Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to Choose the Best Point of Sale Software

by: Jason Harrison

With many technological innovations, we hear the promises of ?unmatched excellence', ?the most user-friendly', and ?just what your business needs.' But amid all of these promises, we know that one of the products must be superior to the others. With point of sale software it can seem difficult to know which system will actually be the best for your retail chain and the situation it finds itself in. ?How can I get the most of my investment in a POS software system?" is the question on most entrepreneurs' minds.

Number one is the selection of your particular software. You need to make sure that the point of sale software is right for your business. If you are running a clothing store, one which features a bar code scanner is essential, yet at the same time, a restaurant may not need such a tool. If you are in a very niche specific part of the market, it would be wise to look into point of sale software systems that are designed specifically for such endeavors. As you look at the types of systems, be sure to look at hosted systems that offer Software as a Service (SaaS) because this type of system can truly meet all of your needs.

Once you select the proper system, it is important to know how to use it. It might seem like common sense, but you need to be familiar with all of the capabilities of your particular point of sale software system. If you purchase the software, trained specialists will give a tutorial and you must take full advantage of this. With the help of these professionals and the manual, you as the owner must get very familiar with the different operations that your system can run. Using a hosted SaaS system really cuts down on the amount of time you must spend learning new software, because they work with your existing software and hardware.

Another helpful tip is that you need to develop trust in your point of sale software system. The algorithms and procedures that the system is designed to run have been well tested in the retail chain store industry and will help you to make correct decisions. You must go by the numbers generated by your point of sale software. Your gut feelings or hunches need to be ignored in favor of the concrete evidence that the computer will give you. With this tip in mind, you need to review your business's performance on a weekly or even daily basis to know what is actually happening on the sales floor. Just having point of sale software that can make fancy reports is not enough. You need to look at and analyze the reports to make the correct business decisions.

Finally, you need to make proper use of the inventory reports that the system will give you. Underperforming stock needs to be sold as soon as possible. As the merchandise sits on your sales floor, it is costing you money. You need to determine a price or amount of time at which the product is costing you more money than it is worth. The hosted SaaS point of sale software system will be instrumental for inventory management.

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