8 guidelines for purchasing a POS system

POS ChecklistThe purchase of a POS system is a critical buy for business owners, but unfortunately not an easy one due to the large variety of POS systems available on the market today. The following 8 guidelines will help you determine which POS system is right for your business and how to find a trustworthy provider.

1             Identify the software needs for the POS System

Focus first on the POS software needs for the POS system to help shrink the list of POS systems currently on the market.  Understand what your goals are for each employee using the POS system and make sure the POS software options that make the short list are all able to streamline the steps needed to reach those goals.  Does the POS system need software that integrates with accounting software and/or merchant services?  Does the POS system need software that assists in managing inventory?  Does the POS system need software capable of sending food orders to remote printers? Etc.

2             Identify the  hardware requirements of a POS System for your company  

There are a plethora of POS systems available today and making a priority list of expectations for a business’s POS system will cut down that list once again making it easier to navigate towards the POS system that is right for any particular business.

For example, although they are both part of the food service industry, a fine dining restaurant will need a completely different POS system than is needed by a frozen yogurt shop; a fine dining restaurant might need a POS system that integrates with tablets for high tech tableside service while a frozen yogurt shop probably needs a POS system that integrates with a scale.

3             If possible, always purchase POS software and hardware from the same POS system provider

Now that the priority list is complete and your list of POS system options has narrowed, shrink that list again by determining which providers can actually provide both the POS software and hardware. Buying from a POS system provider who offers POS software and POS hardware has multiple advantages; one company to go to for all technical support needs; working with a company who has a clearer picture of a business’s particulars gives a leg up on how they will be able to assist and advise, guaranteed POS system functionality for this combo of POS software and POS hardware.

4             Look for a POS system, specifically tailored to your industry

Many POS systems are geared toward specific industries.  It is very important that the specific needs of a business’s industry are brought up while shopping for a POS system provider.  Often what “seems like it should work for your business” isn’t the solid response needed; when it comes to POS systems, do not be the guinea pig in figuring out how particular POS software will work in a particular industry.

5             Research the company and choose a brand name POS system

As the POS system is a fundamental component of your business operation, make sure to buy a system that is reputable. In order to eliminate the risk of having purchased a POS system that is not up to par, it is a smart decision to buy a POS system from a company that has a keen interest in customer satisfaction; make sure the company’s POS system support hours work with the needs of the business.

6        Demo the POS system, do not skip this step

No matter what, make sure to demo in some way every POS system being considered; live Webex demos tend to be the most successful because there is someone to respond to questions where as a POS software free trial tends to be blind and limited. This decreases the risk of having you spend a lot of money in the wrong system tremendously.

Moreover it is also very important that you make sure that the system does not only meet your needs in your current situation, but that it is also able to adjust to the changes your company is likely to make within the next years.

7          Read customer reviews of all POS systems you are considering

Before making the final purchase decision, it is important to read customer reviews; aside from visiting current users this is the closest thing to first-hand.  These POS system reviews will give insight into both positive and negative experiences people have had with certain systems; often it is possible to send messages to reviewers and ask questions.  Keep in mind that no POS system is perfect, try to judge on how these companies resolve the issues instead of which ones have the most as they all have issues, they were developed and designed by people.

         Establish a Budget for purchasing a POS system

The first seven steps have now shed light on the cost of POS systems as well so it is important to set a budget, one that includes all aspects of the POS system: cost of POS software, cost of POS hardware, cost of installation, cost of training, cost of ongoing support, cost of personnel and any conversions from other systems that may be required.  The POS system has many parts, one part might be more costly than projected while another is less so set boundaries; this is an investment that should bare a lasting relationship.