Brick-and-mortar retailers are always on the lookout for measures that save a few dollars. As tight as margins are, considering major changes to the way your point of sale (POS) system works could help streamline your sales. If you’re using a traditional, in-store POS, you might want to consider switching to an online version.
What does that mean? Since so many more businesses have online components, not just for sales but for marketing as well, having an online POS system can save you a significant amount of money versus a traditional POS system.
The thing about online POS systems is that there are so many of them out there. These vary greatly in price and quality, from free and simple to incredibly robust and expensive, and everything in between. Most will offer you a simple interface, reporting on sales, and inventory management all in one package. Some will even offer the ability to integrate with social networking and get your online profile up on top of Google’s lists.
Start with one system and conduct your research from there. For instance, ZingCheckout gives you a standard POS interface with smooth functionality and all the usual abilities – manual entry, bar code scans, cash/credit/split payment options, the works. But one thing your ‘standard’ POS system cannot do is generate easy-to-read on-the-spot reports for your products over a time frame you define. You can also generate digital receipts that can be e-mailed to your customer, a trend on the rise with larger retail outlets. ZingCheckout will run you $49 a month per location.
You can even look into a mobile POS if you’d like; these systems involve a barcode scanner/credit card swiper and a belt-hooked receipt printer. These can also be used to do inventory scans and customer service, to locate what’s in stock and where in the store it should be.
So what happens if your Internet connection goes down? On standard POS systems, your monitor could die, your computer could go down, and so on. Consider too that the reliability of the Internet is usually on the rise as services expand. If your area has reliable connectivity, and your Internet Service Provider has good customer service, this shouldn’t be much of a worry. Additionally, online POS systems usually offer some kind of back-up.
Also, unless you choose to go the mobile POS route or want extra hardware bells and whistles (such as bar code scanners if you don’t have them), with a system like ZingCheckout you only need a computer and Internet connection; you can usually download software within minutes and start using it immediately if it’s free.
Of course, the ‘free’ services don’t offer nearly the benefits that the paid ones do. Most will offer a free and a paid service, with the free service acting as sort of a ‘try before you buy’ system; ZingCheckout does this, so there’s not much risk involved with giving it a shot and seeing what it can do to help your bottom line.