Things to consider choosing a POS system

So if you have read my last two articles, you are now ready to start shopping for a new system.  Use the following list of questions to help direct your thoughts and questions for the vendors.  As we stated in the first article, choosing a POS system based on a recommendation from someone else is not always the best approach.  Their business may be a better fit overall for the software that they are recommend.  As for buying from a sale presentation, those are always designed to highlight the strength of the product.  In our practice, we try not to recommend a solution that might be ideal, but all off the shelf software is a compromise with cost generally being a big factor in the equation.  Remember when considering costs, there are hard costs, (the software, the hardware, etc), but there is also a cost of not having the best software for the job.  Sure, a software like Square is easy to implement and inexpensive, but if it doesn’t meet your business needs, then all you have done is replace your old cash register with a newer fancier cash register. So with that in mind, here is a list of items to consider when evaluating Point of Sale Systems.

Inventory Management

  • What type of inventory do you have? Is it serialized, what about matrix inventory (inventory that has the same item that varies by size and/or color) What does your matrix look like?  Is it one dimension, two or three.  At example of a three dimension matrix would be something like shoes.  Think size, color and width.
  • What is your purchasing workflow, do you use reorder points, what about min-max. Does the software you are looking make suggestions on what to order based on sales?
  • How about the receiving workflow? One of the biggest issues I see with a number of tablet based software is they don’t have a way to receive which means that they are really not tracking inventory.

Sales Management

  • How fast can you to make a sale? Does the system support bar codes and bar code printing? Bar codes is the fastest and most accurate way of ringing a sale. What about Multiple tenders. Can I split the ticket payment? Can I easily email a receipt?
  • What about special orders. How do you handle payment for special orders?  Does the system generate a purchase order automatically for special orders

End of day and Reporting

  • What sort of reports can you get from the system? I have seen a number of system that can’t product a Z-out report, a standard report for even the lowly cash register. What about till management.  Keeping track of cash is critical to a retailer. What about best sellers or inventory aging reports? In future columns, we will talk about slow moving items and how to handle those dogs.
  • How does the system connect to your accounting software? Nothing worst that having to hand key information into your accounting system because the two system don’t “talk”. Most systems will say they connect to QuickBooks (the country’s most popular accounting software), but there is connecting and there is connecting. Find out how tight is the integration and understand what program does what.  Which versions of QuickBooks financial does the software connect with?

Hopefully these last three weeks have given you a basis to select a Point of Sale System that supports your business needs.

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