An overwhelming number of point-of-sale options are available for small and medium businesses, making it difficult to know where to start when researching new point-of-sale solutions. Options include full POS services, online versions, mobile services, retail POS solutions, restaurant POS systems or customized services. Below are some suggested point-of-sale solution types for popular businesses such as small coffee shops, busy retailors and full-serve restaurants. There are also options for businesses that require minimal startup costs.
Here are a few options for common business profiles:
Mobile or Freelance
If you work for yourself or need to process sales remotely, such as at a farmers market or in your client’s office, then an iPad or mobile POS system may be a good option. These solutions simply require a Wi-Fi or mobile connection to process payments. They offer credit card processing and a card reader. These solutions also manage customer contact information and simple inventory.
If you own a small retail store you may be satisfied with a simple iPad or Android solution, but you will most likely still require a “back office” computer. You may also be content with an all-in-one POS system that comes with software and required hardware. All-in-one solutions also manage your data storage needs. Most will also connect to your back-office computer if needed. Some services provide remote connections so you can monitor your store and employees when you are away.
If you run a busy retail store, you will want to consult with a retail POS consultant about the best configuration to suit your needs. You may require a few full POS systems, barcode readers, customer displays, cash drawers and perhaps even handheld inventory control devices. If you sell items by weight, you may need a point-of-sale scale. Most retail POS software has tools for managing sales, inventory, employees and customers. Some systems also provide marketing tools or a company webpage.
If you own or are looking to run a small café, coffee shop or limited-menu restaurant, you may be able to operate sufficiently using an electronic cash register, iPad POS service, online POS service or Android POS service. These solutions do not require a lot of startup capital and can manage simple menus, limited inventory, sales and a few employees.
If you run a demanding restaurant, you will want to consult with a restaurant POS consultant about what might work best for you. In most cases you will want one or more full POS systems, handheld devices for your servers, and a kitchen printer or monitor. You may also require an age verifier if you serve alcohol. These systems come with the necessary software to manage your menu items, inventory, customers, table service and employees. Many also offer the ability to process customer loyalty and gift cards. Some of the more modern systems enable your customers to place orders online.
Minimal Startup Costs
For those without minimal startup funds, some companies offer POS systems with a credit card processing agreement. However, you will want to ensure that the terms are agreeable to you. The agreement may be for three years or more. In most cases you will be paying the processing fee plus a service charge. But the upfront costs are minimal, usually just shipping costs. Another option if you do not have liquid startup capital is an online POS service. Using an online option, you may be able to use the hardware you already own for a low monthly subscription fee.
There are many affordable POS options available for all types of businesses. In the past, cash registers were the only option for small businesses with limited revenue. However, nowadays even freelance contract workers can afford mobile payment processing and small restaurants can easily manage orders using an iPad. High-end POS systems that can manage multiple locations, remote reporting, inventory reordering and payroll processing are also available. Your POS service representative will be able to help you create the right solution to suit your specific requirements.