FINDING THE RIGHT POINT OF SALE SYSTEM
There are plenty of ways to utilise the new $20K tax break for small business and investing in a POS system is one to investigate.
By Karl Ferrari
What to look for in a Point of Sale System Continual development in software and the affordability of hardware has given rise to small to medium sized business’s access to Point of Sale and Inventory Management Systems.
Implementing these types of system crucially gives the retailer a “live” accurate assessment of your inventory whilst providing a smoother, more personal transaction with the customer. Systems will allow for in-depth analysing of sales data as well. This makes it easy to not only identify high-margin selling products, but also those which maybe slow moving and detrimental to cash flow.
Below are considerations that should be taken into account when deciding on the system which maybe right for your business.
Do you have plans to expand the business? If so, ensure that if there is potential for growth that the package purchased can also grow. Systems need to accommodate additional stores and the additional procedures this will involve. Stock takes, transfer of stock between stores, the ability to view stock holding from anywhere within the group and individual or a combination of sales figures for reporting are all-important requirements.
Customer Relation Management
Do you communicate quickly and easily with your customers? A greater focus on customer relationships has seen the introduction of applications that can bring the retailer and customer closer. Using loyalty programs, automatically generated gift cards for birthdays and anniversaries, options for club and group discounts and easy notification of any promotional sale periods or special events, relationship building has never been easier.
Are you analysing the right data? Opportunities now exist to allow for customising of reports without requesting changes to how the program works. Reporting should allow for the drilling down to category, departments, gender, store, size/colour and brands. Exporting to programs such as Adobe and Excel will allow for further manipulation or to present reports in formats accessible for accountants or a third party.
Are staff liberal in offering discounts? Tight margins and higher priced inventory mean any discounting or pilfering will impact the bottom line significantly. Systems now only allow access to cash drawers via individual security identification (lanyards with barcoded pass wording) and thorough logging and auditing of all transactions.
Introduction of discount profiles can limit the amount in percentage or dollar discounts individuals are authorised to give.
Services such as backing up and restoration of data are critical in having redundancy in the event of any failures.
Manufactures / Supplier Link to Retailers
How much do you double handle? Recent developments at the manufacturing end has allowed retailers to “hook” directly into supplier databases allowing for the direct importing of new season ranges (description, size / colour, Cost / RRP, and barcode information) negating the need to manually enter stock and price ticket. Recent improvements from selected supplies now allow for automatic import of orders directly into the Point of Sale.
On Line Store
Are you looking for a Web presence? Although a challenging prospect for small-to-mid size budgets, a sound Point of Sale system will allow for integration to an E commerce system. This integration will update a website which should be capable of handling multi-size and multi-colour products. Consideration must be given to where stock will be held (i.e. specific location) the uploading of images and the transport/payments.
Did you want to check your sales via a mobile or tablet? Make the most of mobile technology. Systems can now take advantage of Wi-Fi/Internet connections to email or upload to a secure website “live” sales compared to budgets broken into department sales through to dollar sales per minute.
What else to consider?
– Provide a wish list / existing features if upgrading of what you would like the system to provide and what you are trying to achieve. Be as detailed as possible.
– Ensure a good support contract is offered with help available during “retail” hours. Understand what is covered in the way of “bug” fixes and program updates.
– Ensure the hardware you have is capable of running the Point of Sale system and peripherals (printers, scanners, bar code readers) are going to be compatible.
– Get reference sites of a similar business running the software.
Shop around as there are various POS options available. Stick within your budget and ensure whatever is purchased that an upgrade path is available for any future releases.
* Karl Ferrari works for Osipos, one of the leaders in POS and retail management systems