Restaurants, retailers, hotels, and service providers use point-of-sale (POS) systems to manage customer transactions in addition to backend features like inventory management and analytics reporting. For new smaller businesses, establishing a POS system can be as simple as downloading an app. For more complex businesses, establishing a POS system might require expert installation.
1. Choose a POS System
The first step to consider when deciding how to set up a POS system is to decide on the ideal POS to your small business. Each POS has unique features specifically tailored to different business requirements. Whether you’re a retailer, restaurant, hotel, or service provider, you will want to pick a POS with attributes that are specific to your business model. POS systems also operate on different kinds of hardware and have varying pricing models. The ideal POS system for your business also depends upon your budget and preferred hardware.
Evaluate Industry-specific Characteristics
Begin with understanding which features are made for your business type. By way of instance, retail POS systems will have features to handle complex inventories including product variations and barcodes. Restaurants will require a POS system that can take customer orders, split checks, and manage tables. Service providers will require a system which could handle appointments or bill.
Retailers should look for a POS system with:
- Inventory management: Track stock in real-time since it’s sold, including variants like colors and sizes, and easily reorder items as needed.
- Multiple payment options: along with money and credit cards, merchants need choices for eWallet payments, store credit, refunds, and other payment options like PayPal.
- Multichannel: Retailers that also sell online or sometimes require a POS that can connect with other sales channels.
- Customer relationship management: Produce client profiles with contact information and purchase history to use for email marketing and loyalty programs.
Restaurants should look for a POS system with:
- Table mapping: Create floor plans for your dining area to monitor open and guests tables such as their servers, orders, and how long they’ve been seated.
- Menu direction: Input menus with recipes and pricing for various meals, days of the week, and exclusive discounts such as Happy Hour.
- Ingredient-level inventory management: Track stock levels as every dish is sold and ready.
- Divide checks and tipping: Servers will need to be able to easily split checks multiple approaches and let guests add tips.
- Customer relationship management: Produce customer profiles with contact details.
Restaurants need an industry-specific POS, like Eats365 that has table mapping, tableside ordering, and a kitchen display system
Hotels should look for a POS system with:
- Booking integration: the capability to handle room reservations or incorporate with third-party booking program.
- Event organization: Handle events and leases for ballrooms and conference spaces.
- Guest feedback and polls: Send and collect surveys following each guest’s stay.
Service providers should look for a POS system with:
- Appointment management: Clients will need to be able to book appointments, service providers will need to have the ability to handle their calendars and sync appointments to a payment processor.
- Retail sales: Service providers such as salons and spas also have to have the ability to process retail sales.
- Online booking: Clients will need to have the ability to log into their accounts and book appointments online.
- Invoicing: Some service providers, like mechanics, cleaning services, and fix people will need to have the ability to create invoices for appointments.
Consider Hardware and Compatibility Issues
If you are an established company, you’ve probably already made investments in additional hardware and software to handle day-to-day operations. When picking a POS system, you are looking for one that will seamlessly fit in with the rest of your current technology, so make certain to check integrations and compatibility before you purchase a POS.
For new businesses, be certain that you are picking a system that you’re comfortable with and find simple to use. By way of instance, if you’re knowledgeable about the iOS operating system since you use an iPhone, you may be best-suited having an app-based POS that runs on iPads. Or, if you want a desktop computer, consider a browser-based POS system.
Should You Rent or Lease POS Hardware?
The choice to rent a POS system is appealing: it offers lower upfront costs, reduced ongoing fees, and you get to return the goods when you are finished. But if you crunch the numbers, leasing hardware does not always save you money in the long term. When you get the hardware , this is a business investment–you have the POS equipment and can sell it when you are finished with it.
If you wish to get your own POS system, but need lower upfront costs, there’s a third option. Some POS business offer payment plans or installment payment choices. That means you may pay for the product over time with monthly charges and own the hardware.
2. Pick Between DIY and Professional Setup
After picking a POS system, you will have to acquire the hardware and software ready to go. Selecting between installing the POS yourself and hiring a professional to do it for you comes down to your own resources. Booking a professional setup typically includes an excess price tag, while doing it requires technical know-how.
When to Get a POS System Professionally Installed
For those who have room in the budget, then it is a fantastic idea to have your POS system professionally installed. This is particularly true for smaller businesses with a great deal of customization, integration, and add on needs. Larger and multi-location companies are also prudent to enlist an expert.
Experts of hiring an expert:
- Accuracy: When a POS system is professionally installed, you can be sure the installation is done correctly.
- Training: Professional installations typically include coaching for you and your staff.
- Data entry: For retailers with a great deal of SKUs and product information, or restaurants with ingredients, recipes, and menus, professional setup usually includes entry and installation for stock items and monitoring.
Disadvantages of hiring an expert:
- Additional costs: There is often an additional cost for expert installation, typically $500 or more.
- Scheduling: you need to wait to schedule an appointment rather than preparing the POS in your time.
When to Install a POS System Yourself
For starters, even if you do not have cash to finance a professional installation, you may be considering doing it yourself. But, there are also times when it makes sense to install the system yourself.
By way of instance, if you are getting started with a base package, you will likely have the ability to plug and play. For those who get a single-location small company, there will not be many customizations, so the installation is simpler than for a chain store or a large restaurant. Additionally, many POS systems have strong content libraries to help users get up and running.
Experts of installing a POS system yourself:
- Learning the system: you truly get to know the software and how to use it by setting up the system .
- Lower costs: You will spend less on any related installation fees by preparing the system yourself.
Disadvantages of installing a POS system yourself:
- Complications: it might take longer to prepare the system than you’d initially planned.
- Space for error: You may set it up incorrectly.
- Missing attributes: By setting the system up yourself, it is possible you will overlook some functionality or features of the system.
3. Establish Your Inventory Management System
As soon as you have selected and installed your POS system, you will have to square off the inventory management procedure. Whether you’re a restaurant or retailer, monitoring on-hand and marketed goods is among the most valuable qualities of a POS system. Pretty much every POS system has some amount of inventory management features. For those who have a larger company, you will probably require a more complex system, and sometimes, businesses may decide to utilize third-party integrations to connect inventory management applications to the POS.
Import Your Stock List
To begin, import your inventory list. Based on how you’re monitoring products or handling stock before the POS system, this may indicate uploading data from an Excel spreadsheet or turning on integration with your third-party applications. Since many POS systems can deal with this process automatically, it is still wise to do a manual inspection once the import’s complete to make sure the information looks clean.
If you decide to have your POS system professionally installed, that support often includes importing or setting up your inventory list. Additionally, there are some POS systems that have features to allow companies manually enter individual products, but need support for importing product information in bulk. In case you’ve got large inventories, be certain to ask about how this procedure works before registering with a POS provider.
Organize Your Products
Once your inventory data is from the POS, it is time to include more information for every SKU. Set stock levels with the quantity of each product you’ve on-hand. Categorize each item by product type. Some companies also add seasonal classes or notice which area of the store or stockroom goods can be found. Add tags to each product to help find items when partners search for them–such as descriptions or vendor names. After that, add other identifying info like vendor name, barcode and SKU information, wholesale pricing, and retail markup and pricing.
As soon as you’ve got all the data in, be sure all the automation surrounding your stock data is set up. Most of all, make sure that the settings are set up to automatically correct on-hand stock levels when a product is sold. Some POS systems will also let you personalize low stock alerts so you receive a notification or report when on-hand counts of each item reach a particular degree.
4. Import Customer Data
After setting up your goods, you’ll want to prepare your customer data. In case you’ve got a customer database, even if it’s only a list of original names, you will want to import this into your POS system too. Most systems can handle a basic Excel spreadsheet or CSV import. Update every customer profile with whatever info you have available, such as email address, telephone number, physical address, age, occupation, as well as buy history.
Create Customer Profiles & Segments
When you’ve added your clients to your database, you would like to arrange them in a manner which will permit you to send targeted, personalized promotions. Identify top spenders, regular shoppers, habitual returners, and other key customer groups based on similarities.
Some POS systems have features to create reports or mechanically segment your top-spending clients and many frequent visitors. You can also create lists based on the kinds of products each customer purchases.
Setup Automated Marketing Campaigns
Utilize your customer segments to construct automated advertising and customer relationship management (CRM) campaigns. Some POS systems have built-in attributes for email marketing, loyalty programs, social media promotions, or customer feedback collection. Other systems integrate with popular third-party solutions for promotion.
POS marketing campaigns with simple setup include:
- Customized email receipts: Many POS systems let retailers customize email receipts with contact info, social media manages, and promotional or promotional info.
- Automated polls: Following a customer makes a purchase, possess an email or text message automatically sent to them with a questionnaire on their expertise.
- Points-based loyalty program: Many POS systems have a characteristic, add-onintegration or integration to get a points-based loyalty program where clients can automatically earn points with every purchase.
More advanced automated marketing campaigns which you can handle from the POS include email campaigns to send clients welcome emails, birthday vouchers, and reminders for clients to return. Many systems also sync with Facebook and Instagram so that you can create, share, and also boost posts from the POS dashboard.
5. Establish Employee Accounts & Permissions
For those who have a staff or team, you will want a POS system which enables employee profiles and permissions. As soon as you have your inventory and customer data setup, the next step is to handle your employee accounts. Begin by designating yourself as the owner and administrator of the full account.
Then, consider how many different worker roles and permissions you’ll need. For those who have a retail store, you might just need a partner and supervisor level–one to handle sales and handle customer information, and another function that can process returns, voids, and correct stock. But, restaurants may need a number of unique functions and permission levels for servers, bartenders, and supervisors. Create each function and assign appropriate approval levels.
Then create a login for every staff member and designate them with their corresponding role or permission degree. It’s important for every employee to have their own login so you can monitor sales and run reports to determine how each of your workers is performing. If there are register or inventory discrepancies, it is also a lot easier to learn what happened when a particular person has been assigned to each transaction.
Many POS systems also have time-tracking attributes or scheduling add-ons, so that you may use your POS to monitor hours worked for payroll. Some systems have resources for workers to clock-in and clock-out and create payroll reports so that you can see precisely how many hours each person worked and when.
6. Train Staff on How Best to Use a POS System
The final step in establishing a POS system is training your workers. Your company tools are only effective if your people are using them properly. Along with locating a POS that is intuitive and easy to learn, you want to bring your staff up to speed on how to use it correctly.
Schedule a Training With the POS Provider
Your POS software firm should provide some type of onboarding for teams new to the system. This could have a video walk-through, small group or one-on-one sessions, as well as onsite training. Ask whether the POS will provide hands-on training for new hires also. After the initial training, see whether the POS has an online library with video tutorials, guides, or FAQs to encourage any new workers.
Distribute a Guide
After the team was trained on how to use the POS system, you will want to have technical proof that is readily accessible. Keep printed documents in the staff area, add notes to your own workplace communication system, and recall to train all new hires about the best way best to use the POS too.
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Look for Continuing Customer Support
You might face technical issues with your POS after you have got it up and running. Learn which sort of technical assistance your POS provider provides. Sometimes that is included with each package, others need higher-tier packages for free support. You also need to determine how to contact service –phone, email, ticketing system, live chat, etc.–and what their availability is.
How to Use a POS System
Once your system is installed and workers are trained, make the most from your POS system by using all the stock and analytics features. POS systems provide many reports and information points that small companies can use to help inform business decisions.
Use POS Data Analytics to Handle Your Small Business
POS data analysis is the measuring, monitoring, and interpretation of information. For small companies, this information typically includes sales, inventory, employee, and customer demand details. Small companies can pull these metrics from their POS system to find out which products sell quickest, which clients spend , and which workers perform best.
Some POS systems automate these reports, others allow customization, and a few require you use their own templates. Analytics reports you will want to look at include:
- Average transaction value: ATV, also known as average purchase value or AOV, is the typical amount a customer spends during every transaction. This metric is useful for retail shops, online businesses, resorts, salons, and food-based companies.
- Items per buy: Also called units per transaction (UPT), this data point measures how many products customers purchase during every trip for a particular period of time. This is beneficial for retailers, eCommerce companies, and restaurants.
- Sell-through speed: This is the proportion of an individual merchandise sold during a particular time frame. Sell-through speed compared how many components of a specific thing you started with to how many are left in the end. Restaurants and retailers benefit from looking at this record.
- Gross margin: Gross margin examines the proportion of the store or product revenue that’s profit. This is a valuable metric for all sorts of small businesses.
- Revenue per class: Revenue per class or sales each department examines the total earnings for each type of product. It shows which kinds of products drive the most sales, generate the most profit, and therefore are the most popular with clients. Retailers, in particular, should have a look at this, in addition to restaurants, salons, and resorts.
- Sales per worker: A useful metric for any small business with employees, this will let you know which workers are responsible for shutting the most deals. Professional tip: Look at your staff’s average retail sales per hour to compare complete – and part-time employees.
- Customer retention rate: This data point reflects a small business’s ability to keep clients coming back. High customer retention rates generally signify strong customer loyalty and strong customer satisfaction with the company’s offerings. This metric is also valuable for all sorts of small businesses.
How to Use a Retail POS
Using POS systems looks somewhat different depending upon your business type. When figuring out how to set up a POS system in a retail business, you will want to concentrate on inventory management specifically. It’s also advisable to search for multichannel capacity, even in the event that you don’t sell online yet.
Inventory Management for Retailers
In retail, inventory management is vital to smooth operations and sustainability. Inventory management features for retail POS systems might consist of real-time monitoring, low stock alerts, vendor database, and purchase order management. When using a retail POS, companies should receive reports or notifications when it’s time to reorder products. These reports and automated inventory monitoring save retailers lots of time by reducing manual counts.
By way of instance, when using Lightspeed Retail, there’s an integrated vendor catalogue to reorder items directly through the POS. The analytics dashboard also reveals retailers visuals on their most popular items and provides low-stock alerts. Using Square POS is very similar to other systems available, but somewhat simpler to install.
Managing Ecommerce Throughout a Retail POS
Multichannel eCommerce is becoming increasingly vital for retailers, including in the POS system. A retail POS needs to be able to sync with your eCommerce store and other online selling Retail POS System, such as social websites, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. Having these stations synced means that your inventory, order, and customer information is in 1 location and you won’t oversell inventory or shed an order.
Customer Relationship Management for Retailers
To drive customer retention, retailers need POS tools to automate the nurturing procedure. Automated emails and customer loyalty programs are two important features to search for. Retailers also want features to communicate with clients about their orders and experience. When using a retail POS, companies should have post-visit mails and surveys automatically sent to clients, in addition to loyalty points.
How to Use a Restaurant POS
Restaurant POS systems have regular payment processing capabilities, but they also incorporate industry-specific features. Restaurants use a POS to monitor components, manage menus and clients, price out things, and manage employees. By way of instance, at a Lightspeed Restaurant POS manual, you can find out how to establish the system for front-of-house and back-of-house particular features.
Inventory Management for Restaurants
For restaurants, using ingredient-level stock tracking by means of a POS system can provide detailed insight into the sustainability of every menu item and help identify errors that could impact profit margins like over-portioning. Much like retailers, restaurants may automate low stock alerts and reorder reports to buy the ideal ingredients at the perfect times to prevent stockouts and expired products.
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POS Front-of-House Characteristics
When it comes to handling the front-of-house, a restaurant POS must have table mapping for sit-down restaurants. This attribute allows front-of-house staff to readily see how long every table was occupied and see the status of the orders to correctly seat guests and predict wait times.
Many restaurant POS systems also have kitchen screen features so once a waiter enters an order, it’s automatically sent to a display screen or printer in the kitchen. The server then receives a notification once the order is prepared. This automation reduces human error and lets managers track order prep time.
Menu Management Through a POS
With a POS to handle a restaurant’s menu helps eliminate guesswork and enables companies to make informed decisions. Managers may use sales data to determine bestselling and worst-selling dishes and see that the profit margins on each dish. These features make it possible for restaurants to design menus that feature both desired and money-making dishes. POS systems also automatically remove menu items which are out of stock and change pricing or menus when it varies from Lunch to Dinner or to Happy Hour.
By way of instance, Eats365 Restaurant has regular table mapping and tableside ordering attributes. Moreover, the POS has upsell reminders for servers for combo orders and chef’s specials.
How to Use a Mobile POS
A mobile POS (mPOS) processes credit cards and other types of payment via tablet or smartphone. MPOS systems include features for managing your company from stock to customer relationships. They’re helpful for restaurants and retailers that wish to make workers more visible on the ground, in addition to small companies that sell on the move.
Cloud-based Business Management
Many mPOS systems are cloud-based, meaning that they will sync data to the cloud through an online connection. This produces the POS data accessible from any compatible device, in addition to syncs the data along with other business places, meaning companies can view reports from anywhere.
Mobile POS Integrations and Add-ons
MPOS systems are usually part of a bigger POS ecosystem. This implies a mobile POS is a scalable choice for companies starting small that have large growth plans. Make certain that the mPOS can be used with the mobile devices, hardware, and applications you intend to pair it with.
By way of instance, Square POS is a starter mobile POS system for many new and smallish businesses since it is free and user friendly. Square also has many add-ons for promotion, eCommerce and online ordering, loyalty programs, and payroll, so companies can add features as they grow.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About How to Prepare a POS System
Have questions about figuring out how to set up a POS system? Beneath, get answers to four of the most often asked questions about small business POS setup.
What’s POS reconciliation?
POS reconciliation is when you compare the statements and data from the POS system to the statements and data from different tools. This may include your accounting software, merchant account statements, stock management system, customer database, and other tools that are connected.
How long does it take to set up a POS system?
Technically speaking, you can be up and running with a POS system in a matter of moments –provided that you have all of the essential hardware on hand. More complex or custom solutions may take more time. Oftentimes, you can install the POS system yourself, even with limited technical experience. More complicated systems may take hours, days, or even weeks for custom solutions.
How much can a POS system cost?
POS systems cost anywhere from free to about $200 a month per terminal. Standard POS systems and open source POS systems are on the lower end of the spectrum, while innovative features and powerful software cost more.
Can I create my own POS system?
It is definitely possible to construct your own customized POS system. This requires advanced technical skills or the resources to employ people who possess those skills. You can even use an open-source POS system for a foundation and customize it to your needs. Each of these options requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
Learning how to set up a POS system is dependent upon the tools you have available, the sort of POS you are installing, and your business needs. There are options to put in your POS yourself, or you could hire an expert to do it for you. From that point, import data for stock management, client profiles, staff management, and other essential business operations to make a control center for your biz.