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How to Get the Most Out of Your POS System

Author: Jackie Muhlethaler

Updated: 07/25/2019

The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear Point of Sale systems (POS) is payment processing. Of course, that is a very important feature that can’t be overlooked. But what can they do besides just ring up paying customers? The short answer: a whole lot. POS systems go beyond making sure a customer’s card is read. They can completely change the way you run your business and make your life as a merchant faster and headache free. Rather than just leaving it there, let’s expand on how your point of sale system can make you a better (and more successful) business owner.

It’s All About the Industry

When you decide to move to a new or more advanced POS system for your business, one of the first places to start is to look for software that fits the type of business you own and operate. No two businesses are alike, but you can narrow down the choices that are best for you depending on the industry yours is in. If you’re running a restaurant, your needs will be very different than a merchant who owns a retail store or one who has a business that requires mobility. With so many POS systems on the market, it’s best to choose one that can be either customized to fit what your business needs. Make sure the POS system chosen is compatible with the industry that fits your business.

There are many features and options available with POS software tailored to your industry. For example, if you operate a restaurant, a good POS system will have the option to split checks and add tip, support online ordering or delivery services, table layouts, and even have the ability to facilitate communication between the back and front of the house. Retail, service, and other business types won’t need the same functions as a restaurant does, so narrowing down what your industry requires is important when deciding what software to choose. Not only will these customizations make your (and your employees’) life easier on a day to day basis, but it also makes the customers’ experience faster, easier and headache free.  

Reporting Live from Inside Your POS

There may be specific functionalities that each industry should have in a POS system, but what remains the same across the board regardless of your business size or type is the need for data reporting. Reporting is so important for businesses of all sizes and maturity. It’s even truer now since we know how gather data quickly, what to look for when processing that data, and how to apply changes or improvements based on what is seen. The options are nearly endless. Because of this, it can be overwhelming when first using the software. To keep from overloading with all the information, it’s good to focus on some of the key reports available:

-Sales Reports

This one may seem obvious, but there are a number of different kinds of sales reports that can be run by a POS system. Many reports will be extremely useful for business growth. Reports and data on gross profits, the most active days, sales by day, week, month, or even employee, and breakdowns by item are great ways to view your business from another angle. Knowing more than just the gross and net profit can change the way you choose a menu or items to sell, or even the times in which you operate in order to maximize your profit.

-Payment Reports

A different animal than just sales, payment reports from your POS system gives information about how customers are paying and what money is being received. Payment reports are important for determining how much money is flowing in and out. The reports can be used to detect fraud, theft, or errors made in a timely fashion. Some of these reports include refunds, payments by method (e.g. cash, mobile pay app, credit card, etc.), discounts, and even taxes paid.

-Inventory Reports:

What’s a business without inventory to sell? A POS system that provides advanced inventory reporting can help a business in so many ways. By avoiding shortages or double purchasing of supplies, money can be saved and vital ingredients or products are kept in stock. Reports would include live inventory tracking, alerts for low volume products or ingredients, reorder reports and inventory values.

-Employee Reports:

If you have staff, there’s tracking for that too. POS software can enable you to keep up with how your employees are doing from the perspective of numbers. This can be helpful when scheduling shifts or hiring (and firing). Clock in and out times, hours worked, commission and tips, and sales by employee are all employee reports available through POS systems.

The Customer is Always Right

One of the most important aspects of a POS system is customer data. Often referred to as customer relationship management software, or CRM, this data is an advanced way to create a successful, long-lasting business. CRM software may need to be added on to a POS system. Most, however, offer the option to integrate this vital tool. With CRM software, business owners can manage all aspects of customers as related to their business. CRM allows you as a merchant to store vital customer information and data. This includes names, phone numbers, email, notes, interactions and even purchasing preferences. The data can then be used to help with marketing, sending automatic emails and updates, relationship management and customer service, sales information and so much more.

CRM software can really change how you function as a business and give a leg up on the competition. The more you know about who you’re selling your products and services to, the better you will be able to personalize their experience and keep them coming back for more. The level of data analytics available when you integrate CRM software with your POS system will be life-changing. If nothing else, take advantage of this easily accessible tool. It can help grow your business’s reach and foster long-lasting relationships with customers. After all, they are always right.

You Have Some Accounting To Do

Every business, regardless of size, has some form of bookkeeping to do. Whether you’re a small side hustle or an industry giant, your accounting better be in check at all times. With a POS system, business owners can easily integrate their bookkeeping software so that all financial data is automatically linked. Making your POS software can link up with accounting software. Options like QuickBooks makes manual entry a thing of the past. Your books will have the most accurate information possible since it’s syncing in real time, and with access from anywhere you can even check how your day or week is going on your phone or other devices. It makes accounting all the easier and your systems more efficient and less prone to human error.

There’s also a lot of great resources and reporting when your accounting system and POS system combine. Financial data, inventory, taxes, budgeting, credit card processing information, and sales are all vital to your accounting system working well, so the transfer of information between your POS system and accounting software keeps tabs on the vitals of your business.

Caution: Danger Ahead

We already know a good, reputable POS system can give you a lot of important information. It also creates an efficient system for everyone working for you. But one of the most vital features that a great POS system possesses is security for customer and business data. Since it’s impossible to know when a cyber-attack is coming, having a POS system that includes and integrates security measures brings peace of mind to both you and your customers.

It’s extremely important, to be PCI compliant and keep your customers’ data away from prying eyes. A lot of times the POS software already has some of these measures in place. Your credit card processing company will also have security and encryptions, with the best ones (which we’ve ranked here) providing the maximum amount possible.  There are additional add-ons are available to really beef up the protective layers surrounding your data.  Securing data ensures that not only are customers (and your own reputation) protected, but that a business’s sensitive financial information isn’t put into jeopardy. Invest in a POS system that does it all in terms of security. You won’t regret it.

Show Me The Hardware

 The obvious importance of the POS software has already been outline. But the hardware alone should be enough to get you as a business owner on board. The sleek hardware available on the market are aesthetically pleasing, relatively easy to use, and faster than ever before. Scanners, mobile card readers, iPad-integration and touch screens are just some of the options to look for in a POS system.

The hardware is as important as the software it houses. You can’t have a great car engine in a rusty old car, and the same goes for your POS software. Hardware can get really pricey really fast, and it can be tempting to rent it. But investing in one or more setups will really upgrade your business to new level. Make sure you consider how many POS terminals, cash drawers, scanners, and other hardware you will need on a day to day basis to make your business run smoothly.

End on a High Note

POS systems are more than just payment processing systems. They enhance your business from so many angles, and the more you familiarize yourself with your POS software, the easier to use and more efficient it becomes. For a business to succeed, it’s important to invest in the best. Search for a POS system that is easily integrated with the credit card processing company being used. Make sure it’s intuitive and has all the great features one could ever need to make a business stand out to the customers.