Point of Sale Systems for Small Business
A point of sale (POS) for a small business owner can provide a better level of service, help gain insights into sales patterns, streamline inventory, understand customer buying habits and more. There are several point of sale systems designed to fit the needs of micro and small businesses. Whether you operate as an outdoor vendor, or exhibit at trade shows or only have one location, you most likely will be able to incorporate a mobile POS system into your plan.
What Is a Point of Sale System?
Point of Sale systems for a small business are designed to support purchase transactions. A complete POS system includes hardware, software and a payment gateway. The payment gateway handles the payment processing, enabling your small business to accept most major forms of payment. A POS system can also generate reports, based on the insights gathered from transactions, to help inform your budgeting, staffing and other projections related to your business operations. Like many technology services, options include cloud-based and on-premise systems.
What Kind of Small Businesses Need a Point of Sale System?
Most small businesses offering products or services to customers, in exchange for compensation, could benefit from a POS system. Retail businesses are probably the most common example, and can include retailers selling clothes, books, shoes, pet supplies and electronics, to name a few. In addition, most businesses that provide hospitality as a service, such as coffee shops, travel agencies and valet services could benefit from a POS system. And, most consumer services, including nail salons, car wash facilities or, spa services may find that a point of sale system would help streamline business operations.
What Should a Small Business Consider When Selecting a Point of Sale System?
In this era of tech and convenience, not surprisingly, the way we pay for goods and services continues to evolve. When considering a POS system for a small business, take your time evaluating the suppliers and packages available and, like any other investment into your small business, be sure to compare contracts and options. Also, look for insights from other small business owners with a similar line of business and/or find reviews and references to help you decide.
There are various components/attachments available for connection to your POS system. You should be able to customize a combination of hardware and software to create a system that you think would work best for your business. When connected to your POS system, each component is designed to provide information or to gain specific efficiencies. Here are some items to consider when determining which components could provide information that would be relevant to you:
- Does your small business need a cash register and a card reader?
Some cash registers are designed to only support the exchange of cash for a product or service. To accept debt or credit cards, you would need to connect a card reader to read the bank information on a plastic card. Another option is to consider “handheld services” that incorporate the required software into a tablet station. The tablet station could be placed on a stand that swivels, allowing both the cashier and the customer to use the same device. If you don’t have a storefront, keep in mind there are POS systems that allow you to use a mobile phone to accept card transactions by attaching a “card reader” into your mobile phone’s headset jack.
- Do your customers request mobile payment options?
Because of its ease and convenience, nearly 42% of consumers are using mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. As Mobile Commerce or, “M-Commerce” continues to grow in popularity, this may be something you would want to consider as you think about the service experience you envision providing for your customers. Many POS systems will enable you to accept mobile payments.
- Do you need to print receipts?
A receipt is the proof of payment for a specific item or service. Providing documentation, in the form of a receipt, is considered a best business practice. During the point of sale, often customers will rely on the electronic confirmation that a POS system creates when the transaction takes place. However, it is still a good idea to offer a printed receipt. A receipt is helpful when creating a paper trail, which could be needed when working with tax filings and other legal matters.
- Do you need a barcode scanner?
If you process inventory, implementing a bar code scanner, along with a barcode label system, could help cut costs and save time. A barcode scanner system may help eliminate some of the human error that comes along with manually tracking sales and returns. With a barcode scanner and label system, you could quickly determine if you have the right quantity of items available to satisfy customer demand, based on sales data being tracked as each labeled item is sold.
- Is the POS compatible with your other business operations systems?
Integration is a key question to consider when deciding on your POS system. You will want to ask if your POS system is compatible with your other business software applications, if your bookkeeping is processed through a software application or, if you are maintaining customer information in a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). Another way to find out if the systems “will talk to each other” is to ask if there is an option to use a “connector.” Ideally, your business software applications would communicate information back-and-forth with your POS system in order to assemble comprehensive insights. Integration will help you make the most of your customer experience, your inventory and sales data.
The technology and options for Point of Sale Systems continue to evolve. Pricing structures will vary depending on the features and attachments you want to incorporate into your small business operations. There are many benefits, as described, which will streamline your processes and, a POS system offers a level of convenience that can also help you to create a positive memorable experience for your customer.
The information; provided in articles are suggestions only and based on best practices. Dun & Bradstreet is not liable for the outcome or results of specific programs or tactics. Please contact an attorney or tax professional if you are in need of legal or tax advice.