If your store isn’t enjoying the ongoing benefits of a point of sale (POS) system, there must be a pretty hefty reason. Maybe you can’t afford to purchase and maintain a point of sale. Maybe it’s too difficult to install and operate, or you haven’t considered the value and convenience a POS system can deliver on a daily basis.

Whatever holds you back, these frequently asked questions present a better understanding of POS systems and will help decide on an effective solution to manage your inventory.

Whichever system you choose, be sure it fits your store!

1. What is a point of sale system?

A point of sale system allows you track purchases, analyze inventory levels for each item, monitor customer purchases, and calculate when you need to order stock. POS software tracks each sale when it happens and keeps inventory records up-to-date in real time. Since the system provides more information than can be recorded manually, it allows you to run detailed reports which aid with better ordering decisions.

2. What are the benefits of owning a point of sale system?

The more you utilize a POS system, the more valuable it becomes. Here are a few things it can do for your business:

  • Organization – A point of sale system can save countless hours by delivering quick access to all of your customer and item information without having to look through stacks of papers or an old codex system.
  • Automation – A point of sale allows you to turn lengthy manual tasks into short ones. For example, you can analyze sales data, monitor how well all the items on your shelves are moving, edit product information, and adjust purchasing levels immediately with a point of sale. You can also maintain a sales history to make the best stocking decisions.
  • Accuracy – You can improve pricing accuracy by integrating barcode scanners and credit card readers with the point of sale system.
  • Report generation – A point of sale system lets you instantly sort vast amounts of data and history. Track trends and quickly generate data on inventory, customers, transactions, finances, and more.
  • Customer satisfaction – Most customers have experienced POS systems in other stores and appreciate the added speed and convenience of being able to check out faster.

3. Can I afford a point of sale system?

The easy answer to that question would be:  It depends on how much you’re paying for it, and when looking at various systems, there’s quite a range of costs. But the right answer starts with considering what it costs you to work without a POS system.

The data entry that a point of sale system can do automatically would take a trained employee 40 hours a week (or more) to accomplish. When you consider that employee would cost you at the very least $400/week, or about $1,600/month, a POS system would save you a truckload of money every year and perform many other important functions (pricing, tracking, security, taxes, etc.) as well. So the real question is, can you afford not to have a POS system?

4. Is it better to buy or lease a point of sale system?

This question is more complex than you might think. The common perception is that when you have many stores and terminals, but not a lot of cash on hand, leasing is the way to go. Why? Because you can get started right away with a low level of commitment.

On the other hand, another perception is if you only have one or two terminals and plenty of funds, you’ll save the most by purchasing. But that’s a big IF. Both of these perceptions need to be examined.

Imagine purchasing a point of sale system. Suppose you’re not happy with the system a few months down the road. Maybe it’s too complex to learn, or you’re not getting the support you need. With a lease, you won’t be out tons of money. Just send it back and get something you like. It’s a much safer, lower-risk option. It’s a different story if you’ve signed up for a contract.

Your financial decisions really depend on the features you’re looking for in a point of sale system. Always choose the system that best fits your store!

5. What features should I look for in a point of sale system?

A POS system is not one-size-fits-all solution by any means; some systems offer industry-specific software. I suggest examining a variety of point of sale packages to see which comes closest to meeting your needs.

There are five basic functions to a point of sale system: Organization, automation, accuracy, report generation, and customer satisfaction.

Beyond these, the features to look for will largely depend on how you operate your company. Here are a few suggestions for your wish list:

  • A point of sale company with a solid history and reputation.
  • An easy-to-learn (and understand!) user interface.
  • Integration with other programs you are using to manage your store.
  • A robust history of items, sales and customers.
  • Ability to email invoices/statements.
  • Electronic ordering and suspension of sales.
  • Exceptional customer service, preferably with 24-hour emergency support.

6. What are the challenges I’ll face when transitioning to a point of sale system?

The biggest challenge you’ll encounter with a new POS system will be transferring your old information and customer history. Once it’s done, you’ll never have to worry about doing it again.

Another challenge many face is the time it takes to learn how to operate it. That, of course, depends entirely which system you choose.

Some point of sale systems are simple to learn, and easy to get started with. Research is your friend! Be sure to look at multiple options before making a decision.

7. What if I need technical support?

A reputable company should be happy to offer friendly, helpful support around the clock (including weekends). Look for a company that returns your calls promptly. Some point of sale companies will even set up your POS system and train you in person.

8. Do I have to budget for upgrades?

This depends entirely on which POS system you choose. If you’re purchasing, ask up front what happens when an upgrade becomes available. Many point of sale companies charge for upgrades, and they won’t be cheap. The worst part is if you decide to skip an upgrade or two, and then have trouble getting the company to service your system.

However, with a monthly subscription such as the one you’ll find with Paladin Point of Sale, every upgrade is guaranteed 100% free – that is, it’s included in your monthly subscription to Paladin.

If they build it, you get it, which means every store is running the same version of Paladin Point of Sale. In Paladin’s case, there is no need to budget for hidden fees. Have questions? Feel free to call Paladin and see if we’re a good fit for your store. Call 800-725-2346.

Always ask questions when choosing a point of sale system.

These questions are only the beginning. If you have any other questions or concerns about choosing a point of sale system, feel free to leave a comment below.