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How to choose the right POS system for your business

The best POS system not only allows your business to accept payments, but also provides a detailed analysis of sales data. Keep reading to learn more about how these systems work, as well as the features to look for in the best POS system software.

What is a POS system?

A point of sale (POS) system is a term referring to any payment gateway where a customer pays for the goods or services. It consists of a network including a main computer linked with tools like checkout terminals and barcode scanners.

There are two main components of POS systems:

  • POS system hardware – The hardware is the part of the system that enables your business to accept payments. This includes features like cash registers, self-service touch screens, and barcode scanners.

  • POS system software – The POS system software is what allows the hardware to operate. Software stores your inventory records, generates sales reports, includes customer engagement features, and tools to electronically route funds to your bank account.

Benefits of a POS system for small businesses

Do you need a POS system? It depends. There are certainly plenty of benefits associated with a POS system for small business payments:

  1. A retail POS system makes it easier to record and track sales. While standard credit and debit card processors let you take card payments from customers, they don’t offer any additional functionality. A POS system provides multiple layers of data so you can analyse buying habits and make more informed business decisions.

  2. POS system software assists with inventory management by recording the data from each sale. Some programs can even send alerts if you start running low on a particular product, and highlight purchasing patterns to make more accurate orders. You know exactly how many products remain in the warehouse and how many are sold in a given timeframe.

  3. A good POS system ensures you can manage your business paperwork more efficiently. Being able to manage bills, inventory, orders, and sales reports from a central system prevents errors. Barcode scanners ensure nothing goes missing.

  4. In addition to the practicalities of inventory management, POS systems help small businesses gather client details at the time of purchase. This helps you tailor a direct marketing strategy to your clientele with future promotions or personal offers.

What features to look for in a POS system

The best POS system includes an array of modern technological features to streamline transaction processing. Here are a few key features to look for when comparing options:

Sales reporting

The best POS system will generate detailed sales reports. These should break transactions down by net profit, cost of items sold, profit percentage, and gross margins. You should also be able to get a quick overview of your business’s sales performance with visual-rich charts.

Inventory management

This is really one of the most important aspects of a POS system, which should easily be able to track your products. Look for features like digital scanning, stock management by variation, unique serial number identification, and the ability to track transactions across multiple store locations.

Customer management

Learn more about what your customers want in order to build stronger relationships. A good retail POS system will include customer relationship management (CRM) features built in. These include records of customer purchases and demographic information, as well as built-in loyalty and rewards programs.

PCI compliance

Does the software comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)? This is a set of requirements that states all businesses must maintain a secure environment when processing, storing, and transmitting payment card information.

Payment types

The best POS system will be able to accept debit and credit cards, as well as newer forms of payments like digital wallets and contactless cards. Customers today want a seamless, easy transaction.

  • Additional factors to consider include:

  • Payment processing costs

  • Setup costs and monthly processing fees

  • Employee scheduling capabilities

  • Employee performance tracking and analysis

  • POS system software fees

By comparing these features carefully, you can find the perfect POS system to streamline your payment processing capabilities.

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

GoCardless is used by over 60,000 businesses around the world. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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