It’s safe to assume that implementing a POS system is a less than favorable pastime for most small business owners; the task can be monotonous and extremely daunting.

It’s a process that requires time, money, and patience that most business owners simply don’t have to spare. In hopes of making it just a bit easier for you, we’ve laid out some common misconceptions that you should avoid when choosing POS software for your business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Compatibility: “I’ll use my old hardware” or “I’ll purchase elsewhere”

Just the sheer number of different options in the market today make choosing a POS system an overwhelming process. After many hours of staring at printers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners, everything will begin to look the same. However, do not be mistaken – all POS hardware is not the same! More often than not, hardware is going to be specific to the type of POS software that you choose. It’s important to pay close attention to what hardware is actually compatible with the software that you are purchasing. POS companies will often provide a one-stop service with the option to purchase hardware directly from their website.

As a POS specialist, I have witnessed firsthand, a handful of disastrous scenarios involving hardware. On one occasion, the business owner asserted that he was positive that the hardware from his previous system was compatible with his new program. It was not until opening day, when the receipt printer sat unresponsive and the line spilling out of the door, that he realized his mistake. In another instance, a merchant had purchased $2,000 of non-compatible, and non-refundable hardware. Save yourself the hassle and the headache by triple-checking compatibility.

Functionality: “I want it all!”

When investing in something, we tend to want a product that ‘does it all’. We want the newest phone that doubles as a TV, or the latest coffee machine that will produce the perfect espresso and steam our soymilk. In today’s world, it seems that most have the mindset of ‘more is better’. This may be true for some investments, but isn’t necessarily the case for point of sale. When choosing your POS software, it is imperative that you prioritize functionality based on your business type. For example, if you own a quick-service restaurant, then speed and simplicity are vital. You must keep lines moving in order to keep up with the quick nature of the business. Additional complex features that you don’t need may confuse your cashiers and create a chaotic and slow checkout process.

Similarly, retailers should look for POS software that offers barcode scanning as a way of ringing up items. Sure, color-coded inventory buttons are pretty to look at, but it isn’t feasible for cashiers to flip through hundreds of pages to locate one item. Scanning barcodes will help employees ring sales more quickly and efficiently. A POS system that “does it all” may sound good in theory, but is more likely to make life difficult. You should narrow your focus to the main features that will truly benefit your business, and then shop for a system accordingly. .

Rolling updates: “I want to buy something up front and be done with it”

Traditionally, older PC-based POS systems are purchased outright and only require a one-time fee. Although one payment may sound appealing, this has proven to be less effective in the long run. POS providers with ‘sell-and-run’ business tactics are able to coerce you into buying a ridiculously expensive system upfront, with the promise of no ongoing fees. However, with the constantly evolving technology available today, it’s only a matter of time before that system becomes obsolete. An ongoing subscription, which typically includes rolling updates, ensures that your system will always be relevant.

As technology advances, your POS software will allow you to accommodate your customers with features such as Apple Pay and LevelUp. By using a subscription-based software, you will wake up every morning feeling confident that your system can handle anything. Additionally, it will save you the time and money needed to update an old, clunky system. The money you save can be used for more product and inventory… Or towards a much needed vacation!

Support, support, support: “I’ll never need it!”

A reliable support system is invaluable to every pursuit in life. Whether it’s having great friends in the midst of a devastating breakup, or having strong teammates to fall back on during an exhausting sports competition, support is a key component when faced with adversity. This is no different in the world of business; a knowledgeable and consistent support team makes all the difference. It’s important to consider the technical support available when purchasing POS software. Even the most competent individual will, at some point, need help troubleshooting a faulty scanner or may want advice on the best way to run an effective marketing promotion. There are very few things that are more frustrating than waiting on “hold” or talking to a machine for 20 minutes. What’s worse is watching customers leave your store as you frantically seek out someone to help fix your register. Being able to pick up the phone and hear a human’s voice on the other end is a rare and comforting experience – a luxury that we so infrequently get these days. So, even if you’re a tech-savvy computer whiz, if nothing else, make sure you invest in a company that has your back! Your POS system will thank you.

Sarah Steinle

About the Author

Sarah Steinle is a POS specialist working at ShopKeep. After years of fighting with outdated, crash-prone POS software in the hospitality industry, Sarah is proud to have helped hundreds of small business owners avoid the same fate. At ShopKeep, she prides herself on not just helping people get set up with POS Software, but really learning to maximize its value.