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Point of sale (POS) systems are a huge advantage for managing your business over a traditional cash register.

POS systems are used by restaurants, bars, hospitality, and the retail industry for tracking orders, sales, layaways, returns, customer histories, store credits, gift cards, loyalty, as well as tracking inventory.

A complete POS machine contains software and hardware including a receipt printer, cash drawer, an input device (for example, a scanner or keyboard) and a touchscreen monitor.

Each POS system is designed to track all the transactions and generate all detailed reports so that you can retrieve more information for making smart business decisions. With a proper solution, you can save money and also improve your productivity in the long run.

So how do you choose the best point of sale system?  Below are a few guidelines that will help you select the appropriate POS software and hardware solution for your business.

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I Need a New POS System, So Where Do I Start?

Start by Determining Your Business Requirements

First of all, you have to identify every function and feature that you need to get your business running – important things like the customer relationship management, inventory, marketing functions, and a simple checkout process. If you are already using a point of sale terminal that you want to upgrade, then you should try to identify the missing features in your existing system and write down all the problems related to using your current situation. Also, make considerations for any improvements that might make your operations run more smoothly. You can also discuss with your staff to provide any recommendations or changes concerning the upgrade of your ordering system to increase productivity and staff efficiency.

Hardware Requirements

It is essential for you to know the requirements to ensure proper functioning of your POS System. A qualified POS provider or company can help you with this process. While some system would require you to invest in new hardware, there are others that function perfectly well on your current equipment. However, there are also software solutions that will use a laptop, tablet or iPad for a cash register. To find out which of these will be right for your business requirement, you must first itemize all equipment required for your environment. Make sure that you include the total number of terminals or touchscreens needed for each location you need an order station. If you already have an existing equipment and hardware in place, you will have to write down all the models and brands of the items individually for future reference so that you can find out if they are compatible when looking up for the appropriate hardware or software for your business.

Retail Point of Sale System

Budget Matters

POS systems come in various price ranges and can vary based on your restaurant or retail business size (customers, the number of stores, registers, products, etc.) and the required efficiency. Whether you opt for a one-time software licensing and hardware fee or a SaaS (cloud) model based system will depend completely on the finances and nature of your business. While a license fee-based system will give you freedom from recurring payments, it needs a long-term contract which will not be much flexible compared to the subscription-based system.  SaaS solutions are typically scalable which may be an advantage if you need to upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any given time.  SaaS offers an ideal system for growing businesses or a restaurant on a tight budget.

See the POS System in Action

After researching what point of sale brand might work best for your business and before investing in one, it is now time to see how it functions in a real-world environment. The best way to do this is by requesting for local references from all POS vendors you have selected. Find out from each of these business operations how the POS software works for them. If you are unable to do so, you can opt for the DIY route and select free trial instead to test the system yourself. A majority of the POS vendors allow their customers to try the software for free to find out how their systems work when in action. Take note of the functionality, speed as well as user-friendliness of the POS systems. Don’t forget to consider how you are going to transition to a new POS company. Find out how the data transferring process for suppliers, customers, and products, etc. will work.

The Set-Up And Functionality Factors

Once you have chosen a new point of sale provider and have the required equipment and software with you, it’s time that you get the system up and running. Depending on the solution, the set-up process will vary for each business. Follow carefully all the instructions that the vendor provides you on installing and configuring the software and hardware.  If you’re in doubt or don’t understand any of the procedures, talk to the seller right away. Make sure that the supplier sees you through the entire set-up process to ensure proper installation and functioning of the POS.

Once you have the POS hardware and software installed, you should look for ways to use this system for maximum output. Just make sure that your business does not suffer any loss because of your point of sale investment.

Server using a Restaurant POS System

Point of Sale Software and Hardware Options

If you are still not sure as to which brand or product would work best for your business, read on to find out the various types of POS software and hardware equipment available in the market that you can select from:

  • A Complete System – It is a daunting task to find the right software and hardware for creating a POS system. However, individual vendors offer complete POS systems for use in various businesses like restaurants, bars, hair salons, nail salons, spas and other retail software applications. Custom-built solutions are also available on demand according to your business requirement.
  • The Magnetic Card Reader – This is required by most of the touch screen machines on the market and can be connected either to a POS temrminal or integrates with a credit card payment device. The basic functionality of these magnetic card readers includes supporting tracks, offering programming and hardware encryption, all of which ensure that the data remains secure during credit card payment processing.
  • The Barcode Scanner – A barcode scanner is available in a whole range of uses and shapes that meet the requirements of specified applications. They are perfect for scanning thousands of product items in a line, recording the details of the products for future reference.

Conclusion:

The guide mentioned above provides a few things to consider when purchasing new POS software and hardware for your business.  This article will surely guide you to invest in the best POS system for your business purpose, but we highly recommend working with a local POS company if possible.  A solid local provider can fully understand your environment for the best results.  With our free service, we will connect you with a vendor in your area so you can compare systems and prices without any hassle.

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