A POS system is a powerful tool that can help small business owners kick off on the right foot. A traditional cash register does little more than store cash and record transactions; a point of sale system can do that and so much more. From inventory management to report generation, a trusty, well-equipped POS system can help inform your business decisions so that you can propel your company to greater heights. Here are six key features to look for when browsing POS systems for small businesses.
Must-Have Features of POS Systems for Small Businesses
1. Inventory Management
Managing inventory is a challenging yet necessary part of running a business, particularly retail stores, food and dining establishments, and convenience stores. It entails a lot of time and manpower, depending on how frequently you must cross-check and update your stock levels.
The best POS systems take the pain out of the process through automated real-time inventory tracking, as the system updates the stock levels immediately after every transaction.
One advantage of real-time inventory management is that you make smarter purchasing and restocking decisions. 66.3% of consumers leave stores without buying anything if the retailer does not have what they need. With a POS system, you can prevent this from happening by monitoring which items are consistently selling well versus which ones are stagnating in the back room. This will guide you on what your customers are keen on buying from you, and therefore should never be out of stock. It can also impact your marketing and pricing strategies, as you may consider running promos or discounts to get slow-moving products off the shelves.
Other benefits of POS systems for small businesses include increased speed and reduced human error. Most POS systems use barcode scanners, so you don’t need to input anything by hand. This helps the line move faster with minimal chances of the incorrect price or product inputting, which, ultimately, leads to happier customers. This is crucial for small businesses, as you’ll want to make a good first impression so that they are more inclined to return.
2. Diverse Payment Options
Cash is no longer king. While card and contactless payment methods have long been available, the pandemic expedited their widespread usage due to social distancing and reduced physical contact. According to a survey by Visa, almost 50% of consumers feel that contactless payment is one of the most crucial safety measures that retailers can offer. Another 47% stated that they will not shop at an establishment that does not accommodate a contactless payment method.
In terms of cash vs card payments, 80% of consumers prefer to spend via card. Of the 80%, 54% prefer using debit cards, while 26% prefer credit cards. However, a significant number of consumers (88%) still use cash occasionally. This indicates that consumers typically subscribe to a mix of payment methods.
The best point of sale systems accept various payment methods in anticipation of consumers’ diverse preferences. This is advantageous for small businesses as it will show your customers that you understand their needs and purchasing behaviors and can grow with the changing times. Aside from cash, cards, and mobile payments, consider getting a POS system that can accommodate checks and gift cards as well.
3. Accommodates Loyalty or Rewards Program
Research has proven, time and again, that fostering customer relationships and running a loyalty program are worthwhile investments. Repeat customers help rake in more revenue for businesses as they are 60% to 70% more likely to make a purchase, can help increase company profits by up to 95%, and spend up to 300x more.
Loyalty programs are effective in incentivizing consumers to spend more money and purchase more frequently. They help to increase sales, reduce the need to compete based on price, and encourage loyal customers to engage in word-of-mouth advertising.
Small businesses may focus more on attracting new customers, which is important for launching and stabilizing companies. But once you have a somewhat stable consumer base, make sure to continue marketing and building relationships with your previous customers.
A loyalty program is a tried-and-tested method of rewarding them for their continued support. You can also use it to obtain personal information and track purchase trends, which you can leverage to optimize your marketing and operations.
4. Employee Shift Tracking
Accurate and efficient tracking of staff hours can help increase your profitability, boost operational productivity, and encourage a culture of transparency. Through detailed employee time management, business owners can see where and how staff members spend their work hours, so tasks can be re-prioritized or optimized.
It can also provide insight on recurring challenges that employees encounter and need to be addressed. For example, in the case of a convenience store or retail store, you may want to roster more staff during peak hours and less during quiet hours to appropriately manage the influx of customers. This means you get more value out of your team, instead of over- or under-staffing. The increased productivity can ultimately lead to higher profitability and efficiency for the business.
Point of sale systems typically come with a time-tracking function wherein employees can clock in and out during their shift, so that employers can issue accurate and fair pay. They can also help business owners identify high-performing staff members based on various metrics like transactions managed per time slot.
5. Security and Accessibility
POS systems for small businesses track and store so much critical and confidential information – operational data, inventory levels, sales costs, and for those running loyalty programs, customers’ personal data. Hence, it’s important to choose one that offers top-notch security.
For small businesses, it’s also ideal to choose a cloud-based POS system. This lets you access your data and monitor progress in real-time, from anywhere and with any device, so you can keep an eye on your business without being there physically.
6. Feature Flexibility
Every business has a unique set of needs, so you’ll require a unique business solution that’s tailored to your goals and objectives. The best POS systems can be customized with the features your business requires at the point in time. They are also designed with the flexibility to adapt and scale alongside your business.
For example, a small business may only require basic backroom reporting functions. But as the business grows, you may need something more granular to ensure your books are in order. The best point of sale systems have in-built dashboards but can also be integrated with third-party tracking functions so that you can consolidate your reporting in one hub.
For all your point of sale system needs, True POS is the one-stop hub for customizable POS systems and other business solutions. Contact us for a free quote today!