If you’re shopping around for a new POS system, you’ll quickly discover that they are not all created equal. Even systems with similar price points may have very different feature offerings. Here a few features you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
A good inventory system can be invaluable to a small business. In restaurants, the ability to track ingredients in real-time and set automatic stock alerts is extremely useful while, for retail establishments, some systems come with the ability to create your own purchase orders and track inventory across multiple locations. Just be aware that some systems charge extra for access to inventory management or advanced inventory management features.
Loyalty can be a great way to increase profits for your business by giving customers a reason to frequent your store again. Depending on the program, customers can store up points or earn rewards based on the amount of money they spend. Many POS systems include their own loyalty program within their software which is a huge plus. Sometimes access to that loyalty program will cost extra or will need to be set up through a third-party integration. Along these lines, some systems have their own gift card creation function, giving you the option to make and distribute either physical or electronic gift cards.
Most good POS systems come with some form of customer management. This gives you the ability to take and store customer information, whether it’s their email address or purchase history, that information can help you build up a database that allows you to set up effective marketing campaigns to your loyal spenders.
Most POS systems will also come with some form of base reporting. If you’re a smaller business or one that doesn’t plan to rely on analytics much, you may be perfectly happy with a system with just a handful of basic reports. But if you’re really wanting to track your efficiency and pinpoint top-selling items or star employees, you’ll want reporting that does a bit more. Some systems come with an extremely generous offering of reports and some offer bulked up reporting as an add-on for an additional fee.
As with reporting and inventory, a quality POS system should at least offer some form of employee management. This can come in the form of a built-in time clock to keep tabs on hours or the ability to assign permissions for employees, giving them access to only certain parts of the POS.
While nearly all POS systems come with at least some integrations, you’ll want to research or ask for a list of all of company’s offerings. Many systems will integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks (read our review) or Xero (read our review), or marketing software like MailChimp (read our review) and some go much deeper, giving you the ability to set up eCommerce for your business or online ordering.