As a retailer, your choice in point of sale software will have a big impact on your business. The right choice can make the difference between efficient retailing and unmitigated disaster, especially when it comes to user friendliness and employee satisfaction. Hard-to-use systems and frustrated staff will result in less than positive customer experience and that directly affects your bottom line.
Here then, are some simple tips to follow when you set out to purchase a new point of sale software system. By following them, you stand a good chance of making the right choice for your particular business.
Create a Prioritized List of Your Needs
Before you start talking vendors, draw up a list of requirements that you need a point of sales software application to meet. Sort these requirements objectively into “must haves” “highly desirable” and “nice to haves.” The following list will help you think about the type of requirements to consider:
- General POS software features
- Compatibility with existing hardware, if you plan to use it
- Do you need software for a single store or for multiple retail outlets?
- Credit, debit and gift cards, verification of checks
- Training and support
- Does the software need to support ecommerce, or just brick and mortar business?
New Hardware Requirements
Do you already have hardware that you plan to use with your new software? If so, this might be a double-edged sword for your software selection. Your choice of software options might be limited. On one hand, this can reduce the scale of your selection process and make it easier. On the other, well, you just have fewer options and may not be able to get exactly what you need.
If you are planning to buy all new hardware as well as the point of sale software solution, be sure to select the software first. That’s just because it will be easier to match the hardware to the software, than the other way around.
Buy the Point of Sale Software Provider, Not the Software
You shouldn’t take the above statement too literally. The point is that when you purchase POS software, you are committing to a few years of reliance on the software house or vendor. Any solution is only as good as the vendor supporting it. You need to evaluate potential vendors and get references and testimonials as to their viability and reputation.
While on the subject of support, you need to vet potential vendors thoroughly in this regard too. You should have confidence that technical support will be on hand when you need it. This includes out of hours support. The last thing you need is a system problem while you’re in the middle of a stock count, for example. You should also understand and be comfortable in the way support is provided by the vendor. Can you get help on site when you need it? Is the help desk call center in your country, or outsourced to India?
Ease of Use
At the beginning of this article, we hinted at how important it is for point of sale software to be user friendly. Retailers tend to have high staff turnover, it’s just one of the industry quirks. That means, however, that new staff should be able to use your software without extensive training. You should look for a solution that uses an intuitive interface, has help functions and an “offline training mode.” The most effective way to find out about POS user friendliness is to request a demo from the vendor.
Happy To Have Helped
Now you can embark on your point of sale software shopping project, armed with some useful information to make the right selection. If you follow the tips provided, you should have no problem staying out of the “unmitigated disaster” category.