To choose the best POS system, first consider whether or not the system offers the tools and features your business needs—now and in the future. Ideally, a POS system should make it easy and affordable to accept payments no matter where you are selling or how customers are paying. Additionally, look at the bigger picture in terms of pricing. Depending on your sales volume, it may or may not be worth opting for a POS system with a higher monthly rate if it comes with the benefit of lower transaction costs.
Here are a few key factors to consider when choosing a POS system:
- Plans and Pricing: There are a few elements to consider in regard to POS pricing. Not only is there generally a monthly fee to use the service, but there are also varying payment processing fees. Oftentimes, the higher the monthly fee, the lower the transaction fees. For this reason, it’s worth considering your sales volume and determining which plan is the most cost-effective. On top of that, there are also fees associated with purchasing hardware to factor in.
- Software and Hardware: In addition to the POS software, it’s worth considering whether or not you will also require POS hardware, such as terminals and card readers. Even if it’s not something you currently need, it’s worth considering if you might need it in the future as your business grows.
- Features: Though POS systems should offer the same features more or less, most also offer unique features. For example, some may offer features designed to meet the needs of certain industries or use cases, such as a POS system with the option to split the bill for restaurant patrons.
- Ease of Use: The best POS systems are easy to set up and intuitive to use.
- Customer Support: One of the other key factors in the decision-making process–and one of the most overlooked, is the inclusion of high-quality support that is not only available 24/7 but available via a variety of channels from live chat to phone support.
POS Software Features
When choosing a POS system, the first step is to consider what features you need. Do you need basic transaction processing or do you need more advanced features such as loyalty, appointment scheduling, inventory management or email marketing?
Here are some common POS software features to look for:
- Credit card processing: All POS systems will process credit and debit cards, but some systems will require you to use a specific payment processor. Others will let you choose your own processor.
- Loyalty: If you want to offer loyalty programs or gift cards, look for a system that offers this feature.
- Appointment scheduling: If you’re in the business of appointments, such as a salon or spa, look for a system that offers online booking and appointment reminders.
- Inventory management: If you need to track inventory levels, look for a POS system that includes this feature. Some systems will even let you automatically reorder when inventory gets low.
- Customer relationship management (CRM): If you want to track customer data, look for a system that includes a CRM feature. This will let you keep track of customer purchase history, contact information and more.
- Reporting: All POS systems will offer some kind of reporting, but some will be more robust than others. If you need detailed reports on your business performance, look for a system that offers this.
- E-commerce: If you want to sell online as well as in store, look for a system that offers an e-commerce solution. This will let you manage inventory and orders from one central platform.
POS Hardware Features
In addition to software, you’ll also need to consider hardware when choosing a POS system. The type of hardware you need will depend on the type of business you have and the features you’re looking for.
Here are some common POS hardware features to look for:
- Touch-screen display: A touch-screen display is a common feature on POS systems. This lets you easily navigate the software and enter information.
- Receipt printer: A receipt printer is a must-have for any POS system. This lets you print receipts for customers.
- Barcode scanner: If you need to scan barcodes, look for a POS system that includes a barcode scanner.
- Cash drawer: A cash drawer is another must-have for any POS system. This lets you store cash and keep it organized.
- Payment terminal: If you want to accept credit and debit cards, you’ll need a payment terminal. Some POS systems come with a built-in terminal, while others require you to use a separate one.
Types of POS Systems
There are many types of POS systems on the market, from simple card readers to all-in-one solutions. The best POS system for your business will depend on your specific needs.
Here’s a rundown of the different types you might encounter.
A restaurant POS system is a specialized type of POS system that’s designed for restaurants. These systems typically include features such as table management, kitchen display systems and online ordering. Most will also have inventory management, so you can auto-reorder ingredients as they get low.
A retail POS system is designed for retail businesses. These systems typically include features such as inventory management, customer loyalty programs and gift cards. Some retail POS systems also offer appointment scheduling and reporting.
An iPad POS system is a type of mobile POS system that uses an iPad as the main point-of-sale terminal. These systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their portability and ease of use. Many iPad POS systems come with built-in features such as credit card processing, scheduling and receipt printing.
A mobile POS system is a type of POS system that can be used on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. People are relying more on these systems because of their portability and easy setup. Many mobile POS systems come with built-in features such as credit card processing, inventory management and receipt printing.
An Android POS system is a type of mobile POS system that uses an Android device as the main point-of-sale terminal. Due to their mobility and simple-to-use interface, these systems are increasing in popularity, too. Most Android POS systems come with features such as credit card processing, barcode scanning and receipt printing.
A cloud POS system is a type of POS system that’s hosted in the cloud. This means that all of your data is stored online, making it easy to access from anywhere. Cloud POS systems are becoming more popular because they’re easier to set up and use than traditional POS systems. They also typically come with features such as inventory management, customer loyalty programs and gift cards.
A POS terminal is a type of POS system that’s designed for businesses that need to process credit and debit cards. These terminals typically come with features such as EMV compliance, PCI compliance and fraud prevention.