Should My Small Business Invest in POS?
POS or EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems can benefit small retail establishments just as much as they benefit the larger supermarket chains, and since the equipment required is much simpler, it can be created at a fraction of the cost.
The main benefits of POS systems all relate to the availability and management of information. These Include:
Quicker Service Time
The easier it is for customers to be served, the more likely it is that they will buy. A typical example of this is a customer going to a shop for a non essential item, seeing a queue and leaving. Using an EPOS system, particularly one with a barcode scanner, speeds up the sales process and thereby reduces the likelihood of queues developing.
Better Stock Control
Another reason why customers may leave empty handed is because they can not find the key item(s) they came in to buy. A customer who popped in for bread and milk may pick up a newspaper and a packet of crisps as well, but if the bread and milk are out of stock, they are unlikely to buy the newspaper and crisps. EPOS systems show clearly which items are in stock and can be used to automate the order process if required.
Better Visibility of the Activity in the Shop
As well as keeping track of stock levels, EPOS systems can show what is selling and when, which can generate crucial information for improving the business. There is little point in buying three types of jam if only one of them sells well and the other two sit on the shelves for months on end.
An EPOS system will highlight this and help make sure that the shelves are stocked with the items customers want. It will also show whether or not any promotions are making a difference to sales (including promotions run by large manufacturers).
Reducing Human Error and Fraud
EPOS systems list all items purchased, so both staff and customers can see what items have successfully been put through at what price. Those with barcode scanners eliminate the need for staff to have to remember (or look up) prices, which reduces the likelihood of legitimate error (and fraud).
It also allows owners to compare stock levels with income. This is where label printers are particularly useful as they mean that items which have been reduced for any reason (typically for quick sale or because they are damaged) can be barcoded as such.
Barcodes can also be created to account for goods which cannot be sold for whatever reason (such as bottles which have broken). While a certain amount of stock loss is to be expected, excessive shrinkage needs to be investigated as a priority and EPOS systems support ad hoc cash checking and stocktaking as well as the routine sort, which allows managers to pay unscheduled visits to their stores to check on the activity.
Used intelligently, even a basic EPOS system will pay for itself many times over during the course of its life cycle and can be an excellent tool for regenerating a struggling business or for improving a thriving one.
Which POS System is Best for Small Retail Businesses?
The WILLPOS range by Toshiba is specially designed for retail. Starting from the ST-B10 for grocery stores to the long lasting ST C10 for harsh environments, there is something to suit every firm.
Available features include an intuitive touchscreen display, small foot prints, stable platforms that can operate 24/7 for a number of years, low energy usage, PIN pads, card readers, check readers and wireless handheld devices.
They also offer good value for money with prices starting at a little over $1,200. This makes them a good option for small retail businesses.
As the name suggests, Retail Anywhere specialize in retail POS systems. Their POS systems are used in firms ranging from lumber yards to Hello Kitty stores.
They offer fully featured POS systems which are customer focused and have built in CRM functionality.
Recognizing that each retailer is different, this company's systems also have the flexibility to be configured in a way which really match your businesses needs. They are robust and highly protected and are certified as being ARTS Data Model Compliant.
With no obligation to buy, new customers can see demonstrations of Retail Anywhere's products in action in a personalized one-on-one hour long session. Prices for their systems start at upwards of $1,000.