Must-Have Features for Retail POS Systems

Omar Visram
Must-Have Features for Retail POS Systems
Table of Contents

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There are many point-of-sale (“POS”) systems available today with varying features for retail businesses.  The decision of which option to take can be daunting.  It is important to do your research up front and to understand which system is best for you.  

There are features of POS systems that are necessary for all merchants; whether you are a pet shop store owner or a clothing merchant, we hope to provide you with a starting point for your search for the right POS system.  

Efficiency & Functionality

Any retail merchant knows that speed is imperative to successful business operations. Your POS system should enhance the checkout experience for both your customers and your employees. Consumers want a faster checkout experience and so do employees.

A few seconds of system inefficiency can have a negative impact on customer experience. Fast software, dependable hardware and an overall intuitive system are essential for any retail merchant.  

It is recommended that you go through a simulated checkout or visit a merchant using a POS system that you are considering to get a feel for the process from the customer’s point of view.  

Inventory Management

For most retail merchants, inventory management is dreaded, and often under-emphasized, topic. Effective inventory management is crucial for merchants who wish to succeed in the competitive retail industry and minimize their inventory holding costs. A successfully implemented POS system can greatly enhance your inventory management.

An effective POS system will meticulously track and control each SKU (stock keeping unit) in your inventory. This will provide visibility on product costs and profit margins. In addition, your POS system should identify when your inventory levels are low and issue a reorder notification along with a recommended order amount based on historical sales. Also, intuitive POS systems can pinpoint your top sellers, inform you what products should be advertised to customers and suggest minimum stock amounts.

The most gruelling inventory management task is inventory reconciliation. When done manually, inventory reconciliation is the process of physically counting inventory and matching it to your inventory records. The right POS system will automate this process, eliminating the need for frequent inventory counts. You can then limit manual counts to spot checks.  

Financial Insight

Retailers, like many small business owners, often suffer from a lack of financial insight into their business. Key performance indicators (KPI’s) such as sales by item, labour costs and customer retention rates, need to be accessible and available to managers and owners so that they can make operational changes to improve efficiency and profitability in the business.

The right POS system will provide these KPI’s to ensure that managers are equipped with the most timely and pertinent intelligence. Actionable information is critical for informed decision-making, and a good POS system will provide such information.

This is where a POS system tailored for your industry can be a great asset. Often, these systems are designed to provide you with KPI data that is most useful for your industry.  

System Support

Insightful support from your POS provider is essential. Retailers know all too well the problems caused by system failures or unintentional errors. No matter how new or expensive your POS is, there will be challenges. That is why it is important to have a POS provider that has technical support (from real people).

Support is also useful during system setup, software upgrades, and training. Many managers tend to overlook technical support as a feature of their POS systems, however, when you need help, nothing beats dependable and timely support from a real person.

Now What?

First and foremost, take some time and consider your needs. Although the process of selecting a POS system may seem like a simple one, there are many considerations to make. What do you expect from your POS system? How big is your organization? How extensive is your inventory? POS systems can require significant capital investment, so make sure you put in the time to pick the right one.

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