By Graham Hoffman on February 18, 2021

The Complete Guide to Retail POS Systems for Small Businesses

This year, business owners and operators will make a serious investment in technology to streamline business operations and sales. According to recent reports, in-store retail tech increased by nearly 60 percent to $3.7B. As retailers recognize the need to invest in tech that improves both productivity and profitability, 68 percent of small business retailers plan to make additional investments in technology over the next 12 months.

Today, modern small businesses run on a variety of digital tools. From communicating with prospects and customers, collaborating internally, or monitoring sales, business owners and operators should know that there’s a digital tool or service for almost every business type and/or business function. Unfortunately, those that fail to embrace the latest business technology risk being outpaced by the competition. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reality of the current situation requires businesses to carefully select the tools needed to stay afloat.

“In just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business,” reports McKinsey & Company. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of new digital technologies. For most, experimentation with and an investment in digital technologies has played a significant role in helping companies to successfully navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

McKinsey-Business-InsightsSource: McKinsey & Company

During this time, retail POS software has emerged as a new technology solution for growing small business retailers. Most modern retail POS systems come equipped with next-generation retail POS features, including label and barcode printing, inventory management, customized hotkeys, employee management, and powerful customer loyalty programs. 

The Complete Guide to Retail POS Systems

Many of the best-rated POS systems have adapted to better serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, most systems come equipped with contactless payment processing and online sales integrations. According to recent studies, an overwhelming majority of first-time contactless payment customers plan to continue this behavior even after the COVID-19 crisis, signaling a dramatic shift in the way retailers and consumers accept and process sales transactions.

S&P GLOBAL MARKET INTELLIGENCESource: S&P Global Market Intelligence

If you’ve considered investing in a retail POS system for your business, we’ve created the one-stop resource just for you. In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is a retail POS system?
  • What are the unique features of a retail POS system?
  • What are the unique pros and cons of a retail POS system?
  • What are the top retail POS systems?

What is a Retail POS System?

A retail POS system enables businesses to accept sales transactions, manage employees, track inventory, and more. It is the central sales system needed to run and grow a business; it’s the hub where all sales-related activities occur. A retail POS system includes a variety of software and hardware components that make running business sales operations more efficient and effective.

There are two distinct types of retail POS systems, including on-premise and cloud. It’s important to understand the unique differences between on-premise and cloud systems.

A cloud-based POS system stores data on a remote cloud service. In this scenario, everything from security and data storage is updated and saved daily to the cloud. As such, software updates are “pushed” to the POS system automatically. Moreover, business owners and managers can access the POS software via the internet on any connected or supported device. Typically, cloud-based retail POS systems require lower upfront costs and maintenance than traditional systems.

Alternatively, an on-premise or server-based POS system stores data on a local server. Typically, these systems run on a closed internal network. The major advantage of an on-premise system is that there are no monthly fees for data storage. Additionally, business owners and managers have the ability to maintain complete control of the system. However, unlike cloud-based POS systems, server-based systems require routine maintenance. For example, if the server isn’t functioning properly, business owners and managers risk losing valuable data.

on-premise-vs-cloud-pos-software-comparison-chartSource: Software Advice

POS Nation offers a hybrid database solution that bridges the unique benefits of both cloud-based and on-premise solutions. Our technology makes it simple and easy to access the database and records from a desktop or mobile device. Moreover, our system offers flexible local features, enabling a business to continue operations even during unforeseen outages. In this way, you’ll have everything you need to continue ringing in sales even if your internet connection goes down. Today, more than 10,000 customers are powered by POS Nation.

 

Gotta Have It in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers its customers a full selection of goods, including sports memorabilia and man cave necessities. Needing a system to help manage his business from home or on the road, Peter turned to POS Nation.

What are the Features of a Retail POS System?

Of course, we might be a bit biased when we say that POS Nation offers the best retail POS features. However, should you choose to partner with POS Nation or any other retail POS vendor, here is a list of the most important retail POS features.

  1. Label and Barcode Printing

Today, customers deserve a smooth and seamless sales experience. When cashiers have to manually search for a product’s price, that smooth and seamless sales process is severely fragmented. As such, business owners and managers need a retail POS system that offers label and barcode printing. POS Nation makes it simple and easy to create labels and tags with one click. Additionally, our system automatically adds new items to the print queue. In this way, new items can be added to your inventory rapidly.

  1. Customized Hotkeys

What about items that don’t have a barcode? Use hotkeys to look up produce or non-barcoded items. Depending on the size of your inventory, hotkeys enable business owners and managers to quickly search for a product or item. In this way, sales clerks can reduce the checkout time by virtually eliminating manual search – it’s that easy!

  1. Inventory Management

How large is your inventory? Businesses with a large inventory of diverse products know how difficult it is to manage inventory effectively. A great retail POS system should come equipped with powerful inventory management features designed to help businesses keep track of inventory, manage purchase orders, replenish low inventory, and monitor popular products or items.

  1. Employee Management

POS Nation makes it easy to monitor employee productivity, manage schedules, set employee pay rates, and more. Additionally, through robust security protocols, business owners and managers can eliminate employee theft. For example, the system will recognize if there are a large number of comped items and/or voided transactions and signal employee theft.

  1. Customer Loyalty

Today, customers are prioritizing small businesses that offer incentives for repeat purchases. Most retail POS systems allow sales clerks to monitor buying patterns and create powerful promotions that encourage additional sales. From dollar discounts and BOGO offers, to seasonal offers and loyalty points, a great retail POS system should make it simple and easy to deploy powerful retail promotions.

Retail POS System Buyers Guide

What are the Pros and Cons of a Retail POS System?

So, what are the unique pros and cons of a retail POS system? To start, the cost of a retail POS system can be a barrier to entry for some new business owners and managers. To make matters worse, some POS vendors overcharge and underdeliver. You see, most tools lack the features and support you need to maximize system effectiveness. Before long, you’ve invested in a thousand different system “upgrades,” and you’re spending double what you originally planned for. Moreover, some retail POS systems are massively complex and difficult to manage. For some, system setup can be a bit overwhelming. The fact is, businesses spend thousands of dollars annually on overpriced and ineffective retail POS systems.

Fortunately, POS Nation offers one of the most affordable and effective retail POS systems for small businesses — containing all the great features you need in a retail POS system, and nothing you don’t. Additionally, our onboarding and support specialists help to ensure that your onboarding process runs as smoothly as possible. Every POS system comes with complimentary access to our online video library. This will give you and your staff in-depth information and knowledge related to the POS system.

Once the POS system is up and running, the benefits of a retail POS system are boundless. Most retail small businesses enjoy the following retail system benefits, including a streamlined sales process, reporting, inventory tracking, security, and much more. Are you ready to get started?

What are the Top Retail POS System Providers?

Of course, we know that we’re not the only POS provider on the market today. Here is a list of the most popular retail POS systems for small business owners and managers.

  1. Square

What started as the “little white reader,” has grown to become one of the largest and most successful POS vendors. Today, customers enjoy a variety of features, including powerful payment processing, advanced reporting, inventory management, and more.

Additionally, Square offers special add-ons for small businesses, including payroll management, business debit cards, marketing management, and customer loyalty promotions. Because the platform is built around an easy-to-use mobile platform, Square can travel with you. Additionally, Square supports online sales processing.

  1. Clover

Clover is another mobile-based platform currently supported by Android. Clover makes it easy to accept transactions, organize inventory, and manage employees. The platform comes with all the features you would expect from a leading POS provider, including powerful hardware, integrated applications, virtual terminals, and more.

Clover is popular among small to medium-sized businesses.

  1. ShopKeep

ShopKeep serves more than 23,000 businesses, including retail organizations, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. With access to powerful payment processing, inventory tracking, sales reports, employee tracking, and promotions, customers have found a reliable retail POS solution in ShopKeep.

  1. Lightspeed

Lightspeed supports businesses of all shapes and sizes, including multi-site retail locations and restaurants. Lightspeed offers inventory management, reporting, payment processing, online sales, and powerful technical support.

  1. POS Nation

Founded in 2001, POS Nation has partnered with more than 10,000 small businesses nationwide (and counting). We understand the unique needs and challenges of small business owners and managers and have built a solution designed to support those needs and meet those challenges. Our service-driven mentality means that you can lean on our powerful customer support to get all your questions answered.

Features:

  • Inventory management
  • Loss prevention
  • Software purpose-built for multiple retail industries and business types
  • Fully configured hardware
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Powerful customer support

Benefits: POS Nation offers system onboarding, setup, and training. In this way, you’ll be able to get started quickly. Paging through a multi-page onboarding document is a thing of the past! Moreover, our system is easy to use and manage.

POS Nation Powers Retail Small Businesses

Are you ready to get started with POS Nation? Our turnkey solutions offer all the great hardware, software, and payment processing you need to build and manage a successful retail business. POS Nation streamlines sales processes, improves internal efficiencies, and creates happier customers – it’s that easy!

 

To get started, we recommend scheduling a software demo.

Whether you’re investing in a POS system for the first time or you’ve been managing a business for decades, your POS system should help you grow now and into the future. You may have one location or multiple locations, and you need a software solution to support your growing enterprise. By scheduling a demo, you’ll get an in-depth and guided tour of our demo environment. An expert product specialist will be available to answer any questions you have related to our retail POS system.

Are you ready to get started? Schedule your software demo today! 

Buyers_Guide_Tablet

Download the Free Guide

Whether you decide to do business with POS Nation or select another provider, knowing what questions to ask can help you get past the sales pitch, and to a solution that works for your business

CONTACT US

Ready To Get Started? Call us at 877-727-3548

Get Started