Let’s say you’ve been trading successfully as an independent retailer for some time now. When you first opened your shop you began with a simple cash register – a till that was cheap and simple. It did the job. But, as time goes on, and your shop grows, you realise you are in serious need of a better till system to manage all your payment processes. It’s time to upgrade to EPOS.
But with so many choices out there how do you know what till system to go for? What features should you look out for?
Think about your store
It’s very important to tailor any new system to the requirements of your business. What type of hardware do you actually need? If you sell heavy/bulky items you may need a portable or wireless barcode reader, for example. Would you need a receipt printer, a touchscreen system, self-checkout?
Is your store owner-managed? If not, you may need to get a system that has security built in – passwords and locking features are always a desirable addition for stores with several staff members.
If you offer discounts or offers will the system be adjustable for promotions?
Analytics are crucial for marketing. Seeing what product lines are most popular is a must. The ability for your system to feature reporting should be a priority. Analytics that integrate with stock control will help you clearly identify what you need to order in.
If you’re a really busy store you might benefit from the ability to pause a transaction and switch to another customer, for example while the one you were serving grabs something they forgot.
Think about where you want your business to go: where do you see it in the future and how big do you want to grow?
It’s important to see EPOS as an investment in the future of your business. Changing between different technology systems as your shop progresses can be time consuming and costly, so it’s worth getting it right first time and getting the system that truly suits your store. You’ll want something that doesn’t break the bank but also fits in with your future goals and gives you the freedom to get bigger.
Software v Hardware
Once you’ve drawn up the wishlist for your EPOS requirements, you should look for the software that supports all those needs. Then buy the hardware that will fit your software. Many POS suppliers give you the option to try their software, often on a free trial basis for a few days. This is great if you have found the software you want to invest in, but you should be completely sure it will fit in with your store before you opt to make a purchase. By taking advantage of one or more trial periods with different suppliers you can decide which software package is most suitable for your store.
Some quick questions to consider before you upgrade your till
- How much is installation? Is there training/onboarding with installation? Is there an additional cost?
- Are software updates extra?
- What happens to your sales if the power goes out?
- How much is the monthly support/maintenance fee?
- Is support available throughout your business hours?
- How much is the initial hardware purchase?
- How do you access sales data and stock control?
There are many different EPOS options out there and they all have a range of different qualities and features. Many EPOS sites overload you with the ways they can save you money but don’t talk much about the features of the system which can make choosing one a tough task. However, good research on both the software and the needs of your own store, combined with the use of trials, should help you find a decent EPOS brand who offers reliable support – all of which will hopefully get you an EPOS platform that will take your business on to the next level.