If you’ve stepped into a retail store in recent years, you’ll have likely noticed the increase in technology. For retailers across the shopping industry, the use of POS systems has helped speed up customer services and provide a more inclusive experience.
According to one study, 80% of Americans say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service all play a crucial part in their customer experience. As a small retailer, you haven’t got the same reputation or years of experience in the industry.
That means you need to prioritize your quality of service in customer experience to help gain that all-important loyalty and trust.
Why are POS systems so effective for retailers? What benefits do they provide your small retail business? In this guide, we’ll explore the world of POS systems, what to look for in such a system, and some of the best options on the market currently.
By the end of this guide, you should be ready to take those next steps into upgrading your point-of-sale systems for the benefit of your customer experiences.
What is a POS system
A POS system or otherwise commonly known as a point-of-sale system is operated by your employees and used to check out your customers’ baskets. However, POS systems do more than just process payments.
Cash registers are a type of POS system and are used across many retail businesses. However, since the growth of technology, these point-of-sale systems have become more advanced. There are a lot more duties you are able to fulfill on a POS system beyond just taking payment from a customer.
POS systems work for all different types of retailers, whether your business operates online, in-store, or a mixture of both. It’s also very handy for retailers who own multiple business venues and needs a central system to tie them all together.
Benefits of POS hardware systems for retailers
Why bother updating your cash register as a small retailer? There are plenty of benefits that come with using POS hardware systems for retailers beyond just taking payments and tracking sales. Here are some of the pros to investing in a point-of-sale hardware system.
Track inventory across multiple outlets
One of the great benefits of POS hardware systems is that they help track inventory beyond just one venue. Even as a small retailer, you may have a number of sites that need overseeing. There’s nothing more damaging to customer service than running out of stock and not having the desired products available for sale.
Take your business anywhere with cloud-based POS systems
The cloud has become a real game-changer for many business industries that need more flexibility when it comes to remote working. Most POS systems are cloud-based, meaning the systems is accessible from wherever and whenever needed.
No need to head in-store to get access to sales reports or to track customer data, it’s all done from the comfort of a mobile phone or computer.
Real-time sales reports and analytics
The use of POS systems is great for their sales reporting and real-time analytics. Within retail, the industry is fast-paced and requires smart decision-making to help avoid stock wastage and maximize a company’s sales.
With real-time sales reports and analytics, your teams or managers responsible for inventory and business operations in general are able to make better informed decisions. For a small business, that’s critical for the development of its success.
Improve customer experience
With POS systems, it helps better the customer experience in a variety of ways. It stores customer data so that retailers are able to introduce relevant bonus and customer reward schemes where appropriate.
It helps speed up returns and refund processes, as well as customers have the ability to use self-service kiosks to find products themselves in-store.
Better security for company and customer data
The threat to customer data and company data is ever-present. In March 2023, 41.9 million records were compromised by cyberattacks across the world, according to IT Governance.
POS hardware systems allow you to control who has access to the customer data held within this software. As well as it being on the cloud, which provides additional security, being in control of which employees have access to what data is highly beneficial.
5 best POS systems for small retailers
There are an abundance of POS systems in operation nowadays which does make it challenging when picking the right option for your business needs. However, if you’re looking to whittle down the choices, we’ve put together five of the best POS systems specifically designed for small retailers.
Lightspeed is one of the best for POS systems, offering tailored hardware software that caters to all retail industries. As a comprehensive system, it offers a range of monthly subscriptions to suit every company’s budget needs.
The hardware company provides all the necessary kit required and is customizable for every business that chooses this service. With 24/7 support and over 250 integrations with other software, it’s a central hub that will transform your small retail business overnight. It’s a POS system that’s mostly suited for retailers and hospitality venues.
A firm favorite for many small businesses and perhaps one of the most recognizable to the general public is Zettle. Mainly known for its card readers, it’s a software that’s fuss-free and easy to set up.
Designed for small start-ups, solo business owners, and small businesses, Zettle offers affordable pricing and is ideal for regular reporting and analytics. It manages staff hours and forecasts sales. However, there’s no CRM function with Zettle so when it comes to improving customer loyalty and increasing sales, there are some restrictions.
However, for many small business operations, it’s a basic POS system that most will get full use of when managing stock and enabling transactions seamlessly.
As far as POS systems go, Square has a long list of core features that make this a great option for small retailers. Perks include payment and processing, payment protection, and seamless integration for e-Commerce businesses.
If your company is a hybrid mix of online and in-store, then Square is a useful hardware and software to manage both operations in one central system. Intuitive to use, onboarding your new employees or existing employees onto this system is simple. Square is useful for scalable growth as an unlimited number of users are able to be added to the software.
When running a small business, expense is everything. With eHopper, the benefit of using this hardware is that it’s relatively inexpensive. It also offers everything a business owner could need to run their company in a modern-day, retail environment.
Featuring built-in inventory management and low-cost plans, it’s useful for most who are just starting out in the retail industry. As a company that’s been kicking around for fifteen years now, it’s built up quite the reputation.
Benefits of using this POS system include reporting and customer management. The different payment plans, including a free version of the system, make this a worthwhile choice for many.
For small retailers, Vend is one that belongs on this list. A simple interface, it’s compatible with many equipment types and offers an abundance of features designed for the retail industry. Whether that’s real-time inventory management to unlimited products and employee profiles, it’s a system that is able to scale up with your company’s growth.
Other features include customizable receipts, cash management, personalized reports, and a mobile dashboard. All plans provided by Vend include integrated payments, API access, the POS hardware itself, and 24/7 support. Integrations are also one of the great benefits of the system, which include QuickBooks, WooCommerce, Shopify, and Mailchimp to name but a few.
What to look for in a POS system
If you’re new to POS systems, then picking a system is challenging. What should you be looking for in your point-of-sale system? As a generous bonus to this guide, we’ve got a few top tips on what to look for in these hardware systems.
- Look for scalable POS systems
- Personalization for customer experiences
- Syncing for online and in-store retailers
- Integration with a multitude of software
- Real-time reporting and analysis
- Detailed inventory management
- Employee management and tracking
Scalable POS systems are going to be ideal for those small retail businesses that have big goals and ambitions for their growth. Being able to personalize your customer’s experience will encourage them to come back. After all, the proof is in the pudding with 80% of consumers more likely to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience.
When shopping for the right POS system, make sure to consider these tips when comparing software.
Invest in POS systems for your small retail business in 2023
If you choose to invest in your business this year, make sure you’re updating your point-of-sales systems with high-tech and responsive hardware. The benefits of upgrading to a new POS system are endless and implementing it into your business could help smash your business goals for 2023.