Around 11.2% of retail businesses in the U.S. fail. That also doesn’t include the 13.6% of retail businesses that fail globally.
A lot of the time, the business model may have been lacking in some form of their operations strategy. An efficient POS platform is an essential part of that plan.
If you want to keep your business running, you need to take certain steps to make sure you don’t end up as part of that statistic. Choosing the wrong system can cause problems for your staff and your business. However, the opposite is true as well.
If you get it right, you can reap the benefits for the time you decide to stay in business. That’s the difference though: deciding to stay in business, rather than being forced to let your business go due to poor choices.
Let’s explore everything you need to consider when you’re looking for a new POS system for your business so that you can make the right decisions as you get started.
1. Perform a Technical Discovery Survey on Your Current System
All businesses are different, so it’s important to know your needs before deciding on a new system. Now, if you aren’t exactly sure what a technical discovery survey is, think about it as a research project that works toward what you need in the future.
Your product manager or product team will often run point on this. The main purpose of this is to spend time right now to lay out the how, what, and why based on the scope of your future projects. Another way to think about it is like a proactive contingency plan.
Everything you’re doing now will make decisions for later much simpler. The deliverables that you should end up with should be easy to demonstrate and should be actionable.
The best times to start with a tech survey are anytime you’re working in a new domain or space. This is especially true if you’ve introduced new technology into your workflow. If your operations need more time to get where you want your metrics to be, this is another appropriate time for a tech survey.
Any time you need to evaluate technical risks or want to perform cross-functional efforts, a technical survey would be needed here as well. You can also do a few other things to make your tech survey more customized to your business model and to what you have in the pipeline for your company.
Get Feedback From Your Employees
Your employees are the ones who will use the system on a daily basis. They’re going to have valuable insights into what works well and what doesn’t. Make sure to get feedback from as many employees as possible.
You can do this by sending out a survey or by holding group meetings. If you have an enterprise-sized company or multiple locations, this should be extended to all of the sites that will be taking on the integration. Employees will be able to tell you what features they like, which ones they don’t, and why.
They may also have suggestions for features that they would like to see in a new system upgrade. This is one of the best ways to get and use internal feedback to better your systems.
Understand Your Business Processes
You need to understand how your retail business runs from start to finish. This includes everything from ordering supplies and taking orders to processing payments and managing multiple sites. Once you have a good understanding of your business processes, you can start looking at POS systems that will fit those needs.
For example, if you have a lot of customers who pay with cash, you’ll want to make sure that the system you choose can handle cash payments. On the other hand, if you have a lot of customers who use gift cards, you’ll want to make sure that the system can handle those as well.
You should also take into account any special features that your business needs. For example, if you sell tickets to events, you’ll need a POS system that can link to printers or that offers special formatting. The list goes on, but this is where having a wish list comes in.
2. Compile a Wish List of Requirements for Your POS Platform
You want to make sure you can reach your goals, so having a wish list of what you require from your POS is a good place to start and will make the process easier. Having a list of features that are must-haves is like designing the type of system you need. These are features that you can’t live without and should reflect that.
For example, if you take orders over the phone, you’ll need a system that can take orders via emailso you can lift your sales amount. If you have a lot of customers and multiple locations, you’ll need multiple ways to process payments, seamless functionality, and easy compatibility.
Other features you might want to consider are:
- Integrated supplier purchasing
- Real-time reporting
- Multi-store management
- Invoicing options
- Supply order management
Consider your budget as well. POS systems can vary in price. It’s important to consider your budget when looking at POS systems.
This is something that should also be on your wish list because it will determine what your product or management team can shop around for.
You should also keep in mind that the price isn’t always an indicator of quality. You can find some very good POS systems that are very affordable and that are designed to help with business growth.
3. Don’t Assume Anything
When looking at new solutions, don’t assume anything about the POS features. The key here is to ensure that everything works as it’s intended to so that you get the results you expect.
One of the best ways to do this would be to get an actual demo. It should last long enough for you to try out each feature.
4. Don’t Let Best Be the Enemy of Better
No solution is perfect, but many are more appropriate than others for certain applications. The key is not to get bogged down in feature comparisons and rather find the system that will do the bulk of what you need it to do.
If a system lacks in any way, you can make up for that with other processes or manual workarounds. This is important to remember when you are looking at different POS solutions because it’s easy to get caught up in all the features and forget what’s most important for long-term usage and support.
In addition, try to choose a system that will grow with your company. As your company grows, your POS system will need to grow with it.
You don’t want to have to replace your system every time you open a new store or add a new product. Look for a POS system that’s scalable and can grow as your business does.
5. Review Your Current Data Structure
You want to make sure that you are reviewing the current structure of your data and confirming that all required data points can push to the new system. Here’s why: if you have to change your processes or data structure to make it fit the new system, you’re going to run into problems down the road.
It’s always best to choose a Point of Sale system that can work with your current data structure. Make sure you have a support plan as well because this may come in handy if you run into any obstacles or want to deliver an Omnichannel approach to provide better shopping experiences.
You should always make sure that you have a support plan in place before you switch to a new POS system if you already have recorded data on another platform, whether it’s a legacy version or a newer model.
Things will inevitably go wrong, and you’ll need to be able to rely on someone for help. Look for a vendor like Harmony Commerce who will help make sure that the transition goes smoothly.
6. Make Sure That Any Integrations (ERP, eCommerce, 3PL, Loyalty) Are Considered and Evaluated for Compatibility
You want to make sure that any integrations you have in place will work with the new system. This will determine how easy it would be to perform an integration or a complete migration from one system to another. The key here is to ensure you don’t lose any pertinent information or data.
Or, you should at least have a sufficient backup plan to ensure that you can upload any of your prior data into your new system. You also want to make sure that your survey takes into account all of the devices that are being used in conjunction with your POS platform. This includes any scanners, printers, or other peripherals.
Considering the total cost of ownership might also be helpful when it comes to future integrations as well. This includes considering the upfront cost of the software, hardware, and implementation as well as the ongoing costs of support and maintenance.
Get an All in One POS Platform
Keep these factors in mind for your new POS platform as you compare different systems and make your decision. Harmony Commerce offers scalable, modern retail solutions for even the most advanced environments.
When you want a system that allows for universal usage no matter where your customers engage with you, along with worry-free technology, consider using Harmony Commerce for a personable and data-driven experience. If you want to learn more, chat with our team today.
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