Is An Outdated Retail POS System Holding Your Business Back?
Data gathered by your point of sale software flows downstream to other platforms, affecting your company’s larger technology capabilities and business intelligence, but having up-to-date retail POS systems is often a lower priority. Could using an older POS system be holding your business back?
“Every two to three years a big change emerges in retailing,” Leo Suarez of Toshiba Global Commerce said while speaking at the National Retail Federation’s 2014 expo. “Every four years in-store processes change. But retailers only change their POS every seven to 10 years. POS has become a big problem retailers need to solve.”
A lot of businesses get their retail POS systems up and running, then let them sit unchanged for years, gradually falling further behind the times. This is more of a problem when they’re using a standalone retail POS system instead of an integrated solution. With a standalone system, you may find it more difficult or costly to stay current. If you buy a standalone POS hardware system that has certain functions, it won’t do any more than that until you buy a new POS system or go through a software upgrade, which often takes a lot of work.
With any retail POS software, it’s important to regularly update the master software. Companies often stay on the same version for too long and end up stuck with a huge project. Before implementing new features that are truly necessary, they have to first go through major updates to get to the current version of the master software.
If you have an integrated system and a vendor that’s proactive about building new capabilities into the retail software solution, you should be able to stay current more easily and get a better return on investment with your POS hardware. As the vendor upgrades the software on the back end, it may be able to push software updates and new features to existing retail POS systems, without requiring hardware upgrades or much technical work on your end.
Your company’s needs and business goals change over time, and ideally, your POS system should have enough flexibility to adjust to those workflow changes. Workflow changes may or may not require investments in new hardware, but they all begin with clear goals and planning out the processes needed to accomplish them.
For example, a standard out-of-the-box POS system comes with a discount button. For any item, the cashier is able to press this button and apply a discount in terms of a percentage. But let’s say you want to gather more detailed sales information, or prevent cashiers from over-discounting. You may want a more structured system for these discounts, so that when the cashier presses the discount button, it brings up a screen that asks the purpose of the discount. Is the item damaged? Is it a sale item that wasn’t added to the system? Is the discount for a loyal customer, or an employee account? Choosing one of these options then starts a workflow that leads the cashier through the process.
In the end, the best way to keep your POS system from holding back the rest of your business is to stay on top of it, making small continuous improvements instead of letting problems grow until updating the system is a major undertaking. Partnering with a retail sales software vendor is a good way to ensure this continuous improvement.
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Author: Wm. Matthew Street, Solutions Consultant/Retail Product Lead at ArcherPoint