What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Point of Sale
So, by this point, you’ve chosen your restaurant concept. You’ve built your menu, begun hiring your staff and selected the perfect location (perhaps not in that particular order). Now, it’s time to pick the point of sale (POS) solution that will be the central nervous system helping you run and manage your restaurant or retail business. But, when you’re going through the point of sale selection process, it’s important to look at this purchase from a holistic standpoint. Don’t be fooled by smoke-and-mirrors selling strategies. In words popularized by the illustrious free-market economist, Milton Friedman, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Here are three factors anyone in the market for a point of sale should consider before making a buying decision.
The Devil is in the Details
We get it, an account executive comes in hot offering you discounts or free upfront costs on hardware, software, and services, oh my! They dazzle you with words like cloud-based platform, third-party app integrations, and 24/7 customer support. You feel like you’ve struck gold, and you’re starting to understand how Aladdin felt when he stumbled upon his genie. But, even “free” comes with a cost, which you’ll see in the details of any merchant agreement, and in this article by Reforming Retail. The terms within the merchant agreement are vital—they are the base that calculates your total financial exposure. A shorter agreement term equates to less financial exposure, while a longer-term can be detrimental to your business. To prepare you, here are a few things you need to look for in your merchant agreement:
- Does the POS provider have the ability to raise processing rates during the lifetime of your contract?
- Can the POS provider increase the cost of software fees? If so, what’s the expected increase?
- What happens if you need to cancel while under contract? How much would you need to pay if you do need to cancel?
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a genius to take your long-term budget into account when selecting a POS provider. By doing the math before you sign on the dotted line (admittedly an outdated metaphor), you will save yourself from being trapped in a raw deal.
Know Your Features
Every POS system will offer the same basic capabilities; these include credit and debit card acceptance, reporting, and inventory management. While the majority of POS providers offer similar features, every provider will execute these features differently.
Take delivery management, for instance. While all POS providers offer this feature, one provider’s option may better serve your business. Certain providers will have fee implementation within their systems—designed to save you time and increase your efficiency—but at a monetary cost. And if your business serves a large audience, look for a provider whose delivery management capabilities support larger geographical footprints.
Whatever features you prioritize, make sure your POS provider offers solutions that align with your service (and revenue) needs. Here are a few features for you to consider:
- Online Ordering
- Delivery Management
- Customer Loyalty
- Data Security
- Offline Capability
- Third-party App Integrations
As you consider your options, explicitly ask providers how they differ from their competition on any features that matter to you.
Choose a POS that will Grow with You
Growing and expanding your business may or may not be something that’s already on your mind. If it is, make sure the POS solution you select is capable of growing with your business. If your goal is to expand to an additional 10 locations over a certain amount of time, you’re going to want the peace of mind knowing that your POS can handle that type of exponential growth. Where growth is concerned, choosing a cloud-based solution is the ideal decision. Yes, I’m aware that I’ve mentioned “cloud-based solution” in each main point. I studied psychology, and I have this subliminal messaging thing down. All biases aside, even large organizations have switched from legacy POS solutions to less expensive cloud-based options (i.e. Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, and Pizza Patron – just to name a few). A cloud-based solution allows you to manage your entire business, no matter how many locations, from one central place. Data and reporting are available on a central console, and changes like menu updates can go live with the push of a button. Choosing the right cloud-based solution will undoubtedly lead to ongoing success for your business.
Ready to take the next steps in your point of sale selection? Connect with one of our product experts to learn how Revel’s platform can support your business needs.