For business owners, opening your first store is one of the most exciting, yet scary, endeavors. Opening a store is more than finding the perfect location. It means getting a sign made, ordering promotional items, arranging the store and purchasing a point of sale (POS) system to process transactions. Choosing the right point of sale system for your business can be overwhelming, but choosing the right system can save you time and money in the future. Here are five steps for choosing the right POS system for your business:

Determine the needs of your business

Every business has a different set of needs. Some businesses are looking for the top-of-the line system that can process every type of payment, while other business owners are just looking to accept cash and credit/debit cards. When determining your needs, you need to take into consideration which types of payments you’re going to accept, your inventory and how customer information is stored. If you already have a POS system and are looking to upgrade, make a note of the missing features on your existing system. Also, write down any special needs that your business might have in the future such as multiple locations, mobile payments, e-commerce site, coupons or rewards programs.

Set a budget

The costs of POS systems vary depending on the size of your business and the features you’re looking for. You also have to decide whether to go with a one-time licensing fee or a monthly recurring fee for a software-as-a-service solution. When you set your budget, don’t just think about how much you’re about to spend. Think about the money you’ll save in the long run with a reliable POS system. POS systems save you time and money, and picking the right one will pay for itself.

Compare different POS systems

It’s important to do some research. Talk to other businesses in your industry about what POS system they’re using and how it’s working for them. Look at vendor websites and read the reviews. Call vendors and ask about their products and services, but don’t be afraid to ask about the company itself. When you buy a POS system, you’re also getting yourself into a relationship with the company. It’s important that you have an understanding of the systems, as well as, the companies.

See the POS system in action

Once you know everything there is to know about the POS systems on paper, it’s time to see them in action. There are two ways to go about this: contacting vendors for local references and asking for a free trial. When you contact vendors for local references, they’ll give you a list of local businesses who use their systems. Then, you can reach out to those businesses to see how the POS system works. If you’re unable to contact other businesses, ask for a free trial. Most vendors will let you try out their software so you can see how their system works.

Installing your system

Once you’ve chosen a vendor and a system, it’s time to get your system up and running. It’s important that you learn about installation and set-up before signing the papers. Taking the time to get the set up right will make your entire POS experience better. Your vendor should provide you with instructions on how to properly install your new system, but they should also be available to provide support if you have any questions.

Although these five things are a lot to think about, the benefits of getting the right point of sale system for your business are worth it. A reliable POS system will save you time and money and will help you make more educated business decisions in the future.

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