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When was the last time you upgraded your phone or your computer? Chances are, it’s been within the last couple of years so you can keep up with the latest technology.

Now, when was the last time you upgraded your point-of-sale system (POS)? If you have to think about it — and especially if you can’t remember — it’s time to make a change.

A POS is the primary tool for sales, inventory and other operational factors. What worked when you first opened your doors most likely can’t keep up with the demands of your business today. Unfortunately, many retailers think that upgrading that technology is a hassle — which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What is a hassle, is using a system that has outdated hardware and features or insufficient means of reporting. Upgrading your POS software means less headaches and more simplification of time-consuming tasks, a better customer experience and a more productive team.

Here are six signs that you’ve outgrown your POS system.

1. It Has Outdated Hardware And Features

While the POS system you had when you opened your store was cutting edge at the time, the average setup is going to be outdated after four to seven years. What you’ll find is that a majority of new software isn’t compatible with older hardware models, and that older terminals, receipt printers and cash drawers simply can’t accommodate the needs of an updated system.

You might also notice that while business is booming, the checkout process is taking much longer than it should. Maybe the way you’ve been tracking inventory was cutting edge five years ago, but now it’s standard and your system is lagging behind. Plus, you find yourself having to reboot the system each day, which is less than efficient.

If you’re system doesn’t have these basic features, it’s time for an upgrade:

  • Real-time reporting
  • Employee management features
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Stored customer data and purchase history

When your operational performance suffers, so does customer satisfaction. When customer satisfaction suffers, so does your bottom line.

2. There Are Limited Integration Features

Do you find yourself jumping back and forth between multiple programs just to finish your daily paperwork? That can be a thing of the past if your POS system connects to some of your other business management solutions. There are systems out there that can streamline the flow of data. In other words, you can get all your work done in one place with one new system.

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Some integrations to consider include:

  • An Email Marketing Platform: With an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, email marketing is the easiest way to garner customer loyalty and sales. Getting those email addresses means you always have a way to stay in touch — and bring them in.
  • Accounting Software: The National Small Business Association cites that time-consuming accounting tasks eat up between two and three weeks of full-time work per year. When your POS and accounting software are integrated, you’re easily able to see what works for business and what doesn’t — saving you time and hassle.
  • Customer Loyalty and Experience: Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. And by storing customer data and purchase history to personalize the customer’s experience, you’re increasing the odds of customer retention.

3. Inventory Management Is A Nightmare

In retail, cash is king. But the biggest drain on your cash is inventory. According to Wasp Barcode, 46% of Small to medium sized businesses either don’t track inventory or use a manual method, and inventory — along with accounts receivable and accounts payable — has tied up $1.1 trillion in cash.

Too much inventory can take away from your cash flow as the products sit on a shelf, while not enough inventory can hurt your potential sales revenue. It’s a hard balance to find, but that’s where your POS can help out.

If you find you’re part of that 46% that’s walking around your store or your stockroom tracking inventory on a spreadsheet instead of shipping it out the door to a satisfied customer, your POS isn’t doing its job. A good POS should keep track of that so you have the information at a glance, and should include these inventory management features:

  • Alerts when you need to reorder and flags on inventory that’s not moving
  • The option to organize products by department, category and vendor
  • Functionality to track markdowns and shrinkage

By tracking inventory in real time, you’ll save not only time, but also money by tracking your supply levels quickly and efficiently.

4. Reporting Is Insufficient

Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are is key to making sure that your business remains healthy and robust. That means knowing about which items are or aren’t selling, which inventory is lost or damaged, or how your employees are performing.

Can your current POS system provide you a breakdown of all these critical areas of your business? If you’re shaking your head, it’s time to upgrade that system. Your POS reports should contain all the critical data you need to make informed business decisions about what is and isn’t working with your store.

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Some key data your POS should offer includes:

  • Top- and worst-selling items
  • Sales by employee, product, department and location
  • Sales by credit card, debit card, gift card, or EBT
  • Real-time inventory tracking
  • Shift reports and hours worked

Every system will have a set of predefined reports you can run but be sure to select one that has the ability to tailor your reports for your specific needs.

5. Outdated Payment Processing

If you haven’t integrated the chip card, that’s the first thing you should look to do. Not only does upgrading your payment processor protect your business from fraud liability, but the way customers are paying for things is changing more every day.

We’ve gone from asking if you would like to pay with paper or plastic to asking if you would like to pay with paper, plastic, Apple Pay, Android Pay, gift card, etc. And if you’re not able to ask that question, it means your POS system is failing you — and you’re failing your customers.

6. Lack Of Customer Support

No matter when you purchased your POS system, you should still be able to reach out to the company any time you have an issue. This is especially true if you’re running more than one store, where there are more people and more opportunities for an error to occur.

If a POS company is only available for support via phone or email during the standard 8-5 timeframe, what happens when you have a problem at 7PM on a busy Saturday night? Exactly. You could lose thousands of dollars in sales.

That’s why every POS system should have:

  • Real people you can talk to on the phone 24-hours a day, 365-days out of the year
  • Live online chat for those simple questions that don’t require a complex explanation
  • Email support that provides prompt replies
  • Self-help options on the website with articles, set-up guides, video tutorials, training and tips and tricks

If you found yourself nodding as you read any of the points above, it’s probably time to consider an upgrade to your POS system. It’s the easiest way to give you and your team a more streamlined approach, helping you bring your business up to the next level.

Photo via Shutterstock

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