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Things to Look for in a Point of Sale System

by Ian on July 18, 2008

Someone who is in the process of buying a Catholic store asked for tips on choosing a point of sale (pos) system since the store in question doesn't have one. Definitely a step in the right direction. Here are list of essential things to have in such a system. I'm sure there are more so feel free to add in the comments.

  • I will assume that every pos can process orders using credit cards, cash and checks. If not, run away.
  • Customer tracking - your system should be able to give you reports on your best customers, and be able to break that down by category - Wouldn't it be useful to know who buys the most clergy shirts or rosaries and during what time of year? This leads to the next feature:
  • Coupons. Your system should be able to produce coupons. Some features to look for in coupons:
    • Start and end dates
    • For specific people
    • For specific items or categories
    • For a minimum purchase
    • For a specific item if another is purchased
    • For any percentage or dollar amount
    • The ability to:
  • Track. Your system should be able to track and produce reports for everything. Products purchased, coupons used, customer buying patterns, advertising sources, best categories, most / least profitable items and categories. Everything.
  • Export and import. Your system should be able to export data into spreadsheets and also in Quickbooks format for your accountant. Your system should also allow importing of data from spreadsheets so you don't have to manually enter product and customer information.
  • Gift cards. Everybody has them and your system should support them.
  • Loyalty programs. While not essential, the ability to create and track a loyalty program will give you more repeat business which will help keep your business healthy.
  • Useful and easy to create reports. If your system can't give you data you need to check and improve your business health, it really isn't doing its job.
  • An intuitive system. You are going to be using your system every day. Make sure it is simple to use so you aren't griping about it at the end of each day.
  • Good support. What happens if you can't figure something out? Is there a good manual? Is there live support? If your system doesn't provide both, get a different system.

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