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Point of sale (POS) systems process customer transactions, accept payments, issue receipts, and handle back-office processes for your retail environment. POS solutions used to be as simple as a cash register that rang up customer orders. Today, POS systems have quickly become a unified source of credit card payment processing, advanced inventory management, and even eCommerce integrations with your online store.
The availability and low cost of smartphones and mobile tablets has led to many businesses being able to adapt a cloud-based POS system for their small business with equipment they already have.
When your retail or restaurant business is in the market to look at the top point of sale systems, you may have many questions. Which system has the features you need? What software will work on your hardware? What is included in your purchase? We’ve compiled our list of the best POS systems for your small business:
ShopKeep is a point of sale system with strong payments and eCommerce capabilities. The POS solution can work across all devices–giving you the flexibility to run the program on your tablet (such as an iPad), your laptop, or your mobile device via their pocket app. The complete POS can be customized for all business types–letting you sell online, sell in-person, manage employees, create reports, manage inventory, and invoice customers.
ShopKeep is easy to use for anyone with little to no learning curve. That’s because their single dashboard includes easy access to your online store, your inventory levels, or any back-office tasks. This includes integrations with accounting software such as QuickBooks Online. Their straightforward pricing model includes unlimited users and unlimited inventory with free support.
Like most of the top POS software, ShopKeep lets you choose the POS hardware best suited for your needs. ShopKeep does offer POS equipment depending on your industry, including a retail kit, a restaurant kit, and a quick-service kit. These hardware kits usually come with a combination of a cash drawer, a receipt printer, a credit card reader, and a barcode scanner.
eHopper is a complete cloud-based POS system that has everything a small business needs to run successfully. This includes credit card processing, sales orders, back-office task management, and reporting. The POS software can be used on both Android and iOS tablets, mobile devices, or Windows and Mac computers via a web browser. eHopper also offers an “all-in-one” POS that includes a 14-inch touchscreen register.
eHopper is one of the best small business POS system due to free credit card processing. That means credit and debit cards can be run with 0% fees. A subscription to eHopper even includes a Pax S300 payment terminal that lets you process payments in-store.
Small businesses that may be unsure if eHopper is right for them can utilize the free version that is offered. This version is limited to 1 user and is mostly only intended for micro-businesses–but it’s a great starting point that lets you try the POS system out and decide if it’s right for you. Their paid options start at only $29.99/month–making it an affordable POS system for your small business.
Lightspeed is an omnichannel retail POS system that provides advanced eCommerce capabilities–allowing you to take command of both your online and offline sales. In today’s age of pickups, deliveries, and comparison shopping online, it’s important that your retail POS system does more than just check customers out in-store and swipe their card.
eCommerce capabilities include synching your in-store stock count with what is being displayed on your website (to avoid overselling). Loyalty programs can encourage customers to come back and order more, or even offer discounts for in-store visits. For in-store capabilities, contactless payment options can be added (such as mobile payment processors like Apple Pay) that offer alternatives to traditional swipes and cash payments.
As a company, Lightspeed offers all-in-one cloud POS systems for the retail, restaurant, and golf industries. While this may stretch other companies too thin rather than focus on their retail product, Lightspeed is able to boast about their fit in all retail environments–meaning they likely have experience implementing their system in your niche.
TouchBistro is an iPad restaurant POS system that lets your waitstaff send orders, gives food special suggestions, has 24/7 support, shows available food stock count, as well as process customer payments and handle any pending checks to your vendors. TouchBistro stands out as a top restaurant point of sale system since it was developed by restaurant professionals–providing unique tools that only those in the industry would appreciate. TouchBistro has been successfully implemented in full-service restaurants, quick service dining, bars and clubs, food trucks, and breweries.
Tableside service (such as order placing) can help turn tables faster. It also provides suggestions to servers that they can pass on to the customer. A kitchen display system for the back of the house will immediately update the cooks with what needs to be completed–including substitutions–and in what order.
While most of the capabilities for the front of the house staff are usable on a mobile tablet such as an iPad, the core back-office capabilities such as accounting and reporting can be used via a web browser from any desktop computer. This gives you real-time access to your performance, and can also help you check in on other locations.
QuickBooks Point of Sale software helps your retail business become a multichannel retail operation–offering a multitude of tablet hardware choices, contactless payments, eCommerce management, and inventory monitoring. And of course, the solution will integrate with your QuickBooks Online accounting software.
Many businesses choose QuickBooks Online as their preferred small business accounting software, and for good reason. It’s long been one of the most popular choices due to its affordability and ease of use. Adding QuickBooks Point of Sale into your retail environment helps you create personalized offers for your customers, create loyalty programs, integrate a barcode scanner to your checkout and inventory process–all while reducing errors and improve accuracy.
Businesses that rely on QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online for paying bills, managing cash flow, invoicing customers, and running financial reports will be satisfied with the increased capabilities offered through the POS system.
Have you taken full advantage of the benefits of point of sale (POS) systems? There are few tasks as important to a retail business as selecting the right point of sale software. The payment options offered, the speed of the transaction, and the ability to tailor the transaction to the customers’ needs each have profound impacts on customer satisfaction and your overall business success. Discover what POS features you need to boost your retail profits in this article.
A point of sale (POS) system handles the payment collection, receipting, and inventory updating involved with a retail sale in real-time at the point of purchase. A POS system will scan items at checkout, calculate the amount owed, and prepare an invoice that a customer can pay right away via credit card, cash, or check.
Some POS systems are all-inclusive and include bundled hardware, such as an iPad or a fully operating cash register, barcode scanner, and credit card swiper. Other POS software options can operate as a web-based software via a web browser–allowing you to use whatever computer or mobile device you are familiar with.
Critical business benefits enabled by point of sale systems include:
Point of sale represents the area where retail businesses conduct their data entry. From moving customers through the checkout line to automatically integrating with back-end financial management systems, point of sale systems provide powerful tools to improve productivity.
Point of sale software opens up a host of other major business opportunities:
The recent years have also been kind to retailers eager to improve their technology advantage at the counter, but concerned about the cost of doing so. Three big factors have contributed to lowering costs and improving ROI rates for investments in POS systems:
Accurately inputting items sold, quantities, and price can be automated in a number of different ways. Many point of sale applications allow for barcode scanners as a way of transmitting information about the item being purchased. Whether the information is gathered through touch-screens, bar codes, or manual input of item codes, POS systems will associate the item and quantity input with a per unit price.
Point of sale systems are also responsible for summing the total of all items and providing a balance due figure. Errors are more likely with manually calculated balances as opposed to those derived at automatically by software. Also, the ability to create line item records for every item sold is a first step in preventing fraud and theft.
An often-overlooked capability of a point of sale system is the ability of intelligent software to assist in promoting increased sales volumes. The point of sale offers a tremendous opportunity to get to know your customers and to appeal to their consumer needs. Detailed sales histories let you see firsthand what your hottest sellers are and which products are not moving as fast as you’d like. Understanding the buying trends of individual customers further helps target sales opportunities–provided the information is shared with the right employees at the right time.
Point of sale systems capture data critical to making solid business decisions. POS systems can be integrated with inventory software to deduct items from inventory as they are sold. Understanding precise inventory stocks and the rate of sales on products allows retailers to make good decisions on when to re-order items. Ordering stock wisely means ensuring availability without tying up cash in overhead expenses.
The cash only retail business is quickly fading into obscurity. Today’s consumers expect uniform access to the payment method of their choosing. Point of sale systems help to accommodate this business reality.
Point of sale system modules easily allow credit card processing and are built to easily receive input from credit card swipers. While credit and debit options have reduced the number of checks being written, many customers still expect the option. Payment by check has historically offered an opportunity for fraud and lost revenues, but modern point of sale systems have introduced security tools to help minimize this possibility.
Many point of sale applications can integrate with check reader hardware and check verification services. Of course, virtually all point of sale systems require the ability to support cash transactions. Tight integration between the point of sale software and the cash drawer is a must.
Most point of sale experts recommend choosing software and basing the decision on what hardware to use off of the software system, rather than vice versa. The basic reason for this is that the software provides the intelligence in the system and will have more specific requirements about which hardware devices can be integrated.
Typical hardware needs for POS set-ups include: