In an ever-competitive market, it is no secret that retailers need to run a tight ship to ensure their business stays successful and competitive. This can translate into anything from staff employment to choosing the right retail platform and the systems to manage it. One of the most important investments a retailer will make is their electronic point of sale system (EPOS). Aside from the obvious function of handling payments, modern EPOS systems have become virtual business management tools, able to perform a wide range of tasks, from stock and inventory management to using data to help build customer relationships. With so many options available, it is important for retailers to cut through the noise and know how to tailor their EPOS tech to best suit their business.
Here are my top five tips to look for when choosing your first EPOS system:
A truly powerful EPOS system should be able to provide the data to help you make the right decisions for your business. On one hand, that means stock and inventory monitoring to ensure you invest in the products and quantities that will keep you running as efficiently and as profitably as possible.
On the other hand, you could use the data from your EPOS system to learn more about your customers. This can range from the most general behavioural aspects, right down to the smallest details of customers’ personal shopping preferences. Providing a personalised shopping experience has become an expectation for customers. Using your EPOS data to build relationships with existing and new consumers is a great way to create a stellar shopping experience and brand loyalty.
Implementing an EPOS system is an investment, and you should think about the longevity of it. Opting for the cheapest system available, while tempting initially, may result in higher costs in the long run, as you expand. Your EPOS system needs to be able to scale up as your business grows, whether that means adding extra registers for a new location or pop-up, or integrating more complex reporting features and third-party tech. Having a flexible and scalable EPOS system will save you money and frustration in the future.
Support and ease of use
When choosing your first EPOS system, bear this in mind: complex does not have to mean difficult to use. An EPOS system mediates the relationship between the two most important parties to retailers’ success: their staff and their customers. That means it needs to be intuitive and fast, to ensure a seamless and effective interaction between the two.
Alternatively, for those times when things do not go as smoothly as desired, the right type of support needs to be in place. Your EPOS provider should be present along the journey, from point of purchase onwards. That means initial training should be provided to staff, as well as refresher sessions, webinars and other training materials. Easily-accessible technical support is also crucial and a quick line of contact should always be available.
Despite the migration towards the digital realm, one thing remains certain – people still like to see and touch the things they are considering buying before they do so. This presents the added challenge for retailers to manage a brick and mortar store as well as an online shop in order to meet customer demand. Omnichannel is a great way to integrate your online and offline platforms into one powerful system that keeps track of stock numbers and purchases, whilst maintaining your brand consistency.
Cloud and mobile features
Mobility is vital for retailers and helps them stay nimble and adaptable. Your first EPOS system should be able to keep up. For management, a cloud-based system is ideal, as it ensures access to information and the ability to safely run your business from anywhere and at any time.
For staff, an EPOS system capable of running on mobile devices, such as iPads, is invaluable, as it can help shorten customers’ waiting time and improve employees’ ability to provide an informed and quick service.
If there was one main takeaway for retailers when deciding on their first EPOS system, it should be this: plan for success and choose the EPOS system that works for you now and is able to grow with your business.