There are dozens upon dozens of ePOS systems on the market today. While it’s nice to have options, having too many to pick from can make the selection process a lot harder. This is especially true if you’ve never purchased an ePOS system before.
Thankfully there are some dos and don’ts that you can follow to ensure that you’re buying a system that fits all of your business’ needs. By taking the right factors into consideration, you can have peace of mind that your business dollars are well spent.
Here’s the ePOS system buyer’s handbook that will guide you in choosing an ePOS system to streamline, automate, and improve your business operations.
Consider the Cost
Before you start looking at the many ePOS systems that are available, it’s best to first take a look at your budget. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford without putting too much stress on your business funds. When investing in an ePOS system, you not only have to consider the upfront cost, there are also maintenance fees to factor.
Once you start to look at ePOS systems, make note that vendors often only offer partial pricing information. Many will advise that the system is “free,” but what’s free is the software. In this instance, you’ll likely have to pay for all of the component hardware.
Always ask for numbers for both hardware and software costs so that you know exactly what needs to be spent.
What Does Your Business Need?
There are no wrong or right reasons to invest in an ePOS system, but you’ll find a system that best meets your business’ needs if you’re able to determine your pain points. For example, if you’re finding that you routinely run out of top-selling items or that your manual inventory numbers are incorrect, you’ll want to look into how ePOS can help manage your inventory.
ePOS systems can help to streamline, automate, and improve many different business operations. Aside from transactions and inventory management, this system can also benefit:
- Sales tracking
- Metrics and analytical data
- Marketing campaigns
- Customer relationship management
While you’ll likely want to invest in an all-in-one ePOS system, it helps to know which features are must-haves versus which ones are just nice to have. This way, you can more easily narrow down system options.
If you’re unsure exactly what types of features your business needs in an ePOS system, start by researching an ePOS system that is designed for your specific industry. There are systems designed for retailers, restaurant owners, hospitality, and much more.
Look at Each System’s Data Management
What makes an ePOS system so powerful is the type and amount of data that it can collect. Data is crucial in making business decisions that can have lasting effects on success and profit.
When choosing a system, look at how data is collected and stored. It’s just as important to determine how system data can be accessed. For example, if you want to be able to remotely view system data, you’ll want one that is hosted in the cloud. There are even systems that allow mobile device access.
It’s crucial to choose a system that allows you to track important metrics such as:
- Inventory numbers
- Peak sales hours
- Average purchase total
- Customer purchase frequency
The more data that an ePOS system can collect, the better. Be sure that system data is properly secured and protected. You don’t want your customers to become the victim of a data breach or leak.
Test Each System
Once you’ve compiled a list of possible ePOS systems that meet your business’ needs while also fitting your budget, the next step is to test each system for usability. There’s nothing worse than wasting thousands of dollars on a product that isn’t easy to use.
Many ePOS vendors offer free trial periods and/or live demos of the system. This allows you to get a hands-on experience of how the system works, what it looks like, and how each of the features operates.
Plan a day where you and a few of your employees can spend time working within each system to get a feel for how it works.
When testing each system, pay close attention to usability. Look for features such as inventory search, quick keys, and digital signature pads. You don’t want to invest in a system that’s confusing or complicated to use. This makes getting employee acceptance even harder.
An ePOS system may be one of the most expensive business purchases that you make. What’s beneficial is that this is a system that offers a high return on investment, and the upfront dollars all but pay for themselves. Keep these tips in mind when research ePOS system options to ensure that you choose a system that best fits your business’ needs.