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Are You Doing Enough with Your Restaurant Data?

Between your POS system, your forecasting/scheduling software, your inventory management system, and every other system you have, you’re collecting data on just about everything that goes on in your restaurant. Maybe you even have some insight into the data of your competitors. Here’s the problem: you have all kinds of data, but not many insights. If you’re not making business decisions based on the data you collect, what good is that data? Here’s how you can use the tools at your disposal to create actionable insights for your business.

Engage your team

Every restaurant manager regularly reviews all kinds of store information—from hard data like sales and labor, to soft data like Voice of Customer information. The group that sees this kind of data the least also happens to be the group that can have the biggest influence over it: your in-store employees.

If you broke a sales record during the Black Friday rush this year, share that info with the team that made it happen. If a customer gave negative or positive feedback about a recent experience, make sure your employees see that feedback. Get your employees engaged with the data and they’ll be more invested in your success.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

One of the best ways to share this data? Using your chat tools, like Crew, Slack, and so forth. Every day, share the wins and results of the day before with the team by sending out a quick message.

Think like a coach

The Chicago Bulls were an unstoppable force in the NBA from 1991 to 1993, due in no small part to the teamwork of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Were Jordan and Pippen great players on their own? Absolutely. But it was the combination of the two that made the Bulls unbeatable.

You probably already know who the Michael Jordan’s are in your restaurant. Take it a step further: in addition to identifying your best players, look for the best combinations of players on your team. If you have 10 percent better sales on nights when Stacie and Josh are working the same shift, schedule them together more often. If Karl isn’t the fastest at prep, but can wash dishes like nobody’s business, put him on the bench during the rush and bring him onto the court when it’s time to close.

You already have all that information by looking at the data at your fingertips! Review your schedule alongside your daily sales report and track results to determine who makes the best team. Take it a step further by observing them the next time they’re scheduled together to find just what makes them so good together. Use what you’ve learned as a coaching tool for the team.

Automate everything you can

A lot of restaurants outsource their payroll, but you probably still have to download your payroll information, package it up, and send it to your vendor—usually days in advance of payday. If you’re paying someone to handle your payroll, why are you still putting so much effort into the process? Many software solutions can automatically export data like payroll and send it where it needs to go. The same goes for sharing security information and sending data to corporate. If you’re doing something by hand, there’s probably software that could be doing it for you—and it might even be something you already own.

Trust but verify

Data can generate important business insights and save you time and effort—but every system needs oversight.

Let’s say your employees use an app like Branch or Earnin, where they can cash in the portion of the paycheck they’ve already earned before their regularly scheduled paycheck gets deposited. Typically, those apps verify their working hours by using their cell phone GPS to prove that they were in the restaurant for the time they claimed. 

Now, let’s say a particularly studious employee has been staying in the store for a couple of hours after every shift to study for schoolbut they’re not working anymore. While these apps are excellent and convenient tools, they are not perfectly accurate unless they’re integrated with your scheduling software. So, they might be tracking time for non-work time spent in the store.

If your employees use one of these apps, you should be regularly checking your scheduling data to make sure it lines up with how much your employees are getting via payrollotherwise, you could be losing money that could get hard to track down the line.

Restaurant data can make your life much easier, but verify that it’s accurate by doing periodic manual audits to make sure it’s behaving the way you expect it to.

Many restaurant software solutions can help you sift through your restaurant data to find actionable insights to use. And the best part is, you may already have these tools at your disposal. Stop sifting through countless rows of spreadsheets and let your data management software do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on using your findings to improve your restaurant.

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Implementing Efficiencies Within Your Restaurant

Whether it’s in the restaurant, financial, healthcare or energy sectors, implementing customer efficiencies that save them time and increase satisfaction affects the entire organization.

When highly successful individuals like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet reach a certain financial level, money becomes secondary to time. Yes, they can always make more money, but time for them becomes a precious resource even more valuable than money. Getting more of it back into one’s day can only be achieved by evaluating where time is being wasted and then using techniques and technologies to recapture that lost commodity.

When operators build efficiency strategies within a restaurant business, the implemented tactics hold a promise of generating more time through the process of eliminating the waste; those strategies can also deliver better value for customers, improve reputability, create more manageable costs, and promote higher staff productivity. Yet, restaurant operators may feel that carving out the initial time to uncover those gaps that often lead to wasted effort is a problem within itself. Another holiday season arrives, busy nights ensue, and that desire to improve operations slips between the cracks. However, operators must consider the wisdom of one of our nation’s great leaders. The importance of spending a little time now to create more efficiency later is no better illustrated than through the words of Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

How to Sharpen the Restaurant Operational Edges

To create a smarter, more efficient operation, let’s start by looking at three areas within the hospitality industry that hold the most potential for improvement:

  • More restaurant staff efficiency
  • Better guest efficiencies
  • Efficiency within the business as a whole

While all three of these areas can be evaluated in total, it’s typically best to focus on one improvement area at a time in these early stages. If a process or technology solution arises that addresses more than one area, then that can be weighed later. For now, isolate each area, uncover the biggest time-wasting area, develop the tactics to use, then plan for implementing and measuring improvements.

Once operational gaps are pinpointed, ruthlessly eliminate those activities so that improvements can be realized. Operators typically have some knowledge of where energy, time, or product waste is occurring, but he or she may not immediately understand how these are causing ripple effects throughout the organization. Obtaining staff input from those employees affected by the issue ultimately ensures knowledge that originates from its source. At the same time, probe deeper by asking staff what other areas need improvements. Soliciting staff opinion will ultimately help confirm their value to the team and instill partial ownership of the solutions once implemented. From this input, select a minimum of two issue-prone annoyances to tackle, and begin.

Most of the time restaurant operations continue day-by-day in the manner in which they ended the day before. However, by examining present day organizational problems against the solutions that can lead to more productive operations, extra time can magically appear so that other areas of the business can receive the focus they deserve.

Creating Stellar Staff with Efficiencies 

Gathering staff feedback for problem areas can often set in motion the answer to the problem at the outset—improved employee attitudes. When employees don’t feel heard, they shut down and problems ensue. Every team member’s attitude, from the head chef to front of house hosts, all the way down to the high school junior who sweeps the floors will improve through regular visits from management who listen to their suggestions. According to McKinsey & Company, productivity improves by 20–25 percent in organizations with connected employees. Operations will run smoother when communication flows and efficiencies are put in place.

A few of the restaurant problems that arise in restaurants without staff efficiencies include:

  • Low staff performance
  • Stress-filled shifts that increase safety risks
  • Poor communication between teams
  • Increased staff turnover

Today’s restaurant staff expects to work in a productive environment and that often means operators must implement technology to help them meet and exceed customer needs. Putting a point of sale (POS) system in place may be one of those technologies that illustrate how management values time for the staff. If servers have used a POS system at other restaurants where they’ve worked previously, once hired to work in a restaurant operation without one can add to frustrations and wasted time.

If a POS system is already in place, organizational improvements can be furthered by implementing technology that builds upon the time saved at the point of sale. Many digital operation platforms that integrate with a wide variety of POS systems can automate the kitchen while giving front of house staff the tools to improve management of guests.

Ensuring Grateful Guests with Efficiencies

Nothing turns away customers like a crowded restaurant with long wait lines, only to discover their workaround for that scenario—a reserved table—has been scheduled for the wrong time, or double-booked. If this occurs far too often within the organization, technology exists to correct the problem. A guest management platform can improve areas that satisfy guests and staff alike.

Some of the issues that occur in restaurants that have not deployed a restaurant management platform are:

  • Unorganized wait staff
  • Inability to manage online reservations
  • Dwindling guest traffic
  • Failure to quickly respond to guest complaints

As with improved efficiencies for staff, guests also appreciate being heard, so from the get-go, implement a method to start collecting customer feedback. An operation can’t improve guest satisfaction if it does not listen and respond quickly to complaints or suggestions. Wagering a guess as to why customers aren’t returning for their next dining experience is operating with one hand tied behind the back when so many digital solutions are available to facilitate the collection of guest feedback at the end of every meal.

Whether it’s in the restaurant, financial, healthcare or energy sectors, implementing customer efficiencies that save them time and increase satisfaction affects the entire organization. Last year, the Temkin Group, a thought leader in the experience economy, stated that a moderate increase in the customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.

Affecting the Entire Operation through Efficiencies

When implemented, restaurant efficiencies rival the banking industry’s secret sauce: compounding interest. And by now, the financially astute know that the sooner you begin, the more you’ll have when you need it. The same is true for restaurant technology and the efficiencies the right solution can provide. Additions in efficiency add up quickly; when a restaurant brand begins scaling, technology improvements today pay huge dividends later.

As an operator ditches the inefficiencies of pen and paper for a kitchen automation solution, back of house operations become nimble and highly responsive to changes in the front of the house. This technology adoption also increases staff cooperation where a previously siloed team with an “us against them” mindset is transformed into one where everyone feels they are working on the same team to achieve a common goal—customer satisfaction.

With the right kitchen automation system, busy kitchens have access to real-time production information, better bin management, programmable prep times, and from a management level, operators can access an enterprise portal to view data anywhere they are. If kitchen operations still run on spreadsheets, then an upgrade is in order to maximize efficiency. Without an automated kitchen, individual restaurant functions suffer, and time is wasted from front of house to back of house.

Here are some of the problems experienced by restaurants that have not automated kitchen operations:

  • Out of date inventories
  • Poor stock management and rotation
  • Inadequate forecasting of stock levels
  • Inability to address restaurant trends such as off-premises dining

When time isn’t set aside to anticipate trends and the technologies that address upcoming trends like ghost kitchens, a rise in third-party delivery companies, and off-premise dining, competitors can quickly get a leg up and surpass any past gains an operator may have made. Even though the restaurant industry is known for its low margins, operators can do more with less, but not without the technologies in place to enable that transition and enable more time for staff, guests and the overall operation.

Restaurant efficiencies are critical for long-term survival. They save businesses from further earning declines; they improve growth, but best of all, they ensure a pleasurable dining experience for all parties involved.

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Types of POS Systems Available in Singapore

So you need to get a point-of-sales (POS) system for your outlet. What kinds of point-of-sales systems are popular in Singapore? What can they do, and what should you know about them?

Singapore has a pretty wide selection of POS systems – a simple Google search will tell you that. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the variety available, so this guide was put together to help make your search a little easier.

First off, POS systems can be divided into two types: Legacy POS  and Tablet (or Cloud-based) POS.


Traditional/ Legacy POS systems

Legacy POS: Also known as “on-site” or “traditional” POS systems, they store data locally and run on a closed internal network – in other words, the POS system is essentially a PC in your restaurant and you can only access your data there. They are typically bulkier and older – usually running on Linux or Windows software.

Cloud-based/ Tablet POS

Cloud-Based POS: Also referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud-based POS systems are Web-hosted and have their information accessible online. That means you can access your restaurant’s data anytime, anywhere, on a browser. They are newer-generation and more lightweight (run on tablets), catering to the modern day need for accessibility.


Which is better?

The answer really depends on what you want out of your POS system. One size usually doesn’t fit all and some brand design to expand rapidly to many outlets where another one happy with single store. We give you some pointers below that can help you choose what’s best for you.

iPad ordering ≠ Cloud-based POS

Some traditional POS systems do have iPad ordering capabilities, meaning that while your waiters can take orders on iPads,  you still need a POS terminal, which is also where all your data is stored. 

With these legacy POS systems, you will need to buy an additional iPad licence (a few hundred dollars) for each device on top of the basic POS terminal.

As you can see, some brands of POS serve both retail and F&B clients – in some cases the software is different and specialised for each kind of business (like Raptor) but in other cases, the same software serves both, with some features going unused. Most POS accept different modes of payment (such as NETs, Mastercard and Visa) and all you need is a credit card terminal, which you can get easily enough from the banks.


Restaurant-specific features

Systems that serve both retail and restaurants might not have all the functions you may want to run your restaurant optimally

For example, some POS systems do not have table layouts, meaning they cannot display where all the tables in your restaurant are located and their current status. Some F&B owners and managers find this feature very important. Likewise, a POS system that can be used for retail might not have other restaurant-specific features like queue management or photo displays for menu items, which make it easier for waitstaff to recognise dishes – especially useful for big menus.

Pricing

It’s important to note that as the layout, needs and concept of every F&B outlet is different, there is no fixed price for any POS system out there – they are customised for your restaurant. 

Legacy POS systems will probably have a higher upfront costs because they are one-time payments. As for Cloud POS, there are usually monthly payments due to the online data storage. The number of devices you may need will determine the price you end up paying.

“Lifetime price” or “one-time payment” does not necessarily mean that you only pay once. 

Hardware

For many traditional POS quotations, the one-time payment includes a 1-year warranty for your POS terminal. After the first year, you will be required to pay for a maintenance package or extended warranty to ensure that you are covered should your POS terminal break down.

If the point-of-sales system runs on Apple iPad or Android devices, the warranty comes under the individual POS hardware provider (e.g. Apple) and you pay the same maintenance fees any other consumer pays. 

Check with your POS vendor if you can only purchase hardware from them. It is important that you have alternative option and not retrict to purchase from the vendor only. Afterall, one of the reason that you choose a modern cloud based POS is to have hardware agnostic and able to buy it anywhere.

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Scalability

Scalability does not mean open another new outlets, but it is about flexibility that the platform design to adapt to your store. For example, you can ask if the POS software has a CRM built in, and is the CRM data visible across all outlets. You will be surprise that some branded POS may not even have such function. And the handicap may cost you more that what you try to save.

Another example will be open API, or in a nutshell, if the POS vendor allow other third-party cloud application to connect to their platform to retrieve data. Who knows you decided to move to another platform later and realise that you have no way to extract data out from the provider.

Support

Support is another additional cost that is seldom factored in when considering the price of a POS system – and that’s a crucial mistake. Most POS quotations will include a training for management and staff on how to use the system, but extra trainings will be chargeable. Few companies provide onsite support, and those that do charge exorbitant amounts by the hour. Find a point of sales provider with a service and support package that you’re comfortable with before committing for the long haul, you’ll thank yourself later.

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Modernizing the Retail store Infrastructure with cost consideration

Short-sighted retailers have under-invested in their in-store technology and are currently struggling with legacy IT infrastructures that are complex, expensive and outdated.

Retail executives must decide if patching their in-store infrastructures and sticking to what they know is the answer, or if it is best to rip and replace expensive in-store infrastructures and venture into the unknown. Many are discovering that it is possible to modernize existing in-store infrastructures and remain competitive for years to come – without breaking the bank. 

To uncover how retailers can best leverage the power of the software-defined store to reinvent their infrastructure and some questions to ask as below.

What pain points drive retailers to consider a software-defined store?

Today’s store IT infrastructure is complicated. Systems are thick-deployed, with device-level software/hardware compatibility concerns. As customers demand more, having to update both hardware and software is often time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. 

Some retailers face an impending deadline to overcome operating system end-of-life challenges (Windows 10 compatibility) with their existing point of sale, so the clock is ticking.

With the transformational speed of change within retail, it’s unclear what to invest in to modernize and stay ahead. Adding new innovations to inflexible systems is challenging. So, there’s a risk of buying the wrong thing and being stuck ― a flexible platform is key to survival.

Also, legacy systems are expensive to maintain. IT budgets are eaten up by maintenance and support, with nothing left to spend on innovation. Organic and acquisition growth is being compromised by the complexity of legacy store infrastructures when attempting to deploy systems into new stores.

What benefits can retailers achieve by implementing virtual servers?

Faster store acquisition and organic growth. A software-defined store architecture allows retailers to create a single software image of an existing store IT ecosystem and deploy it across new stores with minimal intervention. So, they can stand up new stores fast — without replacing hardware — significantly reducing costs.

There is less downtime for planned and unplanned maintenance. The software-defined store operates in a resilient architecture that reduces the impact of utility, hardware or software faults. A dual-edge server provides high availability for critical systems that didn’t have it before. 

Systems feature simplified issue identification and resolution. With virtualization, retailers can remotely monitor and resolve equipment issues with fewer interventions and expensive site visits. They can centrally and precisely control store IT across a large store estate. 

In addition, retailers enjoy reduced hardware purchase and ongoing maintenance costs. Virtualizing existing POS registers extends the life of existing hardware (by moving software applications and operating systems off the device and onto the virtualized server). This eliminates device-level hardware/OS compatibility issues, and can lead to measurably improved performance. When it’s time to upgrade hardware, retailers can buy lower-cost, “thinner” hardware. 

And finally, the solution increases staff productivity. With virtualization, a single device can access multiple systems. A cashier can switch between the POS and a back-office system without leaving the lane, or a manager could use an inventory tablet as a mobile POS during peak times.

A software-defined store architecture allows retailers to replicate the systems easily and much more scalable when expanding to more stores in the future.

Based on your experience, what advice can you offer retailers looking to get started?

Start by uncovering the biggest IT challenges they face in the stores to realize immediate benefits. Most often, these issues cause the biggest pain:

  • POS hardware/software/OS compatibility concerns
  • Reliability of critical systems needs to be improved 
  • Business processes that require specialized hardware (or multiple pieces of hardware) to accomplish a task

Retailers must understand that a software-defined approach isn’t about solving a single IT issue (like a POS upgrade) – it’s a fundamental strategy that benefits every IT project going forward. They should think about long-term IT operational efficiency gains. By remotely and centrally controlling store IT, retailers can significantly reduce the expense of IT teams to patch and fix store IT issues. 

We also think it’s important for retailers to understand the difference between traditional data center-focused virtualization and a system purpose-built for retail. Clients who are familiar with the data center systems are concerned that additional IT staff or virtualization expertise is required – but that isn’t true with our solution. We’ve designed the infrastructure to be self-maintaining, with security features built-in, and we’ve addressed things such as POS peripherals and retail system workloads. Understanding these differences is important to realizing the true value of a software-defined approach to retail.

What can retailers do to future proof their store systems?

Start with a flexible in-store infrastructure. It’s the key to everything else. Don’t “rip and replace.” Likely, the existing system works ― it just needs flexibility. By decoupling the hardware from software, and adding cloud-based API services, retailers can enhance what they have today and be able to innovate faster for tomorrow ― maximizing ROI all the way.

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How To Find the Best POS System Without Second Guessing

On the surface, they all look the same and promise a similar set of essential features, the ability to accept credit card transactions, inventory tracking, customer loyalty tools, and employee management just to name a few. However, choosing a point of sale system is not a decision that retailers should make lightly.

This powerful tool is the lifeline of your day-to-day operations, empowering you to better manage all areas of your business, including supply chain management, marketing, accounting, and staffing. So, how do you determine the best POS system for your small business? Not to worry, we did the legwork so that you can avoid making a costly, uninformed decision.

Benefits of Using a POS System

Before we can address the qualities of a ‘best in class’ retail POS system, we first need to discuss what modern POS systems are capable of.

Enhanced Sales Transactions and Payments
Today’s point of sale system performs the same basic functions as an electronic cash register such as calculating change and sales. However, it was designed to operate as an all-in-one solution that provides robust inventory management and control, omnichannel capabilities like integrated ecommerce, and access to customer relationship management, marketing, and reporting tools.

Supply Chain and Inventory Management
With most modern POS systems, keeping track of your store’s inventory is easier than ever. Today’s point of sale software allows retailers and managers to instantly import their inventory data and keep track of when stock items are low.

Marketing and Customer Outreach
Today’s point of sale software allows retail businesses to leverage the latest in digital marketing, enabling you to coordinate email blasts, encourage engagement on social media channels and promote discounts.

Staff Management
With modern POS software, you can oversee your employees, track performance, build intuitive schedules and ensure that your store is running smoothly, even when you’re not there.

Data Reporting and Analytics
In the modern world of sales, data can tell you everything about your business. It pays to know what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do to boost your outreach. Many small business owners avoid analytics because they feel like they won’t understand the reports, but with today’s POS software and user-friendly design, makes reporting simple to view, understand and export. You can even see real-time data in the palm of your hand — with a smartphone app that’s integrated into your POS system.

Of course, while many modern POS systems offer all of these capabilities, the ones that stand out have a particular set of qualities that are rare in the market. What you want to look for in a POS system is the ability support every aspect of your business.

Without further ado, here are some features to consider when choosing the best POS system for your small business.

The Key Features of a Quality POS System

If you were to boil down the goal of a retail store, what would you say is the most important aspect? It’s likely that you thought of sales first, and for a good reason. A store that is unable to sell its wares will not last long in today’s competitive retail market.

The best POS system makes selling as easy and organized as possible. Here are a few things you should expect — or rather, demand — from your POS software, to help support your business.

Short Transaction Times
Whether your goal is to be a high volume seller or to corner a niche market, transactions that take too long will be a drain on your staff and your customers. See, spending too much time processing a sale comes at a significant opportunity cost; customers will grow impatient, your employees will get frustrated and be too occupied to handle other duties throughout the store. The best retail POS systems make it easy to access product information in the computer and ring up sales.

Investing in a mobile, iPad-based solution like Vend also allows retailers to process a high-volume of orders during peak hours without slowing down. The iPad’s flexible, portable design quickly turns a fixed POS station into a mobile register making it easy to reduce wait times by processing transactions mobility.

User-Friendly and Customizable Interface
The best POS systems have an intuitive user interface that is easy for customers and staff to navigate when they are engaged at the point of purchase. One of the capabilities that tend to separate an average POS system from the best retail POS systems on the market is customization. A customizable POS system allows users to do things that you might not think of first when shopping for new software, like toggling sales tax, managing add-ons to sales and providing notes to avoid misunderstandings in the fulfillment of a transaction. Not only will a simple, user-friendly system save time you’d otherwise spend training your staff, but it also allows you to cut down on human error during the checkout process.

All of these little options can be crucial to building a POS package that fits your retail business, rather than molding your business to fit into a static POS software package.

Diverse Payment Types
In the modern world, we’re all going digital, and this includes paying for goods. Retailers that don’t accept all forms of payment are missing out on potential profits. That being said, the best POS system for your budget, is one that has a diverse payment platform that can handle cash, credit, and debit, as well as newer methods such as Apple Pay, and other forms of NFC or contactless payments.

With advancements in payment technology and security, this area is bound to keep on progressing. Your small business needs a POS system that can handle these advancements.

Not only do you want a POS system that can keep up with the evolving payment landscape, but you also want one that offers a seamless payment experience for your customer. What does that mean, exactly? It means that customers want their goods or services, they want stellar customer service, but they don’t really want to be bothered with the actual transaction part of the equation.

A great example of this is rideshare service, Grab. A customer uses the app to to hail a ride, hopefully the driver provides quality customer service, and when the customer arrives at the destination, payment is made with a few clicks. Or if the customer fails to initiate the payment, their card is automatically charged the fare within 24 hours. So, in this case, the actual payment portion of the transaction takes a back seat to the service and quality of the experience.

Ecommerce Integration
In a market where 81 percent of shoppers will look up an item online before making an in-person purchase, ecommerce is more critical to a retailer’s success than ever.

The best retail POS systems allow you to integrate your brick and mortar business with an online webstore where shoppers can browse products and do their preliminary research before visiting your physical store location.

Integration with tried-and-true eCommerce sites like BigCommerce streamline inventory management by syncing items across both online and offline channels, so your inventory is automatically updated whenever you make a sale. Not only will local customers be able to browse your store digitally, but so will the rest of the world — significantly broadening your customer reach and visibility.

Learn How To Grow Your Business with BigCommerce and Vend

Reliable Hardware and Support
Since modern POS software focuses on many of the operational aspects of running a small business, we tend to forget about the actual hardware. Whether you’re setting up a basic cash register to track sales or a robust iPad POS system to manage all aspects of your business, you’re going to need reliable hardware to get the job done.

While POS systems are often judged based on the software and functionality, let’s not forget about the company that provides the software, and ultimately customer support. Will customer care be available to you when you need to troubleshoot errors that can have an impact on your business? Regardless of how reliable a product is, it is important to partner with a point of sale provider that is equipped to offer dedicated support on a variety of channels. This can include email support, an FAQ page, tutorial content, chat, and phone support.

Intelligent Retail Store Management

By now, you know that the best POS system for retailers is one that simplifies the process of running a retail business. This includes day-to-day functions like processing transactions, managing inventory across online and offline channels, and pricing adjustments. However, this is only a portion of what a modern POS system can offer your small business.

Store management has always been important, but before the dawn of easy-to-use POS software, inventory and supply chain duties have always been handled in the traditional, hand on paper method. The problem? Paper can’t calculate totals, or handle short-term sales projections. The best retail POS software is software that empowers small business owners with this data so that they can make smarter business decisions with ease.

Inventory Management in Minutes Not Hours
Imagine the ability to import and manage large inventories with thousands of SKUs within minutes, or set up order triggers so that you never run out of items or miss a sale. Or a platform that gives you the ability to identify best sellers, putting more money in your pocket and hours back in your workweek. A quality point of sale system makes this all possible.

One of the most overlooked wastes of time, money, and human capital is the lack of an efficient method for inventory tracking, yet countless retail stores unknowingly becoming victims of this pitfall. Your POS software should give you the tools to make real-time inventory management simple, fast, and reliable.

Whether you deal with a diverse range of specialized merchandise or you move huge quantities of product in your retail sector, a POS system should be able to handle the inventory management tasks that allow you to track costs and profit margins per item, differentiate between items that have a variety of arrangements, and identify items that are running low.

With quality retail POS software, you’ll never have to worry about having sufficient stock items. How’s that for peace of mind? With a comprehensive sales tracker integrated with your inventory charts, you can set-up stock alerts, automatic reordering based on the timetable for re-stocking and filling your shelves.

We can’t stress it enough: The best retail POS systems are customizable to your unique business needs so that you never have to sacrifice the efficiency of your retail operations.

Marketing Integrations that Boost Your Business
Another huge store management chore is the curation of customer lists and marketing campaigns. Smaller retail stores don’t tend to have the margins in the early going to have a fully operational marketing department, so it’s likely that the marketing duties are going to rest squarely on your shoulders alone.

Thankfully, modern POS features can support your marketing efforts until you have the ability to create smart marketing campaigns on your own. Customer lists to use in compiling email newsletters will ensure that your customers build brand loyalty, and a system that integrates with digital marketing software cultivates the ability to increase sales and grow your business’ reputation.

The best retail POS systems will allow you to interact with your customers, be receptive to reviews and strengthen your brand, directly from one simple source.

Simplified Staff Management, Payroll, and Training
Gone are the days of building employee training regimens, managing time clocks and creating schedules on paper. A great POS system allows you to do all of this from one simple source.

You can control employee permissions, build up-to-the-minute schedules, control training, update employee databases, and oversee the time clock; even when you aren’t physically in your store. For a retail business owner, this is absolutely crucial. The best part is that all this control and oversight allows you to break down staff performance and single out top performers and the employees that need extra training.

Additionally, a great retail POS program can make other aspects of staff management a lot easier. Don’t have the money for in-house accounting? No problem! Modern POS software can integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks to ensure that your employee payroll is well managed, and you never have to exceed your projected labor budget — and that can be worth its weight in gold.

Reporting with Return on Investment in Mind

You may think that you’ve heard everything that POS software can do to support a smooth-running retail business, but consider this: almost every part of the retail process can be fine-tuned and improved using data and analytics.

Do you want to judge the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns? Or see which of your brand’s products are selling the highest relative to their market alternatives? Maybe you just want to ensure that you’re addressing your customers concerns and having positive customer interactions. All of this information that was previously based on an inexact science is available thanks to analytics.

Sales data can ultimately give you a detailed look at how your various product lines are performing, as well as each individual staff member. In turn, this information can help you make informed decisions about personnel and whether or not you should decide to take a low performing product off the market, or improve it based on feedback like customer reviews.

The best retail POS software can compile sales data over time and show you the trajectory of your store’s sales developments. The success of new products or new team members become more clearly visible than ever before through management of a top notch retail POS system.

Here are a few ways the best retail POS systems available to small business owners can improve sales.

Understand Your Customer and Fine-Tune Your Marketing
One thing data can absolutely provide for your retail business is a solid, complete understanding of your consumer. With analytics made available by a high quality retail POS system, you can draw up customer personas and tease out the qualities that your store must have to entice your audience.

This goes hand-in-hand with your store’s marketing efforts. This data can allow you to judge your campaigns, see who views your advertising the most, and get a complete view of your marketing ROI. What could be more useful than if all this capacity was made available for you in the palm of your hand, as part of a POS system package?

End of the Day Reporting That Brings Peace of Mind
At the end of each day, compare customer traffic with total revenue and measure the effectiveness of storewide sales, promotions, and coupons. The best retail POS systems will provide a register summary for the entire day, so you can confirm payment amounts and check for discrepancies each day.

Making Business Decisions On-The-Go
The best retail POS software will package all your data and analytics reporting in a simple, portable package, whether you opt for an iPad POS or want to manage your business from your phone. In today’s market, POS software must come with a mobile app for a constantly available, up-to-date snapshot of how your business is performing at all times.

No longer do you have to be afraid to leave your store for more than a few hours. With the level of remote access and control allowed to you by way of a great retail POS system, you can roam freely while never losing grip on your business.

Sales Forecasting for a Winning Sales Floor
An essential aspect of running a successful retail business is understanding inventory and sales trends. This allows you to accurately forecast future sales and minimize the risk of overstocking slow moving inventory. Viewing inventory and sales reports make it easy to understand historical performance that empowers the owner to make smarter purchasing decisions in the future.

So What is the Best Retail Point of Sale System?

So, you’ve found a POS system that checks all these boxes. What’s next?
The best retail POS system provides you, the small business owner, with the tools and information that minimizes the stress of running a retail business. So far, we’ve gone over, what you should expect from a modern POS system and how they can support every aspect of running a retail business.

But now we’re going to give you the broad qualities that your POS system should ultimately provide for you, your business and your budget, regardless of your unique needs. The best retail POS system is…

Customizable
Your service provider should offer you the ability to customize and include as many or as few of the support features we mentioned as your business requires. While it’s great to know that your POS system can have positive effects on all ends of the retail spectrum, your unique retail store may not need in-depth functions.

Thus, the best retail POS system will be the one that you can customize to use however you need it, without sacrificing functionality and reliable use.

User-Friendly and Easy to Operate
None of what your POS system can do for you matters if you can’t use it and teach others to use it in a short period of time. What’s the point in having a complicated iPad POS platform that’s variable and portable if you don’t know how to use it? A great POS system is easy to use and a great POS service provider will allow you to test out your software package before making the final purchase. Reach out to providers that seem to offer the best retail POS system on the market. Sometimes hands-on experience is the only way to find out if a certain POS system is the one for you and your business.

Accurate
When dealing with small margins, supply chain management, and up-to-the-minute data reporting, you can’t afford to not trust your information. The best POS service providers build software that gives you reliable, accurate and comprehensive information, on profits, sales, customer data, marketing ROI and much, much more.

When peace of mind in your POS system choice can be the difference between success and failure in retail, you deserve the absolute best retail POS system on the market.

Affordable
Going along with your ability to customize your retail POS, your system should be affordable at each level of feature simplicity. Let’s say you need the full range of support services mentioned already, in order to seamlessly track inventory, sales and coordinate staffing, marketing, and all around store management.

The best POS system on the market for your needs will be able to offer all these services at a cost that works for your unique budget and business needs.

Innovative and Evergreen You don’t want a POS system that becomes obsolete the next time a new payment method comes out or an innovation in retail inventory management becomes standard.

The best retail POS system is one that can be updated to stay current as the retail environment changes constantly.