How to choose the right POS software for your specialty retail business

Serving more than 3,500 small business retailers in several countries, Tower Systes has a wealth of experience in advising retailers, especially in switching retailers from software not ideal to circumstances.

Here is an article we recently wrote to help small business retailers navigate their POS software choices…

HOW TO CHOOSE POS SOFTWARE FOR YOUR INDEPENDENT RETAIL BUSINESS.

The POS software you choose for your business is an important decision. Get it right and the business could prosper and become considerably more valuable. Get it wrong and it could cost you plenty.

In thinking about the software you want, think about your business. Here are some headline level thoughts and suggestions.

  1. If you see your business as specialist in nature, the software you choose should be specialist.
  2. If part of your business pitch is to shop local, choosing locally made and supported software supports your pitch. Local software is software made and supported in Australia.
  3. If you want to be known as the local specialist, you need software that helps you do this consistently and effectively.
  4. If you do repairs or maintenance of any sort, you need software that can handle this.
  5. If you sell items bundled such as a rod, reel and line pack, you need software that can handle this.
  6. If you are in a tourist area and sell to people once, or once a year, you need software with loyalty facilities to maximise their rare visits to your shop.
  7. If you sell products by weight, you need software that can do this.

Think about these things and think about what you want in software in your business to help you stand out.

There are many generic and cheap point of sale systems in the marketplace. Price does matter. You would know that in your business. Think about the shopper who wants a full kit but says they want the cheapest. Think about your advice to them. If you say price does matter and that you get what you pay for, the same is true with retail business software.

A small higher price today for the right software could save many times the gap between it and cheap generic software.

So, work out what you want. This must come first, ahead of any budget.

Given that you can lease or even rent software, the capital cost is best assessed as a weekly cost on the business. This makes comparing systems easier. Once you work out the weekly cost and tote up what you get for this in terms of support serves and software functionality you can reasonable compare the different systems.

If you are not sure whether a software package will serve your needs, don’t choose it. You are better off saying no than fighting with the software and the supplier to get it working exactly as you want. However, it is likely that you will need to change some business processes to suit the software you do ultimately choose.

Be flexible. Once you have chosen software, follow the advice provided by the software company and the expert they send to your business to train you. If they suggest changes to your business processes, embrace them. While changing what you do can be frustrating, software designed specifically independent specialty retail businesses is specialist in nature and it does what it does based on years of development and feedback from many customers.

Be disciplined. Software is like a machine. It needs the right fuel. For software, that fuel is data. Ensure everyone in your business is disciplined in how the software is used. From the moment stock comes into the business to when it is sold. Track it. This will help you make better business decisions.

Be engaged. Your software company will want a two-way relationship If you have suggestions, share them Play a role in the continued evolution of the software. This helps you and other businesses in your channel.

Save time. The right software will help you eliminate manual processes. Embrace these opportunities as much as possible. Time saved is time you can invest in yourself or in the business. Seek time saving opportunities out.

Be realistic. Any new software will be a challenge. Know that you will have some rough days learning the new things. Accept these by focussing on the main goal of enjoyment and efficiency once you know the software well.

The software you choose reflects your business. Take your time. Be certain about what you want. Invest well and the right software will easily pay for itself.

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