5 Problems for POS Newbies (and How to Solve Them)

Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and store managers have a common challenge: where best to devote their time and efforts. As time is a limited resource, turning to technology – in this case, a new Point of Sale (POS) system or software to increase efficiency and streamline the sales process – is a wise decision.

Many managers and owners have learned that just purchasing and installing a POS is not enough. There is now additional complexity in the marketplace as owners must make a choice between hardware or software for their POS solution. Business Insider states in a recent article that software and mobile devices are set to disrupt the established hardware as “these devices are cheap and easy to implement, they do not require consumers to adopt new behaviors, and they free up retailer space previously devoted to bulky hardware.”

Beyond the challenge of choosing the right POS system, there are also hurdles with integrating and implementing that system into the sales process.

Here are five problems faced by new POS owners and some suggestions on how best to avoid them:

Defining an Integration Plan
The adage, “garbage in, garbage out” was never more relevant than with a POS system. A smooth sales transaction is as reliant on inventory management, highly trained sales staff and accurate price and product input as it is on technology.

Ignoring Security Risk
POS systems represent an entry into customer data and offer direct access to their credit or debit card methods. Ensuring there are adequate safety measures in place, such as key card access and data masking options, is essential in protecting customer and business data. This cannot be overstated.

Not All POS Systems are the same
Defining Clear Warranty, Support, and Service Agreements up front is essential for success in implementing a new system. Research on the reliability of any hardware is a must, as is obtaining a clearly defined service plan and expected response times for service calls. When a system goes down, sales can grind to a halt. Hardware reliability is yet another reason to consider software as a solution. PC Magazine recently rated the Best Point of Sale (POS) Software of 2016.

Here are the top five in order of rank:
1. Square
2. Aldelo POS Pro
3. PAR Brink POS
4. Posera Maitre’D POS
5. Revention POS

Lack of Training
If employees don’t receive the proper training on POS systems, all the benefits of a streamlined and efficient process go out the window. Mistakes can also represent real dollars lost. Make sure all employees are comfortable with the system and know how to navigate it from beginning to end.

Not Utilizing the Data and Reporting most Systems Offer
Almost all POS systems offer back-end reporting and a ton of data. Not taking full advantage of everything a POS system has to offer is like throwing money away. Sales trends, error tracking, employee statistics, and inventory tracking are all basic components of most POS reporting tools. Managers and owners need to fully integrate the systems to maximize the benefits.

Despite the ease-of-use for a POS, owners and managers need to recognize that it is a component of a much larger, more complex process flow. Additionally, it offers many benefits and opportunities for a streamlined process, provided that the right supplier is chosen, and the proper amount of planning, training, and back-end analysis is set in place. As with many aspects of small businesses, you get out of it what you put into it.

Evan Shaner