3 Easy Tips to Purchasing Small Business POS Software
- By Jeff Haefner
If you have recently begun the process of purchasing a Small Business POS software program then you know that there are literally thousands of products to choose from. Narrowing the choices down can be a harrowing task. Fortunately, there are three relatively easy ways to narrow your selection.
Your first decision when you're considering a POS software system for your small business or store is to determine what category or 'tier' you fall into. Retailers are categorized into tiers according to the number of employees they have and their annual sales. By first determining your tier, you can then eliminate all POS systems that do not cater specifically to your tier. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that 80% of the software product's customers are in the same tier that you are. You can find this out by simply asking your sales representative.
Tier 5 - The Shrink Wrap Market
Retailers in this category usually range in size of 1 to 20 employees and have annual revenue of up to three million dollars. POS software packages in this tier will probably cost around $200 to $1,500 and are appropriate for approximately 1 to 5 computer users.
The training and implementation of the software is usually done in-house, which helps to keep your costs down. You can often find these small store POS software systems bundled with hardware and sold on the internet.
Tier 4 - Lower Market
Retailers in this category usually range in size of 1 to 100 employees and have annual revenue of half a million to fifty million dollars. These are generally smaller companies that have outgrown the Tier 5 solution. POS software packages will cost around $1,500 to $75,000 and will accommodate approximately 1 to 40 computer users. The implementation costs are usually .5 to 2 times the cost of the software itself.
Tier 3 - Mid Market
Retailers in this category usually range in size of 50 to 1000 employees with annual revenue of twenty five million to two hundred and fifty million dollars. POS software packages will cost around $25,000 to $250,000 for 5 to 200 computer users. The implementation costs are usually .75 to 5 times the cost of the software itself.
Tier 2 - Upper Market
Retailers that choose software in this category usually range in size of 1000+ employees with annual revenue of $100 million to $500 million.
Tier 1 - Enterprise
Retailers that choose software in this category usually range in size of 2000+ employees with annual revenue of over $250 million.
It is likely that anyone researching small business POS software will fall into the 3rd, 4th, or 5th tiers. Note that the tiers overlap in their annual sales and total employees and it is important, when you are determining your tier level, to factor future potential growth into your tier decision and potential Point of Sale software buying decision.
Another important factor to consider when narrowing down your software options is to look for industry-specific software. A dry cleaner will have very different needs than a gift shop or restaurant, and a liquor store will have different needs than an appliance store.
While any given system may 'work' for your business, you're not getting the specialized time and money saving features that you could benefit from. It's just as easy to spend your money on a generic system as it is on an industry specific one, but you'll most certainly benefit more from a specialized system and you'll potentially save yourself energy and time having to upgrade your system a later date.
The last tip that I'd like to offer is that once you've drawn up a short list of potential software products, take time to evaluate the company. It is extremely important to find a company that has been established for a long time.
Why? Because when you're purchasing POS software you're not just purchasing a product. You're purchasing the commitment from that company to be there when you need them. To provide software updates, tech support, training, solve hardware problems and to consult when the time comes to upgrade systems.
Additionally, you need someone that is available 24/7, or as close to that as possible. Imagine your system going down on a busy Saturday morning and tech support isn't available until Monday morning.
It is vital not only that the company have a long standing history but also a reputation for good customer service.
I'd like to offer one last tip in your quest for small store pos software. Take the time to do your research. Don't simply ask a friend what they're using or base your buying decision on a website and a free on-line demo. Take the necessary steps to determine which software products will best fit your needs and budget and then talk to sales representatives at each company. Ask for a personal demonstration of the software, ask for references, and call them.
Finding the right software to optimize your business and save you time and money can be an overwhelming and challenging process but it is one that you should take seriously. Take heart! There are reliable sources of unbiased information readily available to you.
For more information on point of sale software and specifically small business pos software including a tier specific searchable index of software options, visit www.possoftwareguide.com
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