Just as your retail enterprise has different capital needs during its lifetime, it also has different point-of-sale needs. Use this guide to choose the POS system that best meets your current and near-future needs.
As a new business, you can start fresh and take advantage of the newest technology to create a POS system that's perfect for you. No need to worry about interoperability between devices and integration with legacy systems. Consider the specific needs of your business and customers, then connect with other owners to get their recommendations for POS solutions and check review sites for further vetting. There are options tailor-made for mobile businesses, e-tailers and other types of retail operations. Mobile options can be lower cost than traditional desktop POS systems, very important for a business in cash conservation mode. A few key considerations:
Established retail businesses
The most important question for established businesses considering a new POS system is whether to upgrade the existing solution or purchase an entirely new one.
If you're planning to grow, your POS solution needs to be able to grow with you. Quantify your growth plans, particularly as they pertain to sales and transaction volume and to physical locations.
Talk to colleagues who run bigger operations about the systems they use, and vet that list against online reviews by knowledgeable experts and seasoned retailers.
Select the right POS system
"It used to be that buying a POS system was reserved for those businesses with the cash flow to handle the investment of $5,000 to $10,000," recalls Joseph Morales, a small business advisor and POS consultant with Palm Beach, FL-based Level Scale Solutions. "But getting a new POS system has gotten easier, even for start-ups. Now every business has the capacity to move away from the notebook and pen and move towards a scenario where they can run sales and inventory forecasts just like the big boys."
Regardless of your stage, meet with your accountant and merchant services provider to establish your current and near-term business needs, evaluate your sales data to understand transactions, and research your options. With so many effective solutions on the market, you can definitely find one that's perfect for your spot in the business life cycle.