How to Choose Your POS System And Put it to Optimal Use

by Sean Bryant on February 14, 2014

Point of SaleYou might be asking yourself, what is a POS system? A point of sale system basically handles your sales transaction. Because it is what brings in revenue to your business, it is a very important aspect of your venture. You want to put in the time researching and comparing the different systems available in the market and find the one that will suit your business best. This is particularly essential today, as the typical ‘cash register’ is being replaced by many more modern and increasingly smaller, simpler systems. A lot of them go beyond facilitating sales transactions and can also indicate your inventory levels, most sold items, your sales performance compared to other days etc. Because so many options are available, selecting the right kind of POS for your business might take you a few hours or even days of research.  This article lists a few ways to find the most efficient POS system for your company.


Your POS of choice will differ depending on the industry your company is in. If you own an online boutique, your needs will be different than if you work at a restaurant. Some systems offer different features for specific types of business. For example, if you work in the field of hospitality/food industry, you may need your POS to be able to split checks, format receipts with space for tips and gratuity, open and close tabs, check delivery orders and inventory levels and even reserve seating. If you own a retail venture, you will want your POS system to apply discounts, coupons and other reductions, find out the price of an item, issue or pay with a variety of payment methods (from traditional cash and debit/credit cards to gift cards or other mobile/internet accounts), enter in customer’s information, and of course be able to read and enter SKUs or barcodes.  As you can tell two different industries will need two different POS systems. Ask yourself what features you will need for your POS and explore your point of sale options from according to these criteria.


One important factor to consider when choosing a POS is the ability to quickly learn how to use the point of sale system. Of course, starting to use a brand new system may take time, but you should not be constantly relying on a user’s guide weeks into purchasing one. A good rule of thumb is that a new employee should be able to learn to use the point of sale system in about less than 3 hours. If it takes more than a couple hours to learn how to process a sales transaction using it, you may have bought a system that’s too complex for your business. A great way to find out which system is easiest for you to use is to get a free demo or take advantage of free trials. That way, you have enough time to see which system is best for your venture.

Platform of Use

The point of sale system you choose may also depend on the platform you want to use it from. Many POS systems such as mobile device checkouts are usually based off the Cloud (all data and transactions are used with the Internet.). These can be very useful if you have a smaller venture and plan on having an internet connection at all times at your location. If you don’t have or need Wi-Fi in your place of business and want your sensitive business information to stay at your place of work, you might want to rely on a more traditional point of sale system.

Customer Service

If you have an issue with your point of sale system (which should be extremely rare), you will need to have reliable customer service available to help you in case the system crashes or if you simply have questions about how to use your POS. Check the quality of the customer service of your preferred POS system before you purchase it. Try calling the support number and find out how accessible and helpful the support system is. If it doesn’t perform to your expectations, it is recommended not to follow-up with the company as you may find yourself stranded and lose money if your POS stops working.

There are many aspects to investigate before purchasing a point of sale system. However, the essential areas you should focus on are the needs of your industry and what features you will require, the convenience of the POS system, its platform of use and customer service. Sometimes talking to other business owners in the field can also provide essential information on what POS systems work and which ones don’t.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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