The implementation of a new POS system can require high investment costs. For small retailers in particular, it is important to keep fixed costs at a low level in order to be able to generate profit quickly. At the same time, in order to run a successful business, even small retailers need to equip themselves with an innovative solution that supports an efficient workflow.
When looking into a retail solution, small retailers should look not only at the POS system, but also at all the systems that need to be connected to the POS system, and the overall flexibility.
Here are four features small retailers should look for in a POS system in order to make the right choice.
Some of the main competitive advantages of small retailers are a flat hierarchy and a flexible corporate structure. Small businesses can instantly react to changes in the market or in their inner structure. The ideal POS system should support this agility.
At the early stages, a small retail business may only have a few stores, and just need standard functionalities; and yet, we recommend you keep an eye on the future, and choose a system with high flexibility and that offers various possibilities for expansion.
Choose a system that is designed for growth, and once you decide to expand your business, you will be able to add POS terminals in new shops, or implement new functionalities easily, with low effort and costs. If you plan to complete an implementation in a short period of time, it is important to work in close coordination with your implementation partner.
2. A complete solution with back-office functionalities
Small companies often do not have a professional back office system. Inventory will perhaps be managed through Microsoft Excel.
This kind of disparate software solutions may seem like a good choice, as they have low initial costs. In the long run, however, they often prove to be a very costly option, as data has to be integrated and replicated manually. Software solutions like LS One include a back office system which can perform all the functionality needed by a small retailer. An additional ERP system, which could overtax small businesses, is not needed. Furthermore, with this kind of setup the management of inventory, prices and items is very efficient, as it all takes place in the same system.
3. A slim solution
Beginning a new journey is always hard. To progress, it is essential to take it one step at a time. Depending on the specifics of the solution, POS systems today offer numerous functions. Plenty of them are useful, but not necessarily at the beginning. Before beginning a POS implementation, small retailers should clarify which functions they really need from the start. Unclear definition of requirements can cause high development efforts for functions that are only used much later – or, even worse, never. Just remember that in the future, you can always expand or reconfigure the POS system, for example as your requirements change, or as your company grows.
Once you have defined your priorities, the focus when choosing the POS software should be on simplicity, speed and flexibility for all key functions.
4. Compact hardware and mobility
In addition to the software, a substantial part of the investment costs has to do with hardware. When implementing a new POS solution, the retailer must also consider the expense for necessary hardware equipment, such as a POS terminal, a receipt printer, a monitor, a barcode scanner, a card reader, and so on. And don’t forget to multiply this list of equipment for every single POS terminal!
Some software solutions can also run on mobile devices. This enables you to equip a standard mobile phone with a “retail jacket”, and use it as a Point of Sale. The retail jacket includes a barcode scanner and USB ports to connect other devices, such as printers. This compact type of solution does not only keep investment costs low, but is also flexible and future-oriented, enabling retailers to serve customers and close sales anywhere on the shop floor. Therefore, we recommend to choose a software that also offers a mobile solution, as it will enable you to save on hardware costs and gain mobility.
About the author
Maximilian Harms is a project manager at PORESY Consulting GmbH in Hamburg. With several years of professional experience, he works for the company in the field of implementation of Point of Sale solutions in the retail sector.