The Point of Sale (POS) refers to the area of a store where customers can pay for their purchases. The term is normally used to describe systems that record financial transactions. This could be an electric cash register or an integrated computer system which records the data that comprises a business transaction for the sale of goods or services.
POS system comprises of the hardware and software used to record the financial transactions of a retail store. By this system a shop owner can analyze, manage and assess his business. Though POS system is as simple as a free software which can run on any PC or online, the key to successful running of this system is the data which is generated to run a profitable business.
Key features to look for in a POS system:
1) Sales Data
Your POS system must have a robust reporting on your sales results. It should show you your daily, hourly and real time reporting. An effective POS system should also be able to forecast your sales trends.
2) Inventory Management
In retail, cash is the king. The biggest overheads is your inventory. Hence a properly managed inventory system is the key. A quality POS will calculate your inventory turnover. A POS system should alert in advance if you need to reorder or any stock is dead in your store and not moving. It should also alert you on shrinkages of stock.
3) Customer Relationship and Experience
You should be aware of your customers likes and dislikes to save you from headaches, when you are selecting a POS system. Uptodate customer data and his purchase history helps you to personalize the experience with the customers and also helps in customer retention. This helps in identifying your target audience, when you want to plan your advertising strategy.
Employee Management is the most ignored part, when looking for a POS system.
Do you have the right staffing levels of your sales?
What should the schedule be for next week based on your sales forecast.?
It should track employee hours and sales performance as well.
For sales performance, look at the metrics for sales. Key selling statistics like percentage of sales, number of items sold per person and amount per hour will help you track the productivity of your employees.
4) Loyalty programmes
Customer tends to be going with the retailers who provide incentives to be loyal to the store over other stores who do not have a loyalty programme. Your POS system must be efficient to track this for you., instead of old fashioned punch cards. Research has shown time and again that customers will spend more money with a retailer who has a loyalty programme in place.
5) Gift Cards
Gift cards are the heart of retail business today. Your POS system must be able to manage and track the cards as well. Each year the sale of gift cards continue to rise. Many people prefer gift cards over a present, as they give them the choice to buy anything which they want. Further it is also convenient to the giver as it ensures the receiver gets what he deserves.
The system’s ability to be able to generate custom reports for you is in a category by itself. Every system will have a set of predefined reports you can run, but since your retail store is unique, make sure you select one that has the ability for you to tailor your analysis. Look for a POS that will send you the reports weekly without you having to run them. Alerts are another great feature. Some POS systems will allow you to set alerts when certain things happen in the store—a large sale or large return or you hit the sales goal for the day. It gives you both the chance to celebrate with your employees and hold them accountable at the same time.