Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
A POS (point-of-sale) system is only as good as the features they offer.
Today, POS systems allow for optimal collaboration because they can be seamlessly integrated with other back-end applications, like inventory management and credit card payment processing. These highly sophisticated systems now allow even small merchants to gain access without having to foot the bill for a back-end server wherever they do business.
What to Look for in a POS
To appeal to all type of customers, merchants should use POS systems that allow many different payment options, including cash, debit and credit cards, and contactless payments, like Apple Pay.
A POS also should offer back-office functionality. For instance, a system that allows merchants to track employees, customers, and inventory can be very useful. As sales are made, a system should have the functionality to track what’s been sold, how many of the items are left and offer a notification as to when a product should be reordered.
Analytics is another important feature. This feature can tell businesses who are buying, what they are buying, and when they are buying. Knowing this information can help merchants make smarter purchases. For example, analytics can tell a store owner when it makes the most sales of specific items. This feature also can predict when a store may need more employee support.
When a POS collects customer information, businesses can use it to target markets, promote specific products, and create loyalty programs.
Having the ability to operate offline also is essential for any POS system. Networks can drop at any time, and it can be especially troubling if it occurs at a vendor event. POS systems that operate offline allow a business to continue to make sales, though other features may not be available when a network is down.
What’s Needed for Processing Credit and Debit Card Payments
Businesses that plan to accept debit and credit card payments need a provider to process those payments. Some POS systems, like Square, offer this at no charge. Others, like Shopify, charges a monthly subscription rate for the use of the software, as well another fee for processing payments. Others rely on third parties to handle the processing.
Before choosing a POS system, a business needs to make a decision about processing. Merchants that are already working with a payment processor want to make sure that the system they choose integrates with it. However, a merchant that is new to accepting debit and credit cards and need a quality payment processor should move ahead with a POS system that offers an all-in-one service. This can be the most convenient option.
What to Do When a Problem Arises
It’s not “if” something goes wrong, it’s “when” something goes wrong, who does the merchant call for help? Though most POS systems are user-friendly to operate, things do go wrong, especially when a problem arises with a feature, like employee management.
POS systems that offer 24/7 support is always a plus and vitally important to any business that operates after-hours or on weekends. The last thing any business wants is to turn away sales because the system stopped working, and the provider offers no support on the weekends.
Additionally, quality POS providers also offer good resources, like troubleshooting videos, FAQs, and customer forums, where businesses can get the assistance they need. Many of the vendors also offer set-up help with their packages or for small fees.
A Look at POS Systems in the UK
When it comes to POS systems, there are more than a few options that are great for merchants of all sizes in the UK. Some of the top choices can be found here:
Bindo is an easy-to-use POS with a simple user interface. It offers simple pricing plans, and from the register interface, back-office features can be accessed directly. However, Bindo offers no 24/7 phone support, and it charges an activation fee. This is not a POS for larger businesses. Activation fees start at $150 per month, depending on which one of its four plans are purchased.
Erply is low-cost, highly-customizable POS provider that offers several features, including customer relationship management functionality. However, its user interface is poorly constructed and is likely to confuse users, and there is no 24/7 customer support. Midsize and growing businesses will appreciate the flexibility and access to its extensive set of features, but it may overwhelm small companies. Its pricing starts at $99 per month, and it is charged annually.
Users pay just a one-time fee of $800 to gain access to Intuit QuickBooks. It does offer a 30-day free trial and smooth transition into the QuickBooks landscape. However, this POS system does not allow businesses to create email campaigns, and it does not provide mobile solutions. The lack of mobile solutions likely will be a real issue for almost any size business.
Though NCR Silver offers a wide range of products and features, each app costs at its own cost. The costs can add up quickly here. Nevertheless, in addition to being a cutting-edge desktop solution, it can be used on mobile tablets and offers quality support services. Additionally, it doesn’t offer a payment processing solution. Pricing starts at $79 per month.
Square is a free merchant services platform that offers flat, expected pricing, and affordable, top-notch hardware. In addition to offering a number of customer support channels, it operates offline, and it supports Android and iOS. However, it is important to remember that larger companies may pay significantly higher fees, and it fails to offer features, like reporting.
As a cloud-based mobile POS system, Vend runs on all operating systems. Both a free option and a 30-day trial plus are available. However, most businesses can expect to pay more for phone support. Also, Vend only uses third-party processors. It costs £49 plus per month.
Shopify POS is an extension of its popular e-commerce platform. Businesses that want to establish a brick-and-mortar presence to supplement their online shops will appreciate its good customer support and its 14-day free trial. Unfortunately, any more sophisticated features are only available on more expensive plans. Also, it fails to provide advanced analytics. Prices start at £7. The Advanced plan, which is the most expensive, costs £235 per month.
ShopKeep offers POS system features that many smaller businesses will appreciate without feeling stressed. It offers apps for iOS and Android smartphones that offer real-time, back-end information. Its 24/7 support and easy-to-use interface will appeal to users. Unfortunately, any add-ons can drive up the price quickly.
Lightspeed POS has a confusing interface, but it is web-based and can be used on any platform. It’s a solid POS for any business just starting out. It costs £69 plus per month.
Revel Systems POS offers a simple user interface and a number of beneficial features, including back-office tools. However, it is a rather expensive option, especially for smaller businesses. Also, Revel offers 24/7 customer support. The starting price is $119 per month for one register.
iZettle offers a capable yet basic mobile app and top-notch service. However, it does not allow for offline processing or gratuities. It has free options and others that start at £39 per month.
The right POS system enables a business to make and track sales and enhances its ability to attract and retain customers. The POS a business selects should offer all important features and meet its needs now, and in the future, at prices, it can afford.