What to look for in a POS software

Point-of-sale (POS) systems have long ceased to be mere objects of luxury, confined to only the biggest retailers. Today, even start-up firms are realising the critical role that can be played by such a system with a level of functionality going well beyond simple credit card processing.

The right POS system helps your organization become truly 'open for business', even making an active contribution to its growth - but with so many POS systems now available, what elements mark out the best solutions on the market?

1. Ease of Use:

Every aspect of your chosen POS system's user experience should be relatively straightforward, with the setup process taking little time and effort and the interface being as intuitive as possible, so that anyone in your company can quickly process sales.

2. The Right Price:

it's important that you choose a POS that's the right price

Price is important for any business software investment, but it has long been a particular sore point in the POS market, past systems having required initial expenditure running into tens of thousands of dollars. Today's largely software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems are thankfully more affordable, but you will still need to pay close attention to the details of what you are expected to pay.

3. 'Future Proof' Design:

It's inevitable that your chosen POS software won't serve you just as well in five to 10 years' time as it does now - or at least, not without hefty modification. Technology has never evolved at a swifter pace than it is doing now, with mobile payments just one of the trends of the POS system of the future, so you should ensure that your chosen solution is built on a flexible platform that can adapt to change.

Remember that you will also need a system that can scale up or down with your retailer's fortunes and size - you won't want a system that your firm will swiftly outgrow.

4. Data Security:

Any loss of data, particularly as far as customer transactions are concerned, can cause nigh-on irreparable damage to the trust that customers place in your business. Does your chosen POS system run on a robust cloud-based system, in addition to fully encrypting all transactions?

5. Excellent Customer Support:

The most robust POS systems will only run into problems every now and then, but you will want to be sure that expert staff are on hand to swiftly resolve any problems and minimize the potential lost revenue. A good customer support team will also be able to explain the more specialized features of the POS system to you, such as inventory management, Apple Pay support or analytics and reports.

6. Access to Data from (almost) Anywhere:

In the old days, you couldn't access the back-office functionality of your POS system unless you were actually in-store. Now, there's no excuse for your system's data not being accessible via a web browser from anywhere on the planet that has an Internet connection. Opt for a POS solution with its own smartphone app, and you really will be able to instantly tap into real-time sales data 'on the go'.

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