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Your point-of-sale system is the backbone of your business, so deciding if, when, and how to switch your POS system can be daunting, especially after you’ve invested time and resources into it.
But if you’re considering a switch — whether it’s because you’ve outgrown your current POS system or it doesn’t offer the tools you need — then it may be time to evaluate other POS options. Here’s what you need to know about switching POS systems, from common reasons businesses make the switch to things to consider before you do.
Common reasons to switch your POS system
There are plenty of reasons that businesses decide it’s time to switch their POS systems, and those reasons often depend on the size of the business and their goals. Here are some of the most common instances for switching a POS:
Your POS system is causing problems.
A POS system that causes problems, holds up sales, or deters customers is an issue for any business. Whether it’s because your system isn’t reliable or isn’t easy for staff to learn and use, a POS system that doesn’t run smoothly and isn’t user-friendly can be a problem for your bottom line.
It’s also smart to consider whether your POS system is simplifying basic business operations — like running sales reports, tracking inventory, and managing orders — or if it’s actually adding time or complicating those processes.
Your POS system doesn’t connect all your sales channels.
As businesses evolve to meet customers where they are, most prioritize being able to sell across multiple channels. Whether you’re selling in person, online, on social channels, or even over the phone, your POS system should connect every tool and platform that you use to sell, keep track of your sales and orders, and give you a holistic look at sales across each channel you use.
You’re manually tracking inventory.
Manually tracking your inventory isn’t sustainable for business growth. Manual inventory management isn’t just a headache — it can cause errors and takes up valuable time that you or your staff could be devoting to other areas of the business. If you’re selling across multiple platforms, offering in-store pickup or delivery options, or have plans to scale, having a POS with an automatic inventory-tracking system is essential.
Your POS system doesn’t accept certain payments.
Customers expect options when it comes to paying, whether they’re in a store or checking out online. Besides cash and card, your POS system should allow a variety of ways for customers to pay — including digital wallet payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay, and contactless payment options like Tap to Pay on iPhone — which help improve the chances of making the sale.
As buy now, pay later increases in popularity among younger consumers, offering payment features like Afterpay in store can help your business connect with customers and increase their options for purchase. Square Future of Commerce data found that 33% of retailers currently offer buy now, pay later options, and 41% of Gen Z-aged retailers, in particular, plan to add buy now, pay later options to enhance the in-store experience.
Your POS doesn’t offer team management and marketing tools.
Your POS system is more than just a sales tool. The right POS system should allow you to manage your entire business and all necessary data from one place — including your team members and customers. Switching to a POS that allows you to manage your staff, set staff permissions, create schedules, and pay your employees helps streamline your workflow and frees up time, especially as you grow your team.
As you make sales, it’s also essential to track and leverage that data for marketing. A POS that offers built-in customer data and marketing tools — like a customer directory, loyalty programs, gift cards, and marketing messages — helps you understand customer spending habits to keep those customers coming back.
Your POS system no longer works for your business.
Even if you’ve relied on the same POS system for years, that POS system may no longer be the right fit for your business. In some cases, businesses grow and need more or better tools than what their current POS offers. In other cases, a legacy POS system is no longer offered — for example, Intuit discontinued its Quickbooks Desktop POS after more than 20 years of service.
Things to consider when you switch your POS system
Once you’ve decided it’s time to switch your POS system, there are several factors to keep in mind as you explore new options:
- Cost: The cost of a POS system can vary depending on POS software costs, payment processing fees, and the cost of additional hardware. Look for a POS solution that’s free to get started and offers all the tools you need at a low monthly subscription cost.
- Features: It’s smart to invest in a POS system that will grow with your business. Ensure the POS system you select offers omnichannel capabilities so you can sell and manage inventory across multiple channels and reach customers where they’re already shopping. It’s also important that the POS tools align with your business needs — whether you’re growing your team, building stronger customer relationships, or focusing on online growth, make sure the POS you choose offers the tools to enhance your business.
- Ease of use: Selecting a POS system that is user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate will lessen the learning curve for you and your staff. This is especially important if you have multiple staff members using the POS in fast-paced environments — the easier the system is to use, the less room for error.
- Integrations: Consider the tools you’re already using — like invoicing, expense-tracking, or accounting — as well as features you may need to add as you grow. Make sure the POS you select can easily integrate with apps you already use and that there’s room to add hardware you might need in the future — like a portable POS or a register.
- Onboarding: Confirm that you can export data out of your old system — like inventory or customer lists — and import them into your new system. Working with a sales rep or a migration specialist during the onboarding process can help you understand how the features of your new POS system can add value to your operations. A specialist can also help you transition to your new system, walk you through the tools, and train your staff.
For a deeper dive on the right POS solution for each business type, read more about how to choose the best POS system for your business.
How to switch your POS system
After you’ve selected a new POS system and you’re ready to make the switch, keep these steps in mind for a smooth transition:
Organize your data.
Once you select a new POS, you’ll need to migrate your sales data, customer data, and inventory from your old POS system to your new one. This is a good time to clean up or organize your data, or at least to be clear on what’s essential to move to the new system and what can be left behind. It’s also a good time to review your backup process to mitigate any loss during the transition.
Map out a process.
It’s helpful to think through the switching process and how much time you anticipate it will take to switch to a new POS system. Your account manager or onboarding specialist for your new POS system should be able to assist you during the transition, providing helpful information on what data should be moved over to your new system first. For example, you may want to clean up your item list and import it over into your new system first, but wait to move your exact item quantities until you’re live in your new system.
Depending on the size of your business, you may need some documentation or project management tools to ensure all the right data is moved from your old system to the new one in accordance with your timelines. You can also work backwards from the date your contract ends with your old POS provider to schedule the transition and training needed.
Learn your new POS system.
Once you’ve moved your data to your new POS system, it’s time to learn your new system and get your staff comfortable using it. If you’ve selected an intuitive and user-friendly POS, the learning curve will be minimal, but you still want to ensure your team is confident with the tools. Consider scheduling a training and a run through before your set launch date to familiarize your staff with the new system.
If you can, it’s smart to keep your old POS active for a short period of time after you transition to the new system so you have full access to all of your past data.
Learn more about setting up a POS with Square: