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Don't Make Them Wait: Should You Use a Point of Sale or Cash Register?

Business.com / Financial Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are some important considerations when you’re deciding to invest in a point-of-sale (POS) system or a cash register.

Your customers’ checkout experience is a key factor in whether they leave your business with a positive impression that makes them want to return, recommend it to others, or swear your business off for good.

In fact, research cited by behavior intelligence firm Brickstream indicates that half of all customers who have to wait five minutes in a checkout line won’t purchase again.

Here are some important considerations when you’re deciding to invest in a point-of-sale (POS) system or a cash register. 

Related Article: Cha-Ching: 10 Point-of-Sale Systems That Do More Than Just Sell

Is Your Current Inventory Management Process Efficient?

Between brick-and-mortar environments, E-commerce, buying online and picking up in store, customers have options when it comes to making purchase decisions. If you don’t have the product customers want in stock, they can likely find a retailer that has, in a matter of minutes. Yet as small-business consultant and author Ronald Bond points out, inventory management is one of the most time-consuming tasks small-business owners handle.

A POS system can help you manage inventory based on real-time demand, with features that allow you to issue purchase orders, receive inventory into stock, and move items from one retail location to another. If you operate an E-commerce site, a POS also ensures you provide customers with an accurate view of inventory on hand, in real time.

Do You Expect to Grow at Some Point? 

The ability to grow your business means new opportunities, but it may also create more internal complexity. If you plan to grow your operations to include additional sales channels or products, a POS can ease the transition and any changes you may make to your inventory and operations.

Can You Guarantee Customers Will Not Have to Wait in Line?

While you may have success luring customers to buy impulse items placed strategically in the checkout line, making customers wait in line to pay also means they could decide to forego the purchase altogether. In fact, studies show the mere presence of a checkout line can deter purchase behavior, even when the wait time is minimal. Armed with mobile POS tablets, your staff can process the customer’s payment the moment he or she is ready to buy, from anywhere. 

Related Article:Ways to Pay: Credit Card Processing Tools All Small Businesses Should Use

Do You Want to Minimize the Amount of Time Spent Reconciling Transactions?

Cash registers provide transaction records, but the detail isn’t as robust or easy to retrieve as that contained in a point-of-sale system. If you need to research a past transaction due to inconsistency in your own financial records or find a record of a past purchase made by a customer, the process could take several hours. A POS system allows you to search past transactions by a number of variables to reduce the time you spend sifting through purchase history and transaction logs. 

Do You Want to Improve Your Marketing Response and Sales Efforts?

According to retail expert Justin Honaman, the level of interaction a retailer has with its customers, especially in brick-and-mortar environments, has become a point of differentiation that retailers of all sizes can embrace to remain competitive. A POS makes it easy for sales staff to access information about what customers have purchased in the past to personalize conversations and guide suggestive selling. A POS system also equips you to send customized offers to customers for increased marketing response rates, lower acquisition costs, and improved marketing return on investment. 

Is Your Staff Willing to Adopt New Technology?

You have the authority to dictate which tech tools your business will purchase, but your team must be willing to adapt to new processes before you’ll recognize value from any new technology, including a POS system. Motivate your team to embrace change by inviting them into the decision-making process. Before you begin your POS search, ask your team’s collective opinion on the features they think the system should have, based on their roles and experience with customers.

When you do develop a short list of potential POS vendors, allow the employees who will most frequently use the system to attend provider demos, ask questions; and discuss which systems they find the most useful, user-friendly and relevant. 

Related Article: Mobile Retail: What You Need to Know About The Next Big Thing

POS systems and cash registers both facilitate customer purchases, but there’s far more to building a successful business than the checkout line. If your business needs include inventory management, customer relationship management and improved operational efficiency, consider a POS system.

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