Choosing the Right Point-of-Sale System for a Convenience Store

Convenience stores live up to their name, which is one reason that they can be found almost everywhere. Depending on where you live, there may be one on almost every street corner. The mini-retailers offer a very broad range of items, from sundries like motor oil and soap to food and drink to gasoline for our vehicles. However, running a convenience store can be very complicated.

One of the most significant challenges is dealing with such a vast and varied inventory. Just keeping the store stocked can be a very real hassle. Another aspect is employee management and scheduling. This is particularly tough for stores that operate till late at night. Couple that with the varying needs of information access in the store’s computer system and register, and you get a hint of just how hard it can be to operate a convenience store. Thankfully, the right point-of-sale system can help. Here are six important tips to ensure that you get the right POS.

Start with Inventory Management

As mentioned, one of the most difficult aspects of running a convenience store is handling inventory. Not only do you need to track what’s being sold versus what’s left in the back room, but you need to worry about expiration dates and the like. A good point-of-sale system will offer an advanced inventory control system to ensure that you’re always able to maintain the right inventory levels, reorder on the fly and more.

Surveillance and Security

It’s crucial that your store have live monitoring 24-hours per day. Not only is this a vital form of theft prevention, but it can protect you if someone steals or attempts to rob the cashier. It’s also important for preventing employee theft, which can be high in many areas. The right POS system will provide video-based surveillance and loss prevention solutions to fit your needs.

Universal Barcode Reading

Barcodes are the key to ringing up sales quickly, avoiding the problem of having to price all your stock by hand, and tracking inventory. However, you’re probably all too aware of the issues that crop up when you try to scan a barcode that hasn’t been entered into the system. The right POS can actually provide you with a universal barcode reader that is capable of reading any factory barcode without an issue.

Prevent Unauthorised Access

It’s very important that certain employees don’t have access to specific types of information. That can be tough to do with an older POS system, or a PC-based system. New, advanced point-of-sale systems provide you with custom permissions to set whatever level of information access is needed for each employee.

Managing and running a convenience store can be much simpler with the right help, and that’s exactly what you’ll find with today’s modern POS systems.

Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for a Deli

There’s nothing quite like the experience of dining in a neighbourhood deli. From classic hits like the Rueben to one-off and unique in-house creations, deli dining is incredible. Of course, running a deli is no easy task. You’ve got a lot of challenges to overcome on a daily basis. Not only do you need to be able to serve your customers quickly and efficiently, but you need to manage your inventory accurately, control products that are near or past their expiration date, order new products, schedule employees and a great deal more. The right point-of-sale system can help a lot. If you’ve never really considered a modern POS system, here are a few things you need to know when choosing one.

Manage Your Ingredient Inventory

As a deli, you have literally a ton of different ingredients that are used daily. From mustard to olives, pickles, and sardines to roast beef, pulled pork and everything in between, each item has an expiration date. It’s your responsibility to manage that ingredient inventory to provide your customers with the freshest fare and the best taste, and to remove items before they become health hazards. Given the immense number of ingredients in use the average deli, that can be a Herculean task. The right POS system will help. It can allow you to track ingredient use, order more before you run out, and stay alert to expiration dates and other crucial considerations.

Integrating with Your Scales

Delis don’t just serve fresh sandwiches and other dishes. Chances are very good that your customers also come to you for fresh meat to take home for their own needs. All of your meats are sold by weight, which means that you need to use scales. Manually entering weight and price into older systems is a pain, but it also leads to inaccuracy and possibly over or undercharging your customers. The right POS system will integrate with your scales to make the process much simpler and more streamlined.

Placing Orders from Mobile

We’re all attached to our mobile devices these days, and chances are that your customers would love the ability to order from their smartphone or tablet rather than standing in line. This is true of repeat customers who know exactly what they want, but it can also be combined with your website’s online menu – customers can choose what they want, place the order from their phone, and then pick it up when they get to the deli without having to waste time standing in line. Not only does that make their day better, but it frees up your employees to better serve the customers in your deli.

Get Help with Deliveries

While it’s not true for all delis, it is for many. Offering delivery service is a value-add for your customers, but it can also be a headache for you. Managing deliveries, ensuring that each order is out the door as soon as possible, and making sure that no orders are crossed, can all be challenging. The right point-of-sale system can ensure that not only are your orders made on time, but that your deliveries are correct and timely, and your customers more than pleased with their experience.

Get to Know Your Customers

While you probably know most of the regulars that patronise your deli, chances are that some of your staff don’t. New hires take time to learn those faces and orders. You can make it simpler with a customer relationship management system that integrates with your POS. Know what your customers buy regularly, track their preferences and ensure that you’re able to serve them well.

When you invest in a POS system with these features, you ensure that you’re making a smart business decision, but also enabling better customer service.

Choosing the Right Point-of- Sale for a Grocery Store

Whether you run a neighbourhood grocery store, a store dedicated to organic foods, or something completely different, you still need the right tools to facilitate sales, ensure a smooth customer experience, and bolster business. The right point-of-sale system can make a huge difference. Conversely, the wrong POS system can lead to breakdowns in your customer experience, increase your costs in time and labor, and create many other problems. What makes the ideal POS for a grocery store?

Scale Connectivity Is Very Important

Your grocery store sells fresh fruits and produce. Chances are that, like most other grocery stores, your prices are based on weight. The problem is that many POS systems don’t seamlessly connect to the scales, leading to duplication of effort. The right system should integrate seamlessly with a scale and also provide the ability to set up multiple tare values easily.

Inventory Control Is Vital

Your business exists to provide consumers with the foods they want. You can’t do that if your inventory isn’t accurately controlled. The key to ensuring accuracy is the right POS system. A good system will ensure that every item sold is removed from your on-hand inventory, but it will also do more. It should provide real-time updates on inventory levels for all of your products, allowing you to make ordering decisions on the fly. It should also help ensure that you’re able to reorder your inventory items from a single interface for ease of use and convenience (as well as to help you save time).

Give Back to Your Customers

Do you know one of the primary reasons that shoppers choose big chain grocery stores over local markets? It’s because of their loyalty programs. With a loyalty card, customers are able to save money on grocery items, on fuel and many other things. The right point-of-sale system will give you the ability to create a loyalty program of your own and give back to your customers. Offer them savings on specific products, or rewards based on their shopping habits and more. You might be surprised at not just how often they come back, but by how many new customers are attracted to your store because of this one change.

In-Depth, Intelligent Reporting Matters

It’s not enough to track your inventory. You need in-depth information about your store’s performance, your payroll costs, items returned, the volume of items being ordered and a great deal more. In the past, getting that information was difficult, if not downright impossible. Today, the right POS system makes it simple. In fact, all the information you want can be transformed into a chart or graph for easy understanding and the ability to take immediate action.

With the right POS, your grocery store can be positioned for real success, competing on even footing with the “big boys”.

Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for a Beauty Salon

You excel at bringing out your customers’ beauty and making them feel good about themselves. It’s as much a form of therapy as it is a professional service designed to ensure that your clients always look their best. However, running your salon can be a very real challenge, and there are many hurdles you’ll need to overcome in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly. With the right point-of-sale system, you can enjoy simplified operations, a better customer experience, and even give your business the chance to grow and thrive. What features are the most important for your salon?

Appointment Booking

If there’s one thing that every salon out there struggles with, it’s booking appointments. Many still use the old paper and pencil method, despite its many downfalls. Others use an outdated computer system that’s awkward and not particularly user friendly. With the right POS system, you can provide your customers with a smoother, simpler process. Of course, that also benefits your stylists and other employees. You can take bookings online, or in your salon itself, and you can do so at any time.

Reward Those Loyal to You

Your repeat customers come back to you time and again because they love what you’re able to do for them. They love the experience and they love your stylists. Why not give them something to reward that loyalty? With the right POS system, you can easily create rewards for your most loyal customers and keep them coming back. You can easily learn more about your customers’ preferences and dislikes, what products they use regularly, and much more with the detailed reporting in the system.

Track Your Stock

As a salon, you have a lot of inventory that needs to be tracked accurately, all the time. You have retail products offered to your customers, from shampoo to styling gel to hair dryers and more. However, you also have a broad range of products that are used to provide services. Running low or running out entirely could be disastrous. With an advanced point-of-sale system, you can easily track your inventory and see at a glance what needs to be reordered, what doesn’t need to be restocked, what sells the fastest, and a great deal more. It makes it much simpler to keep your business up and running, and your customers satisfied.

Time Blocking for Better Employee Management

While it’s important that you give your customers a simpler way to book appointments, you also need to do the same thing for your employees. With advanced time blocking features, you can easily schedule your employees, handle time off for vacations, outline who’s going to break and when, and much more. It should also integrate with your appointment setting feature, so that when a customer specifies a certain stylist, that appointment is automatically added to that stylist’s schedule.

Toggle between Features

Chances are good you have to do a lot of things at once. You might be ringing out a customer, who is paying not only for their service, but also purchasing a haircare product, and scheduling their next appointment at the same time. The right point-of-sale software allows you to easily toggle back and forth between screens with the touch of a button so you can provide your customer with a faster, more seamless experience without any unnecessary hassles on your end.

When everything is said and done, the right point-of-sale software for a salon should make life easier for you, your stylists and your customers. It should enhance the flow of business, and make growth possible.

Choosing a Point-of-Sale System in a Health Club

Your business is all about helping your members improve their health and remake their bodies. All of your offerings are tailored to those goals, from the fitness equipment in your club to the yoga and Pilates classes you offer. With all that you need to do to help your members reach their goals, it leaves little time to worry about the other elements of running your business. A feature-rich point-of-sale system for a health clubs can help immensely here, but what features should you see in a worthwhile solution?

Recurring Billing

Subscription management and recurring billing management is probably one of the most important features you require for this type of business. This will allow staff to bill individual customers or groups of customers automatically, send automatic email receipts, validate credit cards and more. In the event of a failed payment, the system will automatically notify customers so they can take the appropriate action.

Manage Your Employees

From front desk staff to personal trainers, you need manage your employees on a daily basis. You need to take care of scheduling, vacation tracking, performance review and more. The right POS system can offer the ability to manage all of your employee relations needs from a single location. 

Manage Your Customer Relationships

As a health club, you have a more intimate relationship with your members than many other businesses have with their customers, clients or guests. You know their goals. You know their struggles and their challenges. Chances are good that your instructors know a bit about their personal lives as well. Use that information to help manage your relationship with each customer, tailoring their experience to any degree necessary. You can also use this information to create evocative, effective marketing opportunities, right from your POS system.

Scheduling on the Go

While some of your members might be on a “come as you want” basis, that’s not the case for all of them. By giving your members the means to schedule appointments on the go from their mobile devices, you not only ensure that they are able to reserve their place in the class they want, but you make it more likely that they’ll make an appointment in the first place. The fewer steps required for your members, the more likely they are to follow through.

Manage Inventory Easily

While you don’t have the same needs in terms of inventory management as a restaurant or grocery store, you do have a lot that must be kept up with. You have add-on purchases – t-shirts, branded towels, sportswear and the like. You also have supplies for your showers, cleaning supplies, and equipment that must be tracked. Keeping up with it can be a very real challenge, but with the right point-of-sale system, it’s a simple process that can be managed from just one screen.

Accounting Woes Put to Rest

Finally, make sure that the POS system you’re considering integrates perfectly with your accounting solution. This provides a number of benefits. All of your business financials can be automatically added to the accounting software, which eliminates a lot of time and cost. It also helps to ensure better accuracy in your financial information and reporting.

Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for a Stadium

Stadiums are more than just venues for sporting events and ceremonies. They’re moneymaking ventures that, when properly managed, can be incredibly lucrative. However, you need the right tools to ensure that you’re able to maximise efficiency and profitability. The most important thing to ensure is that you have the right stadium point-of-sale system. If you’re not entirely sure which platform is the right choice, a few important tips can help guide your decision.

Multiple Location Integration

Stadiums have unique requirements when it comes to point-of-sales systems. You have quite a few different locations within the same site that need facilities for serving a large number of customers quickly. Services would typically include ticketing, food and souvenirs. The right POS will offer seamless tight integration from each location into a central system with intelligent reporting to ensure that all data is captured, integrated, and then organised correctly. 

Scoreboard Integration

Your scoreboard is one of the single, largest marketing tools at your disposal. It allows you to get your message out to every single person in the stadium at the same time, using bold colours and bright lights. However, programming your scoreboard can be difficult. The right point-of-sale system can actually make it much simpler – you can actually program what’s displayed on the scoreboard at any time from your POS, using a mobile device, or a PC. Direct scoreboard management from a central interface clearly offers powerful advantages. 

Always On Mode

Wi-Fi and even cell signal can be problematic within stadiums. Not only do you have complications that stem from physical obstructions, like thick concrete and steel construction, but you also have the issue of overloaded systems. The more people in one place attempting to use a network, the slower the network will run. That’s problematic for your business. However, the right POS system can actually offer an “always on” mode that ensures you’re still up and running even if you lose Internet connectivity. 

Order from the Seats

When your customers want to order a meal or a beverage, they have to get out of their seats, walk to the nearest vending location, and then wait to be served. While they’re waiting, they may miss out on the action. You can give them a better experience by offering mobile ordering through an advanced POS system for stadiums and arenas. Your customers can order what they want right from their mobile phone or tablet, without having to stand in line and miss out on what they came to experience. You can imagine just how big a hit that would be, fostering a better guest experience and customer loyalty.

Integration with Your Accounting Software

At the end of the day, you’re left with mountains of information that has to be manually entered into your accounting software. That’s not only tedious, but it’s costly. The right POS system can actually integrate directly with your accounting software to ensure that you don’t have to worry about all that rich data you have acquired.

Chosing a Point-of-Sale System for a Coffee Shop

Coffee shops have become incredibly popular today. They’re meeting places for friends and family members. They’re the ideal location for a business lunch. They’re also an interesting mixture in terms of business features – they combine both retail and hospitality sales. When coupled with the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the business, it makes things more than a little complicated. There’s good news here, though. The right point-of-sale system for your coffee shop can provide dramatic benefits, saving you time and money, while boosting sales and fostering better customer retention. What should you look for in a POS, though?

Employee Management

No matter how large or small your coffee shop might be, you’re going to have employees, and that means you need to be able to manage them. From your sandwich counter staff to your baristas, you need to ensure that your scheduling is effective and that it ties in with your sales system. The right POS can provide direct integration of your employee scheduling, and it can be done from a desktop computer, or from a mobile device. You can even give your staff the ability to accept or reject shifts from their smartphones. There are POS solutions that come with all the bells and whistles of staff management right out of the box.

Customer Relationship Management

While you’ll have a lot of one-time customers, you’ll need a base of repeat customers to establish a successful business. You need to get to know those customers, including their preferences, their dislikes and more. The right POS system can actually help you by providing advanced customer relationship management tools. Learn more about what your customers like and don’t like, provide them with the ability to order their “usual” without any hassle and more. This fosters not only a stronger relationship with each customer, but also ensures a better overall experience. There should even be a built-in loyalty program that can be used to reward those customers who do so much to support your coffee shop.

Inventory Management

You have a lot to keep track of in your business. You need to track coffee (a wide range of roasts and blends), as well as cups, lids, stir straws, creamer, toppings and more. And all that is just on the coffee side. If you offer edibles, things become even more complex. You need a way to track your inventory levels to know what’s selling, what’s not, when to order more, and just how much of what you have on hand at all times. That’s actually simple with the right point-of-sale system. It should be capable of tracking all of your inventory, from stir straws to flour, and everything in between. You should be able to set up ordering and reordering from any device, as well, including from your smartphone.

Business Performance Metrics

Having a busy week doesn’t actually mean that your business is making money. You need to be able to drill down into your sales data, your costs and losses, your payroll and other financial information to determine just where your business stands. Based on this information, you can decide what’s needed to move forward and thrive. The right point-of-sale system should give you instant access to this essential information. What’s more, it should do so in a visual way. Rather than inundating you with lists of numbers, your business data is translated into charts and graphs to give you the information you need at a glance.

With the right coffee shop point-of-sale system, you can reward loyal customers, manage your employees, and grow your business in new ways. Make sure your system is tailored to your specific industry and address the complexities that are so unique to coffee shops.

Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for a Professional Services Business

Professional services providers are essential to both consumers and businesses. Whether you’re a general contractor, plumber or electrician or in another professional sector, the skills, knowledge and experience you provide ensure that your customers get the results they want. Of course, it’s also important that you have the right point-of-sales system which has been designed with your business sector in mind.

This can be more complicated than it sounds. Professional services providers often work remotely, either on their own or with a team. Your business might even have more than one team in the field at a time, serving your customers at their homes and businesses. The good news is that there are POS solutions that can work very well for your specific needs, but you’ll have to make sure the solution you choose has plenty of room for growth.

Mobile Payments

The days when you had to manually process credit cards, or take cheques and hope that they’d clear the bank are gone for good. The right POS system for professional services should offer you the ability to accept payments on the go from your mobile device. Just use your smartphone or tablet to accept credit cards and have the funds routed directly to your bank account. You can even print a receipt while you're out and about, which means no more laborious tedious handwritten paperwork.

Appointment Scheduling

When your customers need you, what do they do? Do they call your mobile phone or office number? If so, you then have to write down their name, number and address, as well as the nature of the job. That’s a lot of effort, and it’s all too easy for the information to be lost. With a modern POS system, you can actually provide your customers with automated appointment scheduling. They can visit your website, enter their information, and it’s sent right to your POS device - tablet or mobile.

Quotation and Invoicing

You can easily send quotations and estimates to customers and turn the quotations to invoices which customer can easily pay online. You can manage all this right on your mobile device.

Accounting Integration

You need a way to get all of your work information into your accounting system, and that can mean long hours spent at the computer keyboard manually entering financial information. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can find a point-of-sale system that integrates directly with your accounting software, eliminating those frustrating hours of data entry and ensuring better accuracy at the same time.

Choosing the Right Point-of-Sale System for a Retail Business

You spend a lot of time and money on marketing to get customers into your retail store. Once they’re there, your staff takes care of them, walking them through the features and benefits of various products to find the right one for their specific needs. Finally, it’s time to pay and leave, but if your store doesn't have the right point-of-sale system, this could break your customer’s experience.

The right system, on the other hand, can streamline the entire process, ensure a positive customer experience, and encourage them to come back. What features should you look for in a point-of-sale system for a retail business? While there are plenty of options out there, some of the most important features include the following.

Management

Traditionally, managing your retail store required that you not only be at the store in person, but that you be located in the back room or office with access to the primary PC for the company. That’s no longer the case. Cloud technology now makes it possible to manage your entire operation from almost anywhere. As long as you have a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.), and access to the Internet, it’s super simple to track payroll, check inventory levels, place orders for new stock and more.

Sales from Devices

Once upon a time, customers were forced to stand in line to pay for their merchandise at a physical register. That made sense at one point, when most transactions were in cash. Today, though, the majority of customers use a credit or debit card. Couple this trend with the availability of mobile technology and you have an innovative solution that saves your customers time, offers greater convenience and leaves them with a positive impression of your business. Mobile devices can process payments quickly and easily. Your employees can use an iPad to process orders, and your customers can order right from their smartphones.

Inventory Management

One crucial aspect of running a successful retail store is being able to accurately manage your inventory. You need to know how many of each product you have on the floor and in the stock room, and track sales in real time so that you can order more of your most popular products. This also lets you scale back on ordering less popular products to keep the optimum inventory levels. The right retail POS system lets you do just that, all from a single interface.

Financial and Performance Information

Your retail point-of-sale system shouldn’t be limited to just payment processing. It should integrate completely with other data needed to ensure that you have a complete view of your business’ performance. You need access to multiple sales channels, product information, P&L statements, sales over time and a great deal more. The right system will integrate all this information into a quick view window, providing you with detailed, even granular results that provide dramatic insight to drive business growth and success.

Do More for Your Customers

Amazon is a great example in many areas, but the online titan’s ability to recommend products to customers based on past purchase history and browsing habits is second to none. The right POS system can give your retail business the same capabilities. This offers a number of benefits – your staff can suggest accurate add-on purchases to build profitability while better satisfying your customers’ needs and can even use available information to create targeted marketing campaigns.

Choosing the Right Point-of-Sale System for a Restaurant

Whether you operate a chic downtown restaurant, or you’re part of the farm to table movement, you have special needs when it comes to the systems and solutions. This is particularly true of your point-of-sale system. Restaurants have a very unique set of requirements when it comes to a POS system.

Break Out of the Old Mold

Once upon a time, you had two clear choices. Your diners could stand in line to pay for their meal at a fixed register, or your waiters could take the guest’s payment and process it. Neither is particularly streamlined, and both are evidently labor intensive and time consuming.

With the first example, your guests were forced to sometimes stand in very long queues after their meal, when they’d rather be conversing with family and friends, or getting on with their life. This approach also breaks the customer cycle, leading to a fragmented experience.

If you opted to have your waiters handle the payments, then you forced your guests to wait longer. Basically, the waiter had to bring the bill to the table, the customer had to decide how to pay, and then tender payment. The waiter had to come back to the table to pick up the card or cash, and then go to a fixed register to process everything. Then, he or she would have to return with the change or the credit card slip for the customer to sign off. It's tedious and time consuming.

There Are Better Options

With the advent of mobile technology, new point-of-sale solutions for restaurants have arisen. There’s no need to put your customers or your staff through such a drawn out, frustrating process described above.

The right point-of-sale system can offer a number of benefits, but you’ll need to know what to look for in an ideal option for your business. Here are just a few of the capabilities you can consider:

Tableside Ordering: While some national chains have rolled out an tableside ordering coupled with traditional waiters, most haven’t. However, this is something that should be considered. for instance, your guests can order from a custom menu right at their table, with the order sent to the kitchen tagged with the time and the table number. All your waiters have to do is serve.

Preference Tracking: Loyal customers are your bread and butter. It makes sense that you should be able to track their preferences when it comes to meal types, unacceptable foods (vegetarian or vegan eating preferences, for instance), drink types, dessert preferences and more. The right POS system can help here by giving you significant insight into each returning customer’s habits and preferences.

Online Ordering: What if your customers want to enjoy your fare, but don’t have the time to actually sit in the restaurant? Online ordering is the answer, but it can be complicated and costly to build a custom solution that integrates with your POS system. ideally, the right POS system for restaurants should come with online ordering capabilities out of the box.

Splitting and Transferring: Restaurant customers can sometimes have complex needs when it comes to payment. Perhaps it’s a large group and the bill needs to be split multiple ways, or perhaps guests need to be transferred from one table to another. The right point-of-sale system not only helps here, but ensures the utmost accuracy, which guarantees a better customer experience and encourages them to return.

What is RAM Scraping - Could Your Business Be a Target?

With the rash of point of sale (POS) data breaches over the past few years, everyone from major retailers down to small businesses has become more aware of the potential for malware attacks, and the need for better security. What you might not realise, though, is that these sorts of attacks are nothing new – RAM scraping, or memory scraping, has been in existence since at least 2008, and it’s not likely to go away any time soon. So, why is it so prevalent? Because it works.

Training Your Staff to Recognize and Prevent POS Terminal Tampering

How do you suppose the bad guys get to your point of sale (POS) terminal to tamper with it? It’s simple. They get past your staff.

A lot of POS tampering happens online, but there are still enterprising criminals who actually go to your place of business and physically tamper with your equipment. That little box sitting next to your cash register is vulnerable, and criminals are going to pick the easiest target.