Do you want to build a custom-made POS app? Or are you choosing from existing variants and not sure which one is better? Either way, identifying POS software's main features can provide a deeper understanding of your business needs.
What Should You Consider When Choosing POS Software?
Before selecting a specific piece of software, there are two major decisions about POS systems that an entrepreneur should make:
- work with existing software/build one from scratch
- what hardware to choose?
Choosing Between Existing and Custom-Made POS Software
Opting for an existing POS software rather than developing one from scratch can substantially save upfront costs. Many apps are available for a monthly fee or even for free. Free apps tend to offer additional, advanced features that come at a certain price.
Custom-made POS software development, on the other hand, can cut expenses in the long run. The most obvious reason is that there are no recurrent fees. But this is only part of the story.
Many app owners manage to make money from their clients without caring about straightforwardness or transparency. Thus, some offer low fees and even hardware discounts but require you to work with a specific processor - a company that handles transactions, charging a percentage for each. The higher the rates are, the more it will influence your bottom line. In many cases, rates might be low at first and rise with time.
If you choose to work with existing POS software, ask if you can choose your processor, discuss the rates and whether they will be fixed.
POS hardware usually includes a monitor, a credit card reader, a barcode scanner, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer. Before making any purchases, make sure that the software and the hardware of your choice are compatible.
Some companies sell both software and hardware. It is important to understand how much flexibility you will have regarding upgrades. For instance, if you are not happy with the software, can you switch to another company without having to purchase new hardware?
Depending on the complexity of an app, the number of features might differ considerably. Here are some of the most important ones.
Feature # 1: The List of Items to Be Purchased
This one is pretty much self-explanatory yet essential. Any POS app should be able to display the full list of items chosen as well as calculate the total cost.
Some items might pose more challenges in this regard than others. Goods sold by weight are an example, as they require scales.
Feature # 2: Payments
Ideally, you should be able to accept as many types of payments as possible. Credit card processing is vital, and NFC is recommendable, as the technology has become quite popular.
In addition to receiving payments, you must be able to process returns and issue refunds.
Feature # 3 Client Information Management
Good customer relationships can make a world of difference for a business. It can turn one-time clients into loyal ones and even urge them to leave good reviews online.
Client Database and Customer Relationship Management
A POS app should be able to support customer relationship management, including the compilation of a client database. This might come either by integrating it with an existing CRM system or use in-built functions for this purpose.
There are many reasons why the feature is beneficial. Even processing returns and refunds is much easier when you have a history of purchases of each client at hand. CRM-like features also provide necessary marketing tools and significant opportunities.
Loyalty Programs, Coupons, and Discounts
A POS app must be able to process the coupons that your business might offer. It should calculate discounts, whether general or attributed to loyalty programs, automatically.
Information about your clients and their purchasing habits mentioned in the previous paragraphs will provide you with an understanding of what discounts and/or special offers can maximize your profit. Thus, if you realize that some items are undesirable and might expire unused, you should reconsider your policy.
Analytics can be done manually or via your POS app if it has the capacity for marketing analysis. More sophisticated pieces of software can even generate automatic messages, congratulating customers on various occasions (birthdays) and offering special discounts.
Feature # 4: Manage Warehouse Content
With proper POS software, you should be able to understand exactly how many items of each variety you have in the store and the warehouse. This way, in-demand goods that are low on stock can be ordered promptly.
Feature # 5: Enable Online Ordering
but now, it is hands down a must for every business. Successfully establishing an online presence has been a matter of survival for many entrepreneurs over the last year. Therefore, most are now interested exclusively in POS software that makes online shopping a simple and pleasant experience for a customer.
You can receive notifications when an item is low on stock or soon to be expired. This way, you will be able to order more from a supplier or offer a discount, respectively, thus maximizing profit.
POS systems can monitor the most popular products and a spike in popularity during certain holidays or seasons. It can estimate how much will be sold in near future.
Sometimes clients have a part of the total sum needed in cash and another part in their bank account. POS software without a split payments feature only allows customers to pay either with cash or via a wire transfer. Of course, they can find the nearest ATM and withdraw the necessary sum. But remember, there is always a risk that they will not come back.
These are just some of the features worth your attention. Nonetheless, every business is unique, and establishing what is important for yours is the first step to making a wise choice regarding POS software.