Point of sale systems have made the life of a business owner today a heck of a lot easier than when everyone used a big old cash register, a pen and a log book. With all the automation, speed and efficiency of a robot, POS systems can help run a restaurant or retail store and take some of the burden off the people that are working alongside it. But you just can’t get any point of sale system you come across, because not all of them are created equal. Here’s a list of mistakes to avoid when choosing your next POS system.
- Not going Branded. For clothes and other items, you can make do with simple, non-branded stuff. You may even get away with buying a cheap phone. But for a system that will help you run your business? You simply can’t take that risk. Being frugal with your POS system will cost you more future headaches and frustration, which leads us to…
- Not choosing a reputable Manufacturer. Imagine investing in a system that worked fine for a few days and then quit on you during the busiest week of the season? And when you called for support, it was almost non-existent and you had to call an IT professional to help you because they were taking forever. These headaches happen with non-established companies. It’s like buying a car. You know what you get when you buy a Toyota or a Honda. These cars are legendary for their safety and service record. Would you take a risk buying a cheap car from a company you just heard about? You would never risk it! Go for companies that have a proven track record.
- Not doing your Research. Word of mouth marketing is fine. But when you hear about a POS system from a friend, who heard it from another friend, would you just go ahead and buy it? Choose a POS system that fits your business model. Do your own research and never take anyone’s word for it unless you see the actual point of sale system in action. If you narrowed down your choice for a POS system, ask for three or more referrals that use the exact same system you want to buy. Talk to the business owners about the system and ask if you can drop by and see it in action. Ask about the company’s customer service record and how fast they respond. Ask them for any system glitches and quirks that they may have encountered.
- Not asking the manufacturer everything. When you talk to a manufacturer, ask them anything and everything. It helps if you make a list of things to ask so you’re prepared for a little Q&A. Ask about training schedules, service response times, if there’s dedicated support, scheduled updates, reporting, cloud support, experience in your industry, bundled hardware, discounts, etc.
- Using your old hardware. Some business owners want to save money on point of sale systems, so they just buy the software and attempt to assemble their own hardware using an assortment of old computer hardware bought online for cheap. I’m all for the DIY spirit and repurposing old stuff, but you just can’t take the risk of using old hardware for your POS system. What if it has compatibility issues? Also, the hardware used for businesses were made to take abuse for 12 hours or more, everyday. The same cannot be said for machines made for home use, especially old ones. You’re better off paying a little bit more extra for the hardware that comes with the software, just to save you from all the stress.
In a Squirreled Nutshell
Saving money is very important in life and in business. But when you’re a scrooge on some of the essentials like a good restaurant POS or a POS for retail, you’ll only end up hurting your bottom line. Please remember that a point of sale system is not an expense, but rather an investment that will help you run your business better and more efficient than ever.