card processor of your choice.
Some POS system providers offer in-house processing; these companies might charge an extra fee (sometimes per transaction) if you choose to work with a third-party processor. Some POS systems are compatible with a handful of processors, giving you a small pool to choose from.
Open-source (or processor-agnostic) POS systems are the best option, because you can switch processors if the rates go up, the service is lousy, or you find a better deal elsewhere without changing your POS system as well. This flexibility is especially beneficial for small business owners, because switching POS systems is more expensive and time-intensive than switching payment processors.
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