You’ve finally signed a lease, you’re designing the interior of your business, and you’re starting to accept applications for new hires. After months of planning, preparation, and hard work, it seems as though you’re finally going to check off every box on your list leading to your grand opening. Then it hits you: you haven’t picked a point of sale system yet. And with all of the types of POS systems out there, you’re not quite sure where to start.
Do you pick one of the legacy systems that you’ve seen in other stores?]? Or do you pick a flexible, software-based solution that gives you more freedom to choose? It’s a tough decision so we’ve developed some guidelines that might help.
Simplicity Comes with Some Key Catches
Perhaps the most known and simplest, at least at a glance, POS system on the market is the reliable cash register with credit card swipe terminal setup. They’re simple to use: you key in or scan items a customer wishes to purchase, accept payment via cash, credit, or debit card, issue a receipt and change, and the transaction ends. Sounds easy enough, right?
Not so fast! While yes, it’s one of the simpler setups and software costs are non-existent, legacy systems fall behind in other ways. Tracking important business metrics such as sales data and inventory levels becomes a tedious and mistake-prone undertaking that is mostly accomplished by manually entering data into spreadsheets. Inventory becomes a clipboard-based process that is neither efficient nor future-proof. You’re also going to miss out on the staff management benefits many newer systems offer.
While it’s a common solution that many businesses rely on, using an outdated system means it’s much more difficult to gain insight into how effective your business is operating. While it is the simplest and easiest to implement, it ends up costing your business in one serious area: time.
Since all your processes will have to be manual, you’re going to focus on smaller tasks instead of business development. The lack of reporting and centralized sales data available with most on-premise POS systems makes this a recipe for disaster for most businesses.
Tried and True: The Legacy POS
An old-school cash register sounding a little outdated? The next type of POS system is known as the legacy system. These use integrated hardware and software and are most often based on Windows.
They typically require that you purchase not only the register and card reader equipment, but a computer, laptop, or in some cases a tablet. The information from these devices are collected into a central repository, typically the main pc or an external storage device, for safe-keeping.
The advantages of this type of system are that you gain a great method for collecting, storing, and analyzing your sales and inventory data. This gives you a multitude of key advantages by reducing waste, ensuring that your inventory and ordering is precisely what you need, and identifying sales trends. This enables you to stay ahead of your customer base and provide them exactly what they need, in some cases before they need it.
Payment for this system is typically a one-time thing, and you might even get “free” POS software, though support costs may be subscription based. However, there are often hidden support fees and additional charges should you damage a system or experience a breakdown. Moreover, if your card processing is tied to your POS, then you cannot switch to a different processor without having to replace your POS as well. In some case, this may come with expensive early termination fees.
But of course, there is a catch here as well. The initial costs of hardware and software licensing can exceed the operating budgets of some start-up businesses. This also ties you into a physical hardware solution that will eventually require another substantial cash expenditure to upgrade to newer equipment.
From a security standpoint, while software and data protection are simple to install and run on your devices, this will not protect you against physical security concerns like break-ins or employee theft.
Considering that the majority of these solutions do not come with cloud support, your valuable business data can literally walk out the door, leaving you to scramble to recover. There is a way, though, to have an all-inclusive POS system in place that protects your data and business.
POS Modernization with Cloud Integration
Today’s modern POS systems are driven by software and data. While the hardware is still a necessity, software-based POS systems provide a new business with a non-proprietary solution that will not lock you into any single device or a single processor. Want to make an upgrade? Make an upgrade. Want software that can support any processor?? Choose a flexible provider that gives you more control.
Cloud-based POS systems are the most modern as they store all data in the cloud so it’s never “lost” and always available no matter where you are, allowing you to generate reports and keep an eye on your business no matter if you are in your building or on vacation lounging on the beach.
These easy-to-use POS systems can also scale alongside growing businesses. Planning to expand in the future? Good thing you’re not locked into a provider that’s going to charge you to use their system in a second location. The ability to swap devices without being tied into long-term support contracts or hardware options you do not need prevents unnecessary growing pains.
Inventory management becomes much more streamlined as the ability to automate product ordering when inventory levels fall below a specified threshold allows you to focus on your customers, and not on your spreadsheets. The portable information makes tax time and audits flow smoothly, especially if you’re integrating with your accounting software.
Overall, a cloud-based solution enhances your business while providing you a safe place to store your vital information. Plus, many providers offer 24/7 support, which never hurts. However, it is important to get the opinion of an expert in both the POS landscape and in working with new businesses to ensure that you have the perfect solution based on your size and needs.
Let Us Help You Compare Types of POS Systems
Starting a business is a massive undertaking. One item on your to-do list is comparing the different types of POS systems available. This is why your partner should have deep levels of experience working with small businesses and a variety of POS platforms. It’s important to choose a provider that has a track record of success and possesses the innovation to help new businesses flourish.
Enlisting the help of an expert is crucial for a start-up operation in order to properly identify and implement the perfect POS solution for you. talech is here to help, and we take the time to identify the key business challenges you face. With a wide range of customizable features and flexible hardware options to choose from, you can feel confident knowing the system you’re implementing gives you the results you desire. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.