What Questions to Ask Before Signing up for a Point of Sale

August 1, 2018

Merchants today use their software based POS systems to run a greater share of their business. A point-of-sale is an intricate system that can control and track almost every activity from inventory and transactions to employee scheduling. The platform you choose isn’t just an IT decision and your POS is more than a fancy cash register. It can give your business a competitive edge and support long-term success. Here are some important questions you should ask to choose the right POS system for your business.

Which features are most important to you?
Your POS system isn’t just for payment processing; it can handle a wide range of tasks for your business. Consider the unique needs of your business to help you compare your options. Possible features you may need include:

  • Built-in scales to weigh and sell products
  • Customer-facing gratuity support
  • Off-site processing for food delivery and more
  • E-commerce integration
  • Support for refunds, store credit, and returns
  • Split payments and multiple payment options
  • Third-party integration with accounting software, email marketing software, and more makes it easy to connect your POS system with other business systems
  • Inventory management. This includes inventory tracking, low stock alerts, and automated ordering settings
  • Employee tracking. You can choose a POS system that tracks not only employee check-ins but also employee sales and productivity.

How much does the system cost?
While cost is an important factor to consider, it shouldn’t be everything when buying a point-of-sale system. It’s best to consider the system’s value to your business and its longevity. On average, a POS system lasts about a decade. That’s a long time to spend with something that may have been cheap but doesn’t add much value to your business.

The cost of a POS system can be broken down into a few categories:

  • Hardware. This is where many business owners focus but it isn’t the only cost.
  • Credit card processing. Of course, you will need to pay for merchant services to accept credit and debit cards.
  • Integration. You may need to pay a fee for a POS system that integrates with third-party software.
  • Software. Your POS system will require software to activate the hardware and make it useable. An alternative is a cloud-based system which comes with a monthly fee instead of software licensing.
  • Support. Service and support may be provided at a flat monthly fee or included in your package. You may also have one-time training fees as well.

To lower your costs, avoid leases and contracts that lock you into the system even if you find something you prefer. Equipment leases are very difficult to cancel as well. Look for a POS system that you can use on a month-to-month basis or buy the equipment outright for lower costs.

Is the system easy to use?
You and your employees will be using this system throughout the day for a decade. You want a system that’s easy to understand and easy to train employees to use. You can usually get a free trial to get a feel for the system and make sure it fits your needs.

Your point-of-sale system will be a major decision when you sign up for merchant services. Whether you’re replacing an aging POS system that doesn’t match your needs or you’re buying your first POS system, it pays to consider your decision from every angle to ensure it’s something that will add value to your business day after day — not introduce another headache to your operations.

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