4 Critical Questions To Ask Before Purchasing a POS System

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1 4 Critical Questions To Ask Before Purchasing a POS System

2 4 Critical Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a POS System Point of sale (POS) systems are essential to smart, modern businesses. When used correctly and strategically, they allow restaurants and retail stores to stand out against their competition by allowing them to improve customer service, strengthen customer loyalty and increase their annual revenue. Not only will your new POS system provide business benefits, but your employees will use it for most of their tasks, and it will be the center of every interaction between your business and its customers. That s why it is imperative to ask the right questions before you buy. Many businesses make the mistake of getting too caught up in the cost. While price is a key consideration, much more soul-searching must be done before committing to a POS solution. To ensure you choose a POS system that is capable of supporting your business for years to come, consider the following questions: What are my business needs? Do I need POS peripherals, too? Does the 03 vendor meet my support requirements? How much should I spend? 04 1

3 01. What are my business needs? It is impossible to choose a POS system that will fulfill your restaurant or store s needs if you are unsure what those needs are. The importance of defining your business needs before committing to a purchase cannot be understated. Not to mention, defining your business needs is a great way to get started and narrow your list of options. Involve your employees First and foremost, involve your staff and managers in the decision-making process. After all, they will be using the equipment the most. Without your employees and managers on board, your install is likely to be followed by operational issues. Your staff could be reluctant to learn how to use the new hardware or software if they don t feel it s the best fit. Be sure to choose a vendor who can offer the appropriate training for your staff, too. Involving your employees in the purchasing process will also increase user adoption and reduce training time. To get a feel for your organizational needs, ask your employees and managers about the strengths and weaknesses of your restaurant or store, any trends they ve noticed or operational challenges they ve experienced. This will help you determine the following: What your dealbreakers are; what POS functionalities are critical to your business The amount of flexibility your POS system needs to accommodate your employees and customers Your employees definition of user-friendly; how intuitive your system should be How many terminals you will need to accommodate each area of your store or restaurant (think about front counters, take-out and delivery order stations, drive-thru windows and your back office) The security levels or features your business requires Narrow your search Create a differentiating criteria document to define your business needs. Think about what your business will need to improve or maintain your operations on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Think about what processes may be unique to your restaurant or store. This will keep you from overlooking any key requirements of your prospective POS system s performance and rule out any that don t meet the criteria. 2

4 02. Do I need POS peripherals, too? Your basic POS system should include a touch screen terminal, magnetic stripe reader, pole displays and receipt printer is there anything missing from the equation? As mentioned, to determine whether or not you need peripherals in addition to your basic POS system, it s a good idea to sit down with your employees or managers to clearly define what they need your new system to accomplish in your restaurant or store. This will depend on your menu offerings, retail selection or building architecture. Ask yourself and your employees: Do you need the ability to take orders or ring up customers on the sales floor? Do you need barcode scanners to track inventory or ingredients? Do you need to integrate with other third party systems like accounting software? Consider additional elements like: Kitchen display systems Automatically distribute orders to distinct ordering and preparation areas to improve communication between front of house and kitchen staff, as well as generate daily sales reports. Customer-facing displays and digital signage Advertise promotions to customers as they check out. Barcode scanners Scan retail items to check out customers quickly; scan and track items to increase inventory visibility, mitigate risk of employee theft and optimize the amount of merchandise or ingredients kept on-hand. Mobile POS Allow employees to harness all of the functionalities of a stationary POS system while walking around the sales floor to bust lines and increase sales. Purchasing additional equipment may sound expensive, but all of these POS peripherals can help you enhance the functionality of your system and improve the customer experience. Make sure you purchase your system and peripherals from the same vendor, because it is important for each piece to be compatible with one another, as well as your software. 3

5 03. Does the vendor meet my support requirements? In choosing a vendor, you want to establish a relationship that will last for the next five to 10 years. You should trust both your vendor and the POS system you are purchasing. It is important to carefully consider your necessary or ideal level of support and warranty offerings, especially for smaller businesses that are not as tech-savvy. Evaluate each POS system you are considering based on the level of IT support and training you will need. Also, if you are unable to purchase a back-up unit up front, it would behoove you to find out if there are additional hardware warranty coverage options that may suit your business. This could help minimize downtime should a unit malfunction and need to be returned to the factory for repairs. Choose carefully Make sure your prospective vendor takes the time to understand your business needs and ensure access to IT support, extensive employee training, upgrades and repairs through a team of experts. To get you back up and running with minimal disruption to your workflow, they should: Answer your support requests promptly Provide clear and concise diagnoses Allow access to online references and materials Offer a warranty of at least three years or more Begin a relationship To get as much value out of your investment as possible, look to purchase all of your POS hardware (and software) from the same vendor or manufacturer. That way, you can establish one point of contact for all of your POS needs, allowing you to form a relationship built on trust and loyalty. Also, your one-stop shop supplier is stable. Look for a vendor who is willing to supply references and be commited to your success for the duration of your system s life. 4

6 04. How much should I spend? Price should not be your primary concern when choosing a POS system. It s more important to choose a POS system that meets your business needs and fits your business culture, because the right system will eventually pay itself off through decreased inventory and labor costs and increased sales revenue. An inexpensive system with low upfront costs may seem like a smart decision at first, but you may find out that it lacks the functionality and scalability to grow with your business and end up upgrading sooner than you thought. Seek a system that is built to last and continue to provide value over the next five to 10 years or more. With that in mind, each business budgets for a POS system differently. Experts recommend two methods: 1. Base your price range on a percentage of your sales, usually somewhere between 0.5% and 3%. 2. Determine your budget based on a chunk of your annual revenue. Depending on your business size, this amount could range anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. Additional advice: Never, ever buy a used POS system! There is probably a very valid reason that its previous owner no longer uses it. Not to mention, a used system most likely will not last as long as a brand new one. Remember, used systems still require installation, training and support. The amount of savings on the initial purchase of a used system can easily be lost to increased servicing. When it comes to POS systems, your selection is everything. A hasty decision could leave you stuck with an underperforming system for the next few years, which could really take a toll on your business. Take the time to carefully consider each vendor and choose one that fulfills the needs of your customers and employees, as well as provides an opportunity to grow with your business. 4

7 About Bematech For two decades Bematech has been a pioneer in producing solutions that redefine consumer experience at the point-of-sale, enhancing restaurateurs and retailers businesses. The company offers a broad portfolio of integrated solutions equipment, management systems, services and training and specializes in serving small and mid-sized businesses through a wide distribution network that covers over 415,000 points of sale in 37 countries. The company operates four R&D excellence centers, with over 1,500 professionals in Brazil, China, Taiwan, USA and Argentina. For additional information, visit Contact Us Bematech US 999 S. Oyster Bay Road Building 104 Bethpage, NY Phone: Facebook: /bematechintl

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