How To Choose The Best Retail POS Software For Startups

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The implementation of POS software is critical to help optimize the performance of a retail store. Nowadays, the competition many retailers face is not just those that exist alongside them in the real world but online too. 

With the best retail POS software in place, a startup that is limited in its resources will help contribute to a memorable first experience for customers. An advantageous feature of POS systems is that they capture customer data which is used to personalize a customer’s experience later down the line.

As 79% of shoppers find personalized shopping experiences to be a key consideration when looking for stores, it’s useful to leverage point-of-sale systems.

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With customer acquisition being crucial in those first few months of existence, startups should have a strong focus on customer-centric experiences. A POS software in place helps with that.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about POS systems, why they’re beneficial for investment, and how to choose the best one for your business.

What is POS software

Think of POS software as the command center of your retail ship. It’s the place that customers come to when it’s time to check out all of their picks from the store. This is what’s known as being at the point of sale.

Hence the name POS, the point of sale system is hardware and software that helps the business process those sales. 

However, unlike traditional point-of-sales systems that would ring up the customer and log the sale, it does a lot more than just that. Nowadays, you’ve got POS software that manages inventories, schedules work rotas, and provides real-time data insights.

The benefits of POS software

As a startup, resources are limited – especially when it comes to finances. Being able to streamline business operations will help to save money that’s otherwise spent on fulfilling these processes in the workplace.

There are many benefits to using POS software, including streamlining business ops. Here are just a few of the other great advantages that POS systems leverage for your startup.

  • Streamlines operations like inventory management and rota scheduling

  • Offers a deep dive into customer behavior

  • Saves time and money by increasing efficiency

  • Reduces errors that typically occur in retail

  • Helps make better business decisions through data 

For many retailers, there are five key features that are required in a POS software; connectivity, mobility, accessibility, intuitiveness, and an offline mode. 

With technology evolving, the demands of customers become apparent. That’s why it’s essential to pick out a POS software that’s going to provide all of the above and more.

How to start a vape shop or retail business with POS software

For retail businesses, the type of POS software chosen will often depend on what needs the business has, as well as its size. For example, some businesses have multiple venue sites, which means the POS system has to cater to this scalability.

If you’re looking to start a vape shop or any retail business, here are some of the top tips that will help you find the right retail POS system for your startup.

Identify the needs of the retail business

What needs do the business have for its customers and the general operation of the business? Assessing the scope of what’s required is going to help find the right POS systems that offer the right parameters.

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With these identifications made, it helps search out the relevant POS systems that are going to help a business make the most out of its day-to-day operations. Some software offers a tailored solution whereas others may be fairly limited in what they are able to tweak and change.

How many employees will be using the software? There are various software solutions that cater to different-sized businesses. Once all the above questions have been answered, it’s going to help ensure the right POS software is chosen at the right price.

Understand what types of POS systems exist on the market

With the growth in the POS market, there are now a number of POS solutions available. The different types available are important to research as a business so a better and more informed decision is made.

Traditional POS 

Typically used for retail venues and has a number of features that include inventory management and handling customer data. Installed on a local server and offers a wealth of control and customizable options.

Cloud-based POS 

Hosted on the internet, cloud-based POS systems allow the user to access the system wherever and whenever they need to. There’s no need to install or purchase any hardware for cloud-based POS which makes it more affordable.

Out of the two, it seems as though retailers are heading in the direction of using cloud-based POS systems, with 28% claiming to adopt such a system in the near future.

Consider the budget

With any business expenditures, the ROI needs to justify the amount spent on software like this. POS software typically ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how complex the software is.

The amount of hardware required is also factored into the cost, especially if using it across a number of retail sites.

As a startup, you’ll want to be careful in choosing the right POS system as some may have hidden costs and fees that aren’t made clear initially. Some software providers will charge a one-time fee while others will charge monthly fees, like a subscription. 

Br e sure to understand the pricing structure that the POS software charges so that you’re not blindsided at any point. This will also help to whittle down your choices further.

Check off the desired features

With a technology that’s vast in opportunity, it’s beneficial to find the POS system with all the relevant features desired. Some may have an abundance of features that won’t get used by your business, so it’s useful to find one that is just right.

The number of features will also influence how much the POS system costs, so knowing what features you require for its success to the business, is necessary. Here are a few common features of POS systems:

  • Management of inventory

  • Track customer information and other customer-related data

  • Manage employee profiles and the work rota

  • Data reporting for insight into the business operations

  • Invoicing transactions

  • Integrated supplier purchases

  • Multi-store management

While some of these features might be crucial, others may not be as necessary. However, leveraging data is a great way to help make smarter choices within your retail business. It’s worth weighing up how much benefit would come from investing the money into more complex POS systems.

Assess scalability and ease of use

With any startup, they may have big dreams of achieving success and that may well be a reality. Having a supplier chain that’s scalable helps these startups garner success more easily. 

The same should be considered when purchasing a POS system. Is it scalable? The POS software may be designed for small businesses, but what does that mean for small businesses that become big ones? Do they have the scope and adaptability to scale up or down with their clients?

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This is a valid question to ask when assessing and comparing POS systems. If it’s not immediately apparent, then it’s worth asking the sales representatives themselves.

Another area of consideration is the ease of use. Does the system offer a short learning curve or will many of your employees find it difficult to use? A user-friendly system is going to be welcomed moreso than one which will take days or weeks of onboarding.

Read up on the reviews

What are existing customers saying about the POS software you’re considering? Reading reviews are a truthful and eye-opening insight into what the software is really like to use and utilize within a retail business.

Take look at both the reviews mentioned on the POS software’s own site, as well as reading any on independent, unbiased sites. Reading a range of credible reviews will help to make a more informed decision on whether the software is really worth the investment or not.

Don’t skip the opportunity for free demos or trials

Who doesn’t want a free demo or trial? Don’t sleep on these opportunities because it’s going to give you the most real experience of what the software is like to use.

Many of the POS vendors will offer free demos of their software or trials. This is always a good sign of a business that believes in its software enough to offer limited-time freebies.

Be sure to ask for a free demo or trial as part of your exploration into each and every POS software you want to try.

Choose your POS software wisely 

Choosing the best retail POS software is important for any business but especially in the case of startups. Your startup doesn’t have the same deep pockets that bigger businesses have and so any business purchasing decisions need to be taken with care and consideration.

Be sure to shop around and compare systems before making a final decision on your POS system.

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