Setting up a robust POS system is crucial to efficiently running and optimising your retail business. Far from just a cash register, your retail POS system is specialised software to connect the shop floor to the office. Let’s take a look at what a best-practice POS looks like, and how to set one up.
What is a POS system?
POS stands for ‘point-of-sale’, which is the interface for exchanging money between you and your customer – traditionally a cash register. The retail POS has evolved significantly to add value to your business. As well as accepting a multitude of payment types, POS systems today also run on software that gathers more customer data, has more detailed sales reporting, and staff and inventory management capabilities.
Modern POS systems should be seen as a tool to increase efficiency and provide you with more insight about your business operations.
Features to look out for in a POS for a retail business
Your business requirements
As well as sales and inventory analytics, there are many features available on retail point of sale systems. You can set up customer profiles and run customer loyalty programs through the system, if you’re looking to increase your number of returning customers, for instance. Getting clear about your must-haves and nice-to-haves will be useful when building a POS that works for your business.
Compatibility with accessories
What POS equipment do you need? Typically, a shop floor POS will include a cash drawer, a printer for receipts and a monitor to run your software. You’ll also need a card reader or terminal for taking card payments.
Square’s hardware store lets you choose the equipment you need, or purchase a full kit if you’re just starting out. You can add an iPad if you need a monitor, and add accessories like a barcode scanner and printer paper.
Retail software that suits your business
As well as making and keeping track of sales, creating customer profiles and adding employees and locations, here’s a list of capabilities that Square’s retail POS software especially has for both online and brick and mortar retail stores:
- Website builder so you can create a professional website easily without designers or developers
- eGift Cards so you can offer a dollar-value worth of your product as a gift
- Instagram integration to allow customers to make a purchase right from your Instagram page
- Automatic sync of all your in-store and online orders, items and inventory
- Barcode scanning that allows you to quickly sell products, and track inventory as it sells as well as when it gets delivered and checked in to the store
- Facilitation of exchanges and returns in a single transaction
- Sales reports by product and vendor so you can reorder what’s working for you
- Profit margin and cost of goods sold reports to see which types of sales are driving your revenue
- Employee roles with multi-level access and timesheet reporting
- Integrated payments so you can accept card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, gift card and more on the same system
And more! You can check out the full list to see all the features of Square’s retail POS.
Integrating your POS with your other systems
Linking up the systems you already have in place with your POS is essential to build a powerful POS. You can use Square’s POS integrations to plug into your current business operations set-up:
- Link to your accounting software, like Xero, and automatically import your sales, refunds, and transfers.
- Connect your online store like WooCommerce or Big Commerce
- Link your marketing efforts to your sales by integrating your customer email software, like Mailchimp
Other considerations to look out for
Set up costs
Depending on what equipment and software you have already, setting up your POS from scratch can be quite costly, but worthwhile to run your business efficiently now and as it grows. Be sure to customise your POS for your business needs.
Consider what device features you need with Square’s retail hardware comparison. You can then select the software plan to use on your new hardware. Pricing ranges with your requirements, from Free to Plus ($109 per month) to Premium (custom pricing based on your needs).
A POS that grows with your business
When building your POS, think about the future. How will your product range change or grow? Are you planning to open more locations? How many employees or managers will you be adding?
Make sure you set up your retail point of sale system to account for your scaling strategy, so your technology doesn’t hold you back from learning more about your customers, equipping your teams to communicate efficiently or reporting on and improving performance.
There are lots of retail POS systems on the market, and it’s vital to select the hardware items and software features you need to sell seamlessly to your customers, now and as you grow. To customise and build a POS that works for your retail business, you can set up easily with Square.