With its potential to increase sales and operating efficiencies — not to mention its other benefits — your point of sale (POS) system is one of the most important investments you’ll make in your retail or restaurant operation. That’s why it’s important to choose the right POS technology — and the right POS vendor. Here are some factors to consider in finding the best POS company for your business:
1. Understanding of your operation and industry. Different categories of retailers and restaurant operators have industry-specific needs and concerns, and their operating practices vary from segment to segment. The best POS company is familiar with the ins and outs of how businesses in your particular market operate, the latest trends in your industry, and the pain points faced by players in your segment. More importantly, the best POS company uses this knowledge to specify a POS solution that is truly right for your business.
To easily assess a vendor’s familiarity with your business and business segment, list the top three problems you would like to eliminate or the top three objectives you would like to accomplish with a POS system, and ask how their technology will fit the bill. If you receive vague answers or a sales pitch that emphasizes technology features, you still haven’t found the best POS company.
2. Reputation and longevity. When you contact a POS provider with a question or problem, you don’t want to wait days for a response — or receive none at all because the vendor was just a “flash-in-the-pan” and no longer exists. The best POS company has a reputation for quickly answering operators’ calls for help and support and has been on solid business footing for several years.
To gauge financial stability, take a look at prospective vendors’ Dunn & Bradstreet ratings and, ideally, current financial statements. At the same time, obtain a few references — preferably, from retailers or restaurant operators in your line of business.
3. Availability of free trials and demos. The adage “try before you buy” definitely applies to POS hardware and software; it’s important to ensure that you’re comfortable with the technology before you sign on the dotted line. Making trials and demos available to prospective customers at no charge signals that a provider belongs in the “best POS company” category.
4. Tech support package. Regardless of the caliber of your POS system, you’ll eventually need technical support. Find out whether the provider makes support available on site or delivers it via a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Either way, the best POS company will back you up with support not only during regular business hours, but also after hours and on weekends and holidays for critical issues. It’s desirable for the vendor to have a dedicated help line so support-related issues may be handled quickly — before they have a negative impact on your business.
5. Degree of scalability. The best POS company has software and hardware solutions that can scale as your business grows. Any entity that qualifies as a “best POS company” is also flexible enough to accommodate plans to expand your operation — whether out of the area, out of state, or to another part of the country. Consistency, stability, and logistics necessitate working with a single POS vendor, rather than with several different vendors whose systems may be too disparate to support a cohesive retail or restaurant organization.
The search for the best POS company takes time and effort. But when you find the right POS company to partner with, you will have the security of knowing they understand your business and can help you achieve your business goals in addition to providing and maintaining the right POS system for your business.