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Retail & Restaurant POS Software Guide
Retail & Restaurant Point of Sale (POS) Software Buyer's Guide
Buying POS software can be a stressful time because there are so many choices, and you want to make sure you will make the right decision. Before you purchase a POS software program, consider the following questions, and then pick a POS software program that has the features you need based on how you answer the following:
Ask these questions before purchasing POS (retail or restaurant) software
- Do you want remote data access to your software? This is a nice feature to have if you want to get sales data and other essential information from any computer with internet access.
- Do you plan on offering loyalty rewards programs to your customers?
- Do you want the freedom to have any credit card processing company you want to? This one is very important. Some POS software programs will only work with certain credit card processing companies, so be sure to check yours is on the list before you buy.
- Do you plan to collect customer data so you can conduct email and snail mail advertising campaigns?
- Would you want to offer a layaway program to your customers? This question does not apply to restaurant software.
- Do you plan to combine multiple SKU items into one item SKU? This is a very important feature if you assemble items such as gift baskets, for example.
- Will you need wireless barcode scanner integration for inventory counts? If you do, make sure your POS software can easily upload scanned data and map it correctly to its inventory database.
- Will you want to seamlessly integrate some type of digital signage with your POS system?
- Will you have more than one store? If you plan to or you already have, make sure your chosen POS software has multiple site capabilities with a shared database. Not all POS software programs have this feature, especially the low cost ones.
- Do you need the ability to print barcode or food order labels? It is very convenient if your POS software can do this for you. That way it eliminates the hassle of having to use another software program that only prints labels, which is another expense.
- What kind backend reports do you want your POS software to perform? Consider this one carefully. Not all POS software programs have the same reporting features.
- Do you plan to take items on consignment? This question does not apply to restaurant software.
- Do you require your POS software program to integrate with a third party accounting program such as QuickBooks?
- Are you going to sell items by weight? If so, your POS software will need to integrate with an electronic weigh scale.
- Do you need after hours tech support? This is also very important. Not all POS software companies offer this, and for the ones that do…be sure to ask how much they will charge for this service?
Ask yourself these additional questions if you plan on buying restaurant software:
- How does the POS software handle order modifiers? This is very important, because not all restaurant POS software programs adjust modifiers exactly the same way.
- Will you require split ticket payment functionality?
- Do you require patron table assignments by server?
- Do you want the POS software to calculate the server tip percentage and assignment?
- Will you want to integrate a guest pager system?
- Do you plan on taking phone orders? If so, your POS software will need to have caller ID functionality and full phone order features.
The above questions are by no means all inclusive, but they are a good start. Be sure to write down all of your questions first before you go searching for POS software. This will help you be more focused on your search, and you will be more prepared to ask the right questions when you call POS software vendors. Also be sure to download a free demo of the software you’re interested in. Most POS software vendors usually have a free 30 day trial version you can download and take for a test drive. Bottom line is…choose the POS software with features that best match your needs, and unfortunately this sometimes means spending more than you had originally intended to. However, it is better to spend a little more and get what you need than to pay less for a POS software program that falls short of your needs and will eventually end up costing you and your business more in the long term.
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