Choosing the right point of sale software for your retail store can sometimes be difficult. A multitude of POS systems are available on the market, which is why it is important to carry out thorough research. Here are some tips for choosing the right point of sale system for your business.

What are some tips for choosing the right point of sale software? Setting up a point of sale system requires a lot of research, here are six tips to follow to opt for a good choice of point of sale:

  1. Be Sure to Choose a POS in Your Industry
  2. Define Your Specific Business Needs
  3. Look for Transparent Pricing Plans
  4. Find an Onboarding Process Adapted to Your Needs
  5. Define Essential Integrations
  6. Learn About Customer Support and Ongoing Development

To learn more, follow the tips listed above, and find out which point of sale is right for you, read on!

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Retailers are moving away from traditional cash registers for their sales and payment processing. Now, businesses are seeking the help of point-of-sale systems to calculate the total amount of purchases, present invoices, and allow customers to choose a payment method. Most current point-of-sale solutions are also cloud-based, meaning your financial and transactional information is safe from unauthorized access. 

Because of these benefits, a report by Mordor Intelligence indicates that by 2025, the market value of point-of-sale systems may reach $29.09 billion (source). But with hundreds of programs available on the market, choosing the right software may seem difficult. In this article, you will learn how to choose a POS system that suits your business needs.

1. Be Sure to Choose a POS in Your Industry

Above all, be sure to choose a POS that is made for your industry-specific needs. There are a few industries that may need a point-of-sale system to manage their business operations, and this includes hotels, services, retail, grocery stores, restaurants and bars. As you can imagine, each of these industries have very different needs. A retail store will need strong inventory management, whereas a restaurant will need to manage tables, and hotels would need to manage reservations. It is hard to be the best at everything, that’s why choosing a POS that is adapted to your industry is important. 

Retail is primarily defined by stores that sell in-store or online products or services. A variety of retail industries exist such as pet stores, bicycle shops, electronics stores, and more here. However, retail businesses do not need software that offers alcohol management features like a restaurant or bar. The same goes for a hotel, the retail business does not need to know their customer’s arrival and departure time. 

It is therefore crucial for a business to choose the right point-of-sale software for its specific industry, otherwise, its needs are unlikely to be met properly. In this article, we discuss retail business, so it is advisable to ascertain your business nature now so that the rest of our recommendations are relevant to your situation. 

2. Define Your Specific Business Needs 

Before reviewing the options available for point-of-sale systems, you should define the features, functions, and services that you need to manage your retail store.

First, you should define the status of your business. Various situations are possible for example are you starting from scratch for a new venture, upgrading an old cash register, or are you switching to a different POS system completely?

Then, classify your most significant pain points, such as long queues caused by slow transaction processing, difficulty managing inventory, or inaccurate reporting. From there, you can conclude what tasks a POS system can simplify with the features you need.

If you own a network, or numerous stores and warehouses, a system that offers multi-store POS solutions will be advantageous for your business model. On the other hand, if you only have one store, it may be best to use a single store point of sale platform. Multiple stores such as franchises, buying groups, or corporate chains will, for example, require on-point inventory management, efficient promotion management, standardized pricing, or even centralized network management. While one-stop shops may be looking for more data mobility and centralization or even cross-selling features to drive sales.

Fortunately, there are POS systems that offer these features for different types of stores and Alice POS is one of them.  

3. Look for Transparent Pricing Plans

It is also advisable to carry out thorough market research because there are many point of sale companies available on the market. So you need to make sure you select the pricing that works best for you. But it is also important to find a point-of-sale system that openly demonstrates the costs associated with its implementation within your store.

On the market, some point-of-sale systems will require purchasing a software license,  local installation (sometimes heavy on hardware), paying an annual service fee, and signing a multiyear contract. Also, for some, upgrading to the newest version or receiving ongoing customer support comes with a fee. When selecting a POS system, you have to be aware of these extra costs. 

In contrast, most newer cloud-based point-of-sale solutions offer their services for a monthly subscription. Most offer tiered pricing to suit different business sizes: more affordable plans for the basic needs of startups and SMEs, with reasonable costs or custom pricing plans for larger businesses with more complex requirements. Discounted prices may also be available if you opt to pay annually.

Alice POS offers volume discounts for multi-store structures which allow them to have access to more features while remaining as affordable as possible. Also, the company allows its customers two payment options: annual pricing allows customers to save money while those who opt for monthly pricing can enjoy a lower upfront cost and the ability to change POS solutions if ever they find Alice POS not to be suited to their needs. 

Each company has its way of informing its customers of its pricing. Pricing information is often posted online so you can check how much the services cost and which features are included in each tier. But sometimes you have to do further research to get answers. Save time and obtain quick answers by speaking directly with the POS companies you are interested in. Not only will this give you a sense of their company culture, but also help you better understand how they approach their leads. Get in touch with one of our retail experts at Alice POS to learn more about your options with this cloud-based software.

4. Find an Onboarding Process Adapted to Your Needs

Most businesses overlook the onboarding process when asking what to consider when purchasing point-of-sale software. Onboarding correctly is crucial to get off on the right foot. Select point of sale software that offers migration tools and training sessions.

Taking Alice POS as an example, we take careful measures to ensure a safe data migration process. We know that data migration is a big deal for merchants, so we do it for you! Users have a specialized deployment strategy based on a preliminary analysis of their needs to minimize costs and optimize operations.

Users will also receive personalized training to consolidate the system’s implementation into their processes. Managers and employees have access to training ranging from one to two weeks based on the availability and needs of the business. Also, in order to ensure your company’s  onboarding success, point of sale software like Alice POS offers you:

  • Customer support  7 days a week 
  • Continuous development which allows customized updates if there is a need for specific development
  • Continuous autonomous training thanks to our online support center 

These features are available to guide and support you in the growth of your business.

5. Define Essential Integrations

Your POS system helps you run and manage your day-to-day operations, so making sure it has all of the features and integrations necessary for your store to run smoothly is critical.

Not all POS systems are created alike. Some offer the ability to integrate external services (thanks to an open API), and some do not. A POS system can do a lot of things, but it can’t do or be the best at everything. Therefore, the ability to connect to other services is extremely important. Some services you may want to connect your POS system to include eCommerce, marketplaces, accounting, warehouse management, ERP, CRM, marketing, customer relations solutions, and more. 

So, if you know that integrating other software is key for your business to optimize operations, then ensure the POS you are choosing offers integrations or has an open API. For example, Alice POS can integrate eCommerce solutions like Ecwid or Shopify so you can centralize and organize your physical and virtual orders in one place, sync your inventory to Amazon or eBay, integrate accounting solutions (like Quickbooks) to facilitate bookkeeping, and more.

If you are interested in Alice POS integrations, you can learn more in this article or contact one of our retail experts.

6. Learn About Customer Support and Ongoing Development

Although you may take precautions to ensure your new software training and integration are done as carefully as possible, it is possible like in any software to face any questions or problems later on down the road.

This is why you should look for a POS solution that offers ongoing customer support that you can rely on if a problem occurs. Ideally, your supplier should have a support center from which you can ask questions over the phone, through a ticket system, or by email. Some systems will also have an online customer support center allowing you to carry out independent training. 

Ongoing point-of-sale software development is necessary in order to always be up to date in terms of security and speed. Make sure to check with your supplier if the updates will be automatic, regular, and provided by your point of sale. Up-to-date software is crucial to provide better defense against external threats.

Also make sure you are dealing with software that uses a secure site through SSL protection, one of the most popular security protocols that creates a secure channel, usually when a browser has to connect to a Web server. This protection is used in an internal network or when two machines communicate with each other on the Internet (source). This can help promote data protection for customer information and online transactions.

Finally, it is wise to install an antivirus on your equipment This can provide additional security on your in-store hardware. Read our article on a secure point of sale implementation to learn more about POS  security.

Choosing the Right Point of Sale System

In sum, POS solutions provide great advantages in modernizing retail businesses, and using these six tips you should be able to determine which software is best for your situation. It is therefore advisable to choose a POS that is adapted to your industry, fully understand the nature of your business needs in terms of features, to determine the best pricing for your individual store or network, chose a solution with simple and secure data migration processes, determine the essential integrations for your business, and finally evaluate the ongoing support offered by the different systems you have at hand.

To learn more about Alice POS and what it can offer your business, contact one of our retail experts.

Related Questions

Why does my business need an industry-specific POS system?

It is advisable to have an industry-specific point of sale system to manage your sales operations efficiently. For example, a restaurant needs different features than a video game store, so it is essential to have a suitable system. A point of sale platform tailored to your business’ unique needs eliminates unnecessary features to streamline your workflow.

Do I need to purchase POS software and hardware from the same vendor?

It is not necessary to purchase the software and hardware from the same vendor. For example, Alice POS works with IT resellers to sell you highly-personalized point-of-sale system hardware as needed. In some cases, you don’t need to change your in-store hardware and can keep your current cash register system.

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