While it's easy to become discouraged, retailer owners around the world are already busily setting their sights on the post-COVID19 era and making sure that their bricks and mortar establishments are equipped with the very best Point of Sale (POS) technology to capitalize on the swarm of shoppers that can be expected when government restrictions are finally lifted.
If you want to gain a competitive advantage in this early set-up process then the time to start taking action and evaluating solutions is now. Of course, it’s also important to choose wisely.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the best POS system to get your business ready for action as soon as high streets are teeming with shoppers once again.
Why Does Choosing The Best POS Software Matter?
Despite the urgency of getting ready, you might be wondering why investing in a top POS system matters. Isn’t it all just about logging cash in the till? Not all POS software is created equal and having a so-so tool won’t be enough to maximize your gains when the coronavirus ends or is contained.
Here are the features that can help set your store apart when the hordes of shoppers return to the high streets:
ERP Integration or Inventory Management
ERP systems are used by businesses to electronically manage all key aspects of their day-to-day business operations, including keeping track of inventory and stock levels. Good POS systems either integrate with ERP systems so that these systems can keep their stock levels continuously updated. Alternatively, they have their own built-in functionalities for keeping tabs on order levels.
In order to leverage this, you’ll need to assign Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) to your inventory and implement some other inventory management best practices. But it’s a good idea to have the technology for this in place before you need it.
Cloud Functionality is Vital
Coronavirus has shown us all just how easy it is for teams to work remotely. These days, most POS systems are either entirely cloud-based or contain hardware that sync transaction information up to the cloud.
Cloud-hosted data means that users can collaborate with off-site resources such as accounting staff working from home who gain real-time insights into sales volumes and generate reports.
Cloud-native POS systems store all their data in the cloud and bypass local or on-premises storage altogether.
Automation is much more than a buzzword — and the benefits that automation can bring have spilled into the POS space as well.
How exactly does POS automation work? Cloud-native POS systems can easily integrate with other key business services such as bookkeeping and accounting platforms and CRMs. During purchasing processes whereby customers’ identities are authenticated, such as when shopping online, entries can be created in CRMs automatically. Integrating the POS with other business systems helps all teams within the business to have a 360 degree view of the customer record.
What Else Do You Need To Do?
In order to prepare for the future now, users should bear two things in mind now.
- Roll out more than one POS: The current global crisis has shone a stark light on the importance of business continuity. Leading businesses are known to have backup systems for mission-critical business tools such as POS tools. Therefore, it makes sense to consider rolling out two or more POS systems within your business. One can be the system that your business uses for day-to-day operations and another can be a fallback. Use the time to handpick two tools and ensure their functionality while doors are closed.
- Deploy and QA during downtime: A successful software deployment involves a quality assurance (QA) and testing phase. The current period of downtime, during which bricks and mortar outlets are closed to the public, represents a great opportunity for retailers to properly deploy and test POS systems, including hardware aspects, while doors are closed to the public.
- An investment in the future: Ensuring that your business selects the best POS system for its needs is an investment in the future of the business. Although the selection and deployment processes might seem time-consuming, the time invested now can yield substantial benefits in terms of improved operating efficiency shortly down the line.
3 Top POS Tools To Consider
As we mentioned, this is the time to begin a thoughtful evaluation of the various POS solutions on the market.
Although the choices are wide, our experts have identified three excellent solutions which we can strongly recommend.
Unlike most POS systems, Toast runs on the Android operating system. What this means for a business owner is that the hardware is significantly cheaper to purchase and more versatile in terms of integration. Toast Go, the mobile hardware option, allows wait staff to manage their tables, orders, payments, and tabs tableside for faster and more efficient ordering. In general, Toast is a sleeker, smoother, easier POS system to use than most.
- Neat Go hardware for tableside management
- Top-of-the-line customer support
- Have to pay more to get the cool features
Another standout POS tool for those that like to live on their iPads is TouchBistro, which is a POS system specifically designed for the needs of restaurateurs.
It can integrate with restaurants’ menus so can be used as a tableside ordering system. It also has a built-in CRM software so that owners can keep track of recurring customers and offer them incentives. And there’s also a table management tool. This tool offers most of the functionality of POS tools that require much more extensive custom hardware — and all that users have to have on hand is an iPad!
- Works on an iPad
- Custom designed for restaurants
- Not useful for those in other industries
Another restaurant POS tool that we can recommend is UpServe. This tool is built around a sleek looking POS terminal that the company produces itself. It also features a custom hardware device, Upserve Tableside, that is designed to fit comfortably within users’ aprons allowing easy on-the-go access.The POS also has an offline mode to eliminate downtime and the software automatically updates itself so that it is always running the latest version.
- Custom impressive looking hardware
- Slender tableside device
- Requires proprietary hardware
The Time to Get Ready is Now
While this might certainly feel like a frightening time for many retail store operators and restaurateurs, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to begin evaluating POS systems in order to give your business a competitive advantage in the days ahead.
Get a terrific POS system up and running today to capture the revenue when lockdowns end and people begin flooding the high street again.