Written by Elizabeth Cranston | Posted on AllBusiness.com | Photo from Pixabay.com
When was the last time you updated your point-of-sale (POS) system? Four years ago? Seven years ago? 10 years ago? Do you even remember a time when you were able to refer to your POS software as being new?
If you can’t answer that last question, chances are pretty good that your POS software could use a good revamping. Even if you’ve updated your software within the last five years, you could still be missing out on some pretty groundbreaking technology.
But admitting your business could stand some streamlining is a far cry from justifying the time and money that inevitably goes into any major upgrade—especially one to your central means of sale. Business owners experience this kind of hesitation for a whole host of reasons, but sticking with a system that has been around long enough to have sold Fred Flintstone his foot-mobile may be causing more problems and costing you more than you realize.
If your POS system has fallen to the bottom of your priority list, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these eight signs that it’s time to treat your POS to a makeover.
1. Software is Slow, Buggy, and Complicated
The first—and most obvious—sign you need new POS software is that your current system is just, well, old!
If customers have to question whether their transaction is even going to go through, or if you’re working with an ancient system held together with dirt and Scotch tape, it’s time for an upgrade. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I constantly battling with a platform that freezes or blinks out every time I issue a gift receipt?
- How many times a week do I have to restart and reboot?
- Is training new employees a hassle because of how convoluted each task is?
User friendliness has become an industry standard among even the most feature-heavy systems. There are tons of ultra-simple, ultra-slick platforms out there; you shouldn’t continue pulling your hair out over old software. Customers will inevitably take note, so your system should instill confidence in your patrons and demonstrate the pride you take in your business.
2. Out-of-Date Hardware
Think of how often you replace technology in your personal life. Most people wait no longer than two years before they start itching for the latest smartphone. While you may not want to replace your POS hardware quite that often, the average setup is going to be outmoded after four to seven years.
Most new software isn’t compatible with older hardware anyway, and that’s not just because POS vendors want you to spend more money (though I’m sure that’s a part of it). The other reason is that older terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, etc. just can’t accommodate the level of functionality available these days.
For instance, many of the newer POS systems operate on sleek tablets that have better operating systems than their much bulkier, much more expensive predecessors. New hardware is visually appealing, space-saving, and convenient, allowing you to free up counter space even while giving your store or restaurant a little more style.
3. Outdated Features
Yes, at one point tracking your inventory digitally was cutting edge, but now it has become pretty standard. Depending on the level of functionality you’re working with, it may be time for you to step into the 21st century. For instance, think of how much time your average consumer spends on the internet. If you aren’t finding a way to connect with your customers online, a huge source of revenue is going untapped.
Here are some of the features you won’t find in older software:
- E-commerce features (online stores, online ordering)
- Social media integrations
- Digital receipts and kitchen order screens
- Mobile, real-time reporting
- Customer loyalty programs
- Email marketing campaigns
When it really comes down to it, if you aren’t offering these features, your competition will be. Think about that the next time you pass up on an upgrade.
4. Limited Integration Capabilities
Do you spend time exporting valuable business information as CSV files that then have to be imported into third-party programs like QuickBooks? Constantly jumping back and forth between multiple programs just to finish your daily paperwork isn’t doing you any favors. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take care of all your back office business within a single program? Well, you can!
Depending on your needs, there are POS systems out there with all the in-house features necessary to completely manage your business. Even if you need something outside the standard capabilities, most modern platforms offer integrations designed to supplement any areas your POS might not cover. Why work harder when you can reduce transferring errors and get all your work done in one place with a new system?
5. Outdated Payment Processing
If you haven’t jumped on the chip card bandwagon, it’s high time to do so. Not only is it a good idea to upgrade your payment processor to protect yourself from fraud liability, but the way we pay for things is also diversifying. More people are expecting to be able to use Apple Pay or Android Pay when they shop, and if your system doesn’t support NFC payments you will lose their business.
Another element of payment processing to consider is integrating your credit card reader. External credit card processors can slow transaction times and add extra steps to your reporting process. Most POS vendors have made it a point to integrate with a selection of merchant services providers, and some even offer in-house payment processing, making it easier than ever to nail down a competitive rate
6. Still Not Cloud-Based?
Most recently, cloud-based technology has become increasingly entrenched in the business sector. By the year 2020, a study by Emergent Research and Intuit Inc. estimates that more than 80 percent of businesses will be using cloud-based systems, which makes sense considering how the cloud has already invaded the consumer tech realm.
There are a swath of benefits to using a cloud-based system, but if you’re not totally convinced, some POS systems offer hybrid technology, which incorporates the best of both locally-installed and cloud-based platforms.
7. Too Expensive
One of the perks of the technological jump is the increased affordability of POS systems. Not only is the software generally cheaper and offered at a month-to-month rate (so you’re not locked into a contract), but you’re also not having to invest in costly hardware. And when I say “costly,” I don’t just mean in terms of the monetary sacrifice you make when purchasing huge terminals, servers, and backup servers. I’m also referring to the time, energy, and frustration that older, high-maintenance systems demand.
This is where cloud-based technology can really come in handy and keep more money in your wallet. Technical support is either free or significantly less expensive, updates are automatic, and trained professionals are monitoring and maintaining the servers housing your data so you don’t have to.
8. You’re Contributing to Global Warming
Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but let’s face it, the “going green” buzz words are all around us. Customers want to feel like they are leaving a smaller carbon footprint, and if your business offers them ways to do that they are more likely to return.
Find software that emails electronic receipts, invest in a mobile POS that you can take tableside or onto the sales floor, send orders wirelessly to a kitchen display instead of printing tickets. Take it a step further by going paperless and digitizing your books with online inventory management, marketing campaigns, payroll management, and accounting.
Not only will these measures help out the planet, they’ll also keep more green in your wallet and more hair on your head.
If you found yourself nodding along to any of the points in this article it’s probably time to consider an upgrade to your point of sale system. Whether you need new hardware, new software, or both, the system around which your entire business revolves is no place to skimp. To view original article, click here.
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