Use these retail POS system reviews to learn more about the industry’s best companies.
Choosing the right retail POS system for your store is one of the most important things you can ever do. These retail POS system reviews give you essential tips on how to get started and helpful info on the best systems out there so you can make the right choice for your shop.
Want to avoid a few (or for that matter, thousands) of headaches in your retail store? Be sure to choose the right point of sale (POS) system.
Choosing the right POS system may give you a headache just thinking about it, but with proper research, a little bit of time, and a lot of planning, your choice in a POS system can make a huge difference in your store success as well as your personal well-being. After all, who likes headaches?
By following these five steps below, you will be on your way to identifying the right POS system for your store.
- Identify Your POS Needs
- Determine a Budget
- Research Existing POS Companies
- Evaluate Research Compared to Needs
- Select Your POS
Identify Your POS Needs
Jason Richelson, a former store owner who has since founded POS company ShopKeep, believes that understanding what you need from a POS system expands far beyond collecting payments. As a result, merchants must identify what their store needs are and how a POS system can best support their goals.
“The first thing a retailer should consider when selecting a POS for their store is to think of it as a marketing tool and not just a cash register. An excellent POS system provides you with tools that can identify and delight your customers which, in turn, will attract new customers and add to your bottom line. When used to its full advantage, a POS really acts more like a CRM (customer relationship management) system and can be crucial to providing high-level service,” shares Richelson, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for ShopKeep.
While having an expansive range of services provided through POS is ideal for many merchants, a core component will be how it manages inventory.
“In our experience, the most important thing for a retail store to consider when selecting a POS system is how well it purchases and tracks inventory. Modern retailers need to constantly be spot-on with the right mix of products that appeal to their loyal customers, and that means being fast and flexible with purchasing, pricing, and selling stock so nothing has a chance to get stale,” shares Brad Malmberg, Director of Sales Engineering and Training at Lightspeed POS.
Whether you want quick sell-thrus, fewer clearance items, cloud-based management or a strong customer relationship management system integrated into your POS, every detail matters. With these tips in mind and adding your own must-have details to your wish-list, create a checklist that can help you as you research and ultimately decide which POS company is right for you.
Determine a Budget
While some POS companies market things are “free,” you’re no dummy. Make sure you read the fine print among all the POS companies you are researching so that you better understand how much one POS company is versus another – as well as the value they deliver. This will also help clarify what exactly you are gaining with your investment – as well as weed out any companies that aren’t delivering a POS system you both need and want in a budget that makes sense for your store.
Another tip to remember when evaluating your budget is what costs may be added to your POS investment as your company grows and changes. Ideally you will form a long-term partnership with your POS provider, so consider not only what they can offer you now within your budget but also what they can offer you later as your business needs shift.
Research Existing Companies
Your initial research of companies will be forced to expand as you dive into realities, limitations and overall services provided by POS companies. But don’t let their marketing and sales tactics alone do all the talking. Lean on industry thought leaders and resources (like you’re doing now… good job) to help you gather another perspective on each company you are analyzing. Additionally, speak with like-minded merchants to hear their own thoughts on what POS companies may be right for you. You can even ask POS companies for references – though your own research will deliver more authentic opinions. The key is to get references, though, and to follow through with them in an effort to gain multiple perspectives.
Some questions you may consider asking during this process include:
- How often are new features added or existing features updated?
- Are any add-on products available to help enhance the POS system?
- How long has the POS company been in business?
- What percentage of their clients are in similar retail categories as you?
- Is support available online? Via phone?
- Is support included in your POS investment or an added fee?
- Is training available for both yourself and employees as needed?
- Does their system offer data that allows you to analyze sales? Customers? What else?
- How many customers are retained after one year?
- What separates them from other POS companies?
This is just a jumpstart into the many questions you can ask, with the key takeaway being to ask a lot. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to make your final POS decision.
Evaluate Research Compared to Needs
After the extensive research you have (hopefully) completed, your next step is to cross reference what you have discovered compared to what your needs are from a POS company. It’s likely you have unveiled some added perks that you may not have been aware of before – which is fantastic – but don’t lose sight of your core, necessary needs from a POS system.
At this point, you should be able to dismiss some of companies based on lack of services, budget or any other details that do not align with your store goals. This will help you create a short list of ideal POS companies, leading you to your final decision.
Another tip to consider comes from ShopKeep’s Richelson, who shares that, “when selecting a POS, a retailer should recall why they wanted to become a retailer in the first place.” Expanding on this, Richelson challenges you to consider “was it for the flexibility, the love of a great product, to interact with customers and employees, or all of the above? No matter the answer, a great POS system should automate all the pain points of running a business – giving you the freedom to focus on more important things and simply love being a retailer.”
Select Your POS
After reviewing all the POS companies available to your unique business, making the decision which is right for you should come fairly easy. Your next step? Getting your POS implemented and ready to support your retail business… because after all, it should be saving you time and headaches.
Retail POS System Reviews: A Snapshot
Here are some of the leading POS companies available to merchants – all of which are worth analyzing to identify what makes the most sense for you.
Lightspeed POS | LightspeedPOS.com: For over a decade, Lightspeed has been empowering retailers through their POS software. Designed to help you manage your store as effectively as possible, Lightspeed is accessible from any device, delivers integrated inventory management, customer management, on demand reporting, eCommerce and more.
PayPal Mobile Solutions | PayPal.com: If your business is on the go and constantly moving from place to place, PayPal may be the right choice for you. Send invoices from your smartphone, boost sales and reach on the customers. Most importantly, get paid securely, as well.
Shopify | Shopify.com: Whether you sell online, in person on mobile devices or via social media, Shopify has you covered. With one platform, you can do it all – and more. Commonly recognized as being an e-commerce platform, they also offer POS and other inventory management solutions to help online and offline merchants alike. Facebook also just added a News Feed ‘buy’ button for Shopify merchants.
ShopKeep | Shopkeep.com: If reporting and analytics are important to you, than Shopkeep is a POS company you won’t want to overlook. Their lightning-fast transactions and robust inventory management make running your store easy – with smart customer marketing options available as well.
Square | SquareUp.com: From credit card processing to point of sale tools to fast deposits and online invoicing, Square offers merchants a comprehensive point of sale system and more. Known for their easy to use, mobile processing “square” swipe, Square also delivers more management and reporting than many merchants realize.
Looking to gain more POS knowledge like this and fill your shop with the right high-margin inventory? Get your free ticket here to the next ASD Market Week in Las Vegas, a 4-day merchandise trade show and retail education conference in one!
Executives from Lightspeed and many others will be on hand to guide you through the process at the Independent Retail Conference, which also takes place inside ASD. It’s all free to attend!
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference (which takes place inside ASD Market Week), a columnist for Forbes, and publisher of online magazine Retail Minded.