5 Tips for Choosing Right Point of Sale Software
- By Jeff Haefner
Tip #1 - Choose Software First
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a retailer say,
"I just bought new computers and printers and I have everything
ready to go. Now I need to find POS software."
These retailers could have saved a lot of time and money by selecting POS software first!
You can avoid frustration and save money if you choose the
POS software first. Then you can ask the software company
about their recommended hardware and operating systems.
- Your POS software will have hardware and
operating system requirements. For example, most software
will require a certain version of Windows, Unix or Linux.
In addition, each program may only function with certain types
of printers, scanners, cash drawers and card readers.
- If you install your computer system first, you will limit your POS software choices.
The POS system that you choose is very important. It
will have the huge impact on the efficiency of your
business! The perfect fit for
your business might run on UNIX but you already
bought a Windows 2003 Server! You might also find that the
printers and scanners you just bought aren't compatible
Tip #2 - Buy From One Source
If you buy hardware and software from different companies
you could run into some frustrating situations.
For example, when you have a problem and call for support,
the 'blame game' could begin. The software company will
blame the hardware company, the hardware company will blame
the computer company, and the computer company will blame
the software company.
I've seen this happen too many times. It's usually best to
buy your hardware and software from one source. You might
pay a little more overall, but it's worth it if you have a
problem. Plus they can pre-configure the computer system
and save you time!
Tip #3 - Look for Industry Specific Software
If you learn one thing from this article, I hope you learn how important it is to look for software that's tailored for your industry. Why?
Every retailer has different needs. For example...
Another problem is that some POS software companies claim to work for almost any business. They're probably right. The software will work. But you'll probably miss out on a lot of "time saving" and "profit generating" features.
- An apparel store needs a special "matrixing" feature so they can track various colors and sizes. Not all POS systems have this feature and it saves an unbelievable amount of time. This is a MUST have feature for clothing stores.
- A motorcycle parts & service retailer needs in depth work order features, integration to Parts Catalog systems and much more. These industry specific features can literally save 1 to 50 hours a day, depending on the size of business.
- Some retailers have specific eCommerce / website needs. This can be a big time saver.
- A building materials retailer needs to receive inventory by the "board foot". Their POS could not run efficiently with out this.
- And the list goes on and on...
The trick is to find POS systems that are actually designed for your vertical market. You can start by looking at trade shows, trade magazines and the internet. If you'd like to save time, you can use a tool that I created called the POS Quick Search. It includes a list of over 300 top POS systems sorted by industry. You can see how it works here...
POS Quick Search
Tip #4 - Buy Name Brand
Many computers will have a 1 - 3 year warranty and possibly
on-site service. Your POS hardware (receipt printers, cash
drawers, etc) typically have a 1 year warranty.
To avoid issues with your warranty, it's best to buy
everything name brand. If the company you bought from goes
out of business, you still have full support from the
Tip #5 - Don't Forget the Miscellaneous Items
When you're reviewing and comparing price quotes
you need to consider the miscellaneous items. They can
quickly add up! Some POS companies will include everything and
others will leave certain items out of their quote.
Here's a checklist of items that you'll need to consider:
- Training fees
- Support fees
- Software update / maintenance fees
- Data conversion fees
- Receipt printers
- Barcode scanners
- Reports printers
- Cash drawers
- Surge protectors
- Battery backups (UPS)
- Tape backup system
- Cables for printers, computers, and your network
- Network hubs
- Internet access routers for shared internet access
- Paper - Thermal paper, pre-preprinted invoices, plain
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