If you run a high street shop, then you will be aware of point of sale technology. This refers to the hardware that you use to process payments such as credit cards. Many small businesses will not have a particularly sophisticated system, possibly because it is expensive or because they think that it will be too complicated. However, there are some good reasons why small businesses should be thinking of getting more sophisticated systems. Point of sale technology can do a lot more than just process payments. There are many features which could be really beneficial to both a business and its customers and so it is worth taking a look at the options available to see whether an investment in this sort of thing could be of benefit to your business.
Your Customers Deserve Secure Payments
Being able to offer your customers secure payments is really important. They will want to know that their card is being processed in a really secure way so that they can be sure that they will not have their number intercepted and have someone spend money on their card. They will also expect to make purchases quickly and efficiently and so may expect to be able to use the latest technology such as contactless rather than having to type in their PIN for small amounts via the credit card terminal.
It may be at this point of sale that items are weighed. In some stores customers are expected to do this themselves and then at the checkout they price can be calculated. However, most shops will weigh the items at the till and having a sophisticated system that will allow you to do this and then connects with the till so that you can easily work out how much is owed.
At point of sale customers will also have their items priced up. They may expect that they will be able to move through this process as quickly as possible and so having a system that allows this can be really useful. If they are buying multiple items, they will want to be able to get them scanned and packed really quickly so that they can pay and leave. If you do not have a system that will allow you to do this quickly then it may put off customers, particularly those that are in a hurry.
Don’t Forget The Paperwork!
Many customers will also want an invoice or receipt to prove that they have paid for the items and so that they can check how much things cost etc. A sophisticated system will allow you to provide one of these for your customer which is itemised, listing the items that they bought and how much each of these cost. If they are a business, they will want this so that they can keep it for their accounts. These days this may be able to be sent electronically to save paper.
Some systems will have a touch screen so that it is really easy to operate. These are becoming so simple that it is possible for customers to actually self-serve and to scan their items and pay for them without a cashier being present at all. Although these systems are expensive it means that you will not have to pay so many members of staff and some shoppers prefer to pay for items this way as they would rather not have to speak to anyone and like the independence that it gives them.
Another great advantage of this sort of system is when prices change. This could just be due to prices generally increasing or due to sales and special offers. If this happens when you have price tags on items, it is necessary to change every single item which is very time consuming. If you can do it on the computer, then you can just change the shelf label and not worry about each one having to be changed in price and perhaps changed back again after the special offer changes.
Incorporating a Loyalty Scheme
It can also be much easier to incorporate a loyalty scheme using this sort of equipment. It might be that you award points when a certain amount of money is spent and this can easily be calculated and noted by a good piece of hardware. Smaller companies sometimes use stickers or stamps to record loyalty points, but these are easier to forge.
The most sophisticated point of sale systems will also be able to do a stock take based on the previous sales. It will be able to record how much has been sold and therefore generate a list of what needs to be bought. Although manual stock takes will need to be done to check for items that have been stolen or to look at use by dates if relevant, this could save a lot of time. Ordering will be really simple if you know what has been bought and therefore what items will need replacing. Much quicker than having to scan the shelves and work out what has sold that way.
So even if you are a small business it is worth thinking about whether you could benefit from some sophisticated technology at your point of sale. It could save you having to employ so many staff, make your customers feel more confident and allow them to complete their purchase more quickly. It could also make it easier for you to keep track of your sales and stock as well as being able to more easily incorporate a loyalty scheme. Especially if you’re using a third party service such as SumUp to facilitate this.
It is also worth considering what impact this sort of technology might have on your business and think about whether you feel that it would be worth the investment. Even a small business could find that they could run more efficiently if they get the right technology and there are many different types such as the mPOS (mobile point of sale) system which is effectively an app which can run on a phone or tablet. This mobile solution is great for those business owners who don’t want such a huge outlay and for those who don’t have much shop floor real estate. So in essence, you would not have to get the most sophisticated if it had more functions than you actually needed. However, making a few small and more affordable improvements could have a very positive effect on your business.