Are you launching a small business? A taco truck? A farmer’s market stall? No matter how large or how tiny, any business that sells to customers needs a POS system.
A POS system — that’s for “Point of Sale,” a term labelling the moment a customer pays for their items — is designed to help a store track their sales and their inventory. But it does way more, from helping employees manage their hours to letting managers run store-wide special offers and sales.
Here, we break down the three big benefits that make a POS utterly indispensable.
The main goal: sales and Iiventory
A POS has one main reason for existing. It gives stores an easy way to track all their sales and effortlessly figure out how much revenue they’ve made and how many items are left in their inventory. This lets managers stay on top of the most important day-to-day details.
Thanks to automated notifications, a POS system can let managers know when to re-order products that they’re running low on. A restaurant-specific POS can even track individual ingredients.
In an analog era, tracking sales and inventory required a physical cash register and a ton of paperwork. Today, a POS system can be as simple as an iPad, a credit card reader, and the right software program.
The biggest benefit: better infrastructure
The real reason to get a POS is to improve the entire infrastructure that lets you run your business.
You’ll have historical data on past months or years of sales and inventory. This lets managers figure out which products sell the best or what times of the day are busiest. By making data-driven decisions, a manager can improve their ROI across the entire store.
Employee tracking is another huge boon to a POS: The software can register when employees clock in or out, and how many sales each one makes. Managers will have peace of mind that a store is opening and closing on time even when they’re not around, and they’ll be able to reward the highest performing employees. Internal communication is also easier, thanks to the two-way messaging services built into most POS systems.
The best POS systems also include marketing features. They’ll collect customers’ email addresses when sending a digital receipt, and, as long as customers give their consent, that list of email addresses can be used to send out promos to encourage repeat purchases.
It’s all these infrastructure benefits that make a POS so essential to a small business. It’s a centralized location that lets a manager stay on top of their sales, inventory, employees, and the future of their operation, with notifications to automate as many processes as possible. And since most POSs support mobile, a manager can do it all from home or on the go.
The bonus features: gift cards, billing, and more
A POS system also throws in plenty of additional perks beyond the essentials. The exact features will depend on the POS brand, but we’ll list a few common ones here.
Support for customer loyalty plans lets any store establish the same type of loyalty program you’d see at Starbucks or Safeway. Once they’ve signed up, customers can give their number or hand over a swipeable card in order to get an automatic discount, through the POS software, for their loyalty. Similarly, support for gift cards gives stores another option when it comes to attracting customers.
Support for third-party plugins opens up even more possibilities. Managers might be able to connect their POS interface with another service they already rely on, from a service that helps them track taxes to one that handles billing information.
The point of POS
Ultimately, a POS is a single solution to streamline all a modern business’s essential tasks. Once you settle on the best POS system for you, you’ll have a powerful tool to help unleash your business’s potential — sales, inventory, employees, and marketing can all be handled with ease.