How to choose a modern point-of-sale for your small business

July 28, 2014

Guest blogger Michelle Yuan, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bindo, shares tips on purchasing your next point of sale system.

Michelle Yuan, Director of Sales and Marketing,

Let’s face it: Running a small business with a legacy point of sale (POS) is tough. I know this first-hand as Director of Sales and Marketing at Bindo, a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale with a web and mobile storefront enabling online shopping for the end consumer. Not only are retail stores and quick service restaurants spending hours, and perhaps even days, updating the information on their systems, they’re also wasting capital upgrading their machines – or just making sure they work.. The demand for better modern POS systems is very high at the moment. But as a small business owner faced with so many choices, choosing the right one is key.

1. Make Sure it’s Tablet and Cloud-based

After letting go of your legacy POS and making the decision of switching to a modern POS, you’ll need to find one that operates on a tablet and is cloud-based. Ideally, you want an iPad point of sale over an android-based one because of the stability of the platform and the abundance of iPad POS systems in the market. Tablet-based POS solutions are ideal because you and your staff will be able to process transactions anywhere in your store. You’ll also be able to use the tablet POS at pop-up events, street fairs and just about any location you want. This brings me to my second point: Finding a cloud-based solution. The best tablet-based POS systems operate on a cloud and allow you to operate it from any location you want. They even enable you to keep tabs on the performances of your other store locations in real-time using any one of your devices: tablets, desktops or smartphones. Using a cloud-based system also protects all the data that’s stored in your point of sale so you don’t have to worry about losing your data or, even worse, getting it stolen.

2. Understand its CRM Capabilities

As a small business, you know that your customers are at the center of your business. Using a POS system that has the ability to capture your customers’ credit card and contact information is crucial – but surprisingly not enough. A modern POS should be able to tell you which products are most and least frequently purchased by specific customers at various store locations. It should also be able to identify the frequent VIP shoppers from the less frequent ones at any one of your store locations, creating the ultimate small business customer loyalty program.

3. Find Out Where You Can Sell Your Products and Services

  Just because you run a small business doesn’t mean you should sell small. Why should your customers be limited to the people who walk by your store? Your POS should be able to help you sell your products through more channels: online and on mobile. eCommerce and mCommerce, or mobile Commerce, aren’t just for big box retailers. Your point of sale system should be able to aggregate all your products and services, store them in your cloud and allow you to effortlessly sell on all three channels: online, on mobile and in-store.

4. Test the Customer Service of the POS Company

You’re bound to experience some kind of difficulty with your modern POS. Even the greatest technology in the world will have some issues. As a user, you’ll want to make sure that a friendly team of customer support representatives is ready to help you through your frustrations at any time of the day. You can test this out by calling the customer service number and emailing the given email address of the point of sale company that you’re looking into. This way, you cans see how helpful their responses are before you purchase their solution. Your POS is the most important device in your store: it’s essentially the gateway to all your transactions, customer data and inventory. If anything happens to it, you’ll need to be comfortable knowing that someone is there to answer your questions and guide you through everything.

5. Ask Yourself: Will this POS Grow with My Business?

As your small business expands, you’ll want a point of sale system that has the ability to grow with it. If there are plans in the future for you to open another store location, you’ll need to make sure that your point of sale has the capabilities of actually handling another store location without adding more work for you. If you plan on hiring more employees for your store, you’ll also want to know that the solution you choose can easily be learned so onboarding new staff won’t take up too much of your time. As your team grows, it’s essential that your point of sale has a clock in and clock out system that uses some type of identification technique to manage the working schedules of your staff. This is crucial when you expand your business and look to spend more time on sales and business operations instead of tedious administration work.

Michelle Yuan is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing at Bindo, a cloud-based iPad point-of-sale with a web and mobile storefront enabling online shopping for the end consumer. Previously, she worked at J.P. Morgan Chase and has a Bachelors of Economics from Columbia University. She can be reached at [email protected].