Your company is taking shape. Your business plan is airtight, you’ve got a great team in place, and you’re nearly ready to open your doors. But there’s one key thing left to do: Set up a modern point of sale (POS) system to handle transactions from the hundreds of customers who are eagerly awaiting the launch of your business.
How can you know which solution is right for your company? The following features are must-haves for any modern POS system that wants to earn your business.
Cloud-based technology is the engine that drives most commerce today, and there are two main reasons for this:
- Flexibility. The cloud allows most POS providers to make upgrades and enhancements as part of the service because implementing them is as simple as one click. This also means that even a small business’s system can evolve over time and stay relevant as technology improves.
- Security. Rather than wait for a technician to arrive and fix a malfunctioning device or install a software patch, the cloud lets your POS company install updates and troubleshoot issues remotely at a moment’s notice.
Your payment solution begins and ends with hardware—the real-world, tactile experience customers encounter when they pay. You want hardware with both open-source and proprietary components to give your business a dependable foundation, but the hardware must also have the agility to be customized for your particular needs.
Ideally, you’ll have a smart terminal with a mobile companion that provides an impeccable payment experience for both staff and customers.
Simple, Powerful User Interface
A modern payment platform involves much more than just the transfer of money. It also handles such tasks as inventory management, team training, and data reporting—all of which are crucial for a small business. These features should be fast and user-friendly. It should take just a few minutes to set up a new employee, refill an order, or compare week-to-week sales, leaving you free to take care of your current patrons and drum up new business.
The transfer of funds always has some risk involved, so data security should be at the top of your list when choosing a POS vendor. Do your homework on the most current industry standards and make sure the vendor has, too. They should be fluent in terms such as “EMV” and “PCI DSS compliance” and be able to outline how their system handles them.
Also, be sure to inquire about a custom processing rate and get a breakdown of processing costs. Do they only provide integrated processing, or can you bring in your own processor?
It’s all well and good to have a stellar payment system, but if you can’t access it remotely, your business will be behind the curve. A POS solution that only lets you run reports from the in-store terminal makes it nearly impossible to react to trends in real time.
With the cloud, your system should allow you to manage everything whether you’re in your office, at home, or in a canoe on the other side of the world. Need to issue a refund, run a report, or move around inventory? All that and more should be easy to manage from your laptop or smartphone.
In order to grow your business, you need real-time reports showing what’s selling and what’s not, what’s priced correctly and what’s straining your margins. Ideally, your POS system can filter these metrics by item, department, time of day, and sales rep, all of which are essential bits of knowledge that can make the difference between profit and loss.
As a general rule, a small business spends 2-3 percent of its annual revenue on its POS, which can shake out to between $1,000 and $8,000 annually. But payment systems today are far more affordable than in years past, and there are a wide variety of options and price points to fit your budget.
A POS system is only as good as its support team. No matter how intuitive or leading-edge your solution may be, when something goes wrong, you need that helping hand to be just a call or click away. The longer your POS is down, the more sales you stand to lose. Your vendor should understand that and provide 24/7 support.
Beyond the Point of Sale
Inventory, reporting, and employee management only scratch the surface of what’s possible with a connected payment platform. Add to that integrated e-commerce, email marketing, loyalty programs, and accounting, and you start to see the numerous ways your POS can help build lifelong customers.
Poynt is a pioneer in the field, having invented the world’s first smart terminal. Today, our revolutionary, open commerce platform empowers merchants to succeed, no matter how large or small their operation.