How to Choose Retail POS Software for Your Store

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1.07.2022 Business tips Features, Tools and Integrations

How to Choose Retail POS Software for Your Store

How to find the right POS software for your retail business  

Whether you’re planning to open a small shop, looking for ways to expand your retail business, or needing to streamline operations across an established chain of stores, a POS system can help drive profitability. However, it’s not a necessity for every business. 

What is POS software? POS stands for Point of Sale, and refers to the software and hardware used when a customer transacts. It can assist in managing inventory, tracking sales and progress towards targets, shift scheduling and much more. 

The trick is to choose the best retail POS software for your business; find the POS system that streamlines your most time-consuming tasks and improves your customers’ experience, and it’s an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. Zeller, for example, integrates with leading Australian retail point-of-sale systems including Lightspeed Retail and Hike, as well as many more.

Whether it’s for one store or many stores, read on to find out how a retail POS software solution can benefit your business and discover which option is the best fit for you.

3 steps to choosing a POS system

The right POS system will improve your business's bottom line, while making your life easier. However, billions of dollars of unused software is wasted every year; Gartner estimates approximately 20% of a business's software expenditure goes towards unused tools. So, it’s important to take the time to find the right POS system for your business. 

Before you start looking around, there are three key steps you must take to ensure you’re not forking out for a POS system that doesn’t match your business needs — or your budget. 

1. Understand your business needs

Identify what it is that your business requires from your new system. If you have multiple stores, you’ll want cloud-based retail POS software, as this will allow you to manage all stores from one central location. A robust, cloud-based POS system will give you a centralised view of sales made across all stores, and help you track stock levels in each location. 

On the other hand, if the business is a pop-up shop or a single location store, an iPad POS system might be a better way to go — because it’s portable, and can work better in smaller spaces. 

After writing your own list of requirements, talk to employees to find out what would make their job easier. Carefully consider which features will have the most impact on your operations, and make a list of “must-haves”. If you are currently using POS software and are in the market for an upgrade, list what features your current POS system has — as well as what’s missing. 

Having a clear understanding of your business’s needs from the get-go will help make your search for your POS solution easier. Or, in going through this process, you may discover that your business doesn’t require a POS system after all.

2. Set a budget

Naturally, business owners are cautious of how much they spend. Yet when it comes to retail management, POS software is an investment that pays off in the long run. So, how much should you spend?

According to Deloitte, the average Australian small to medium-sized business spends at least 6% of its total revenue on technology. Of course, the exact amount invested varies from business to business — however it’s a good benchmark for retail merchants. Invest too little, and you won’t benefit from the most powerful POS functionality.  

In setting your budget, consider the following: 

  • Cloud-based retail POS software can cost between $60 and $200 per month, depending on the features you require and whether you choose to pay for add-ons. Also consider the size of your team and product catalog. Generally, the more people who will need to use your POS system (and the more data stored in the system), the higher the cost. 
  • Some POS systems require additional hardware, which can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars depending on what you purchase. A simple POS run through an iPad will cost you less than a desktop-based system that requires a barcode scanner and scales, for example.

At the end of the day, what you choose to spend on a POS system depends on your specific circumstances and business goals. Luckily, there are options to suit all budgets.

3. Do your research

Now that you know what you expect from a POS system, and how much you’re willing to spend, make sure you look at a few options before deciding which one suits your business needs. 

There are a number of retail POS systems in Australia. Search industry-specific websites for retail POS software and create a shortlist. Then, look at social media accounts, customer reviews, and talk to other retailers to get a better idea of the products available. 

A good place to start is with the most popular retail POS systems: Hike and Vend by Lightspeed. Vend by Lightspeed supports multi-location management, and boasts exceptional customer service. Customers also report that the system is easy to use and provides good value for money. Hike, on the other hand, is an Australian-born product that comes with all of the main features you’d expect in a retail POS system — for a significantly cheaper price.  

Retail POS software features to consider

There are a number of key POS features most retailers will benefit from. When researching your options, keep the below in mind.  

Inventory tracking 

Keeping track of inventory is a critical but time-consuming task. Understock, and you’ll likely disappoint customers — you don’t want to create a reputation for advertising products you don’t have. Purchase too much stock, and you’re unnecessarily draining your cash flow. You may even be spending money on a storage facility that you don’t actually need; knowing your inventory levels is key to ensuring you’re only purchasing the stock you’re able to sell. 

Having a POS system that can calculate your sell rates, keep track of inventory, and calculate the gross margin return on investment will help ensure you’re optimising your cash flow. Most larger retailers also look for POS software that can flag when inventory is running low on products, and surface any stale products that aren’t selling. 

Employee management

Ensuring you have enough staff rostered on and keeping track of sales targets is vital to running a profitable retail business. Consider retail POS software that can automatically track progress towards set targets, and show which staff are performing or underperforming. 

A good POS system will also enable you to calculate staff hours and assist in accurately calculating payroll.

Reporting

As a business owner, you have big decisions to make on a monthly — if not daily — basis. Having access to concrete data enables you to make informed decisions for the benefit of your business. 

A Salesforce survey discovered that, for 50% of small businesses, the various reporting tools within their POS system are crucial. On which side of the fence does your business sit? If you are able to get the information you need to make smarter business decisions another way, you could save your business a costly recurring expense. 

Zeller Dashboard, for example, surfaces the most important information in real-time: daily and monthly transaction totals, comparison data, as well as up-to-the-minute tracking of settlements into your bank account, and purchases made using Zeller Mastercard

The ability to see how business is performing at a glance can help to identify patterns, such as which store is selling more stock and busiest time of day — insights that can help in optimising your staff schedule, as well as managing inventory across stores. 

Zeller Dashboard is a free tool every Zeller merchant can use. If you are going to spend money on retail POS software, look for a system that will help you identify any areas that might be causing your business to hemorrhage money — such as stale stock or underperforming staff. 

Implementing retail POS software that tailors reports to your needs will assist you in identifying where changes need to be made and reduce the guesswork.

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Integrations 

A POS system is not a standalone system. These days, the best tech tools are designed to plug into one another — feeding information from one system to the next, and back again. Having an integrated system with integrated EFTPOS will help in centralising your data.

When considering your POS options, consider how it will integrate with third-party software. What tools are you already using? Are there additional tools you wish to start using? Consider the marketing and accounting software you’re using, and research which retail POS system integrates with those tools. 

Integrations can save your business time and money, streamlining operations and removing double data entry — just to name a few benefits. 

Customer management

A POS system can do many things for your retail business, yet perhaps the most exciting is the potential to improve a customer’s experience with your brand. A number of retail-specific POS systems house powerful customer relationship management functionality, such as customer profiling and email marketing tools. 

Will your business require a system that tracks each customer’s purchase history, records their contact details, and can identify your most frequent shoppers? Some retail POS systems will allow you to send out targeted promotions, special discounts, and more. If you don’t plan on sending out marketing to upsell VIP customers, keeping track of their shopping history will enable you to provide a personalised customer service experience — especially if they have a question about a particular product or transaction. 

The right retail POS software will enable you to optimise your business’s operations.  Yet, for some retail merchants, POS software may be an unnecessary expense. Take the time to work out exactly what your business requires, and crunch the numbers to work out if it makes financial sense to invest in retail POS software. If not, remember Zeller Dashboard offers valuable insights you can use to grow your business. 

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