Choosing a point of sale solution for your company can be overwhelming. There are so many options on the market today that it’s hard to know where to begin. You might even have the impulse to put it off for another year and make do with the old system you have.
But, deep down you know that’s not the right choice. Retail is undergoing a seismic shift and is more competitive than ever. To grow profitably and delight your customers, you know you need an edge: retail management tools that give you the ability to compete with the retail giants, and a way to gain visibility into your business that allows you to be agile and make data-driven decisions.
Now that you’ve acknowledged that it’s time to change the game, let’s make it easier and give you a framework to break it down. Here are 5 tips on how to approach choosing the right software for your retail business.
Make a list of your current pain points, follow that with a wish list.
This is pretty straightforward. All those things that drive you crazy about your current system, the workarounds, the expensive fixes, the problems – make a specific list. Follow that with a list of all the things that you have always wanted in your POS. Refine and make it as specific as possible. This will become a benchmark in the evaluation of your short listed solution providers. If you’re a larger retail business, you can consider incorporating this into a formal RFP to send out for bids – a helpful way to directly compare providers. Knowing what you want and don’t want is a critical first step.
Develop a set of feature criteria that you cannot live without.
This will help you easily eliminate solutions that absolutely will not work for your retail business. Each merchant is unique, so think deeply about your operational processes and business needs when making this list. Here’s a list of some key criteria to consider:
Cloud-based or on-premise or both
User permissions and roles
Research your options and create a list of possibilities.
Of course, you can always go it alone and spend endless hours online. And hey, you’ll probably do that anyway, but there are some alternatives that might save you some time!
- Ask other retailers who they use. We live in a world that has shifted from information hoarding to information sharing – why not ask?
- Try a free service like SoftwareAdvice and see what their consultants recommend. Just beware these services are also pay to play.
- Ask a retail consultant for guidance. Even if you just engage them for an hour or two of their time, they will have a very solid grasp of the options available.
Place your choices on a framework to evaluate how they compare.
This is a bit time consuming, but graphing your selections on a framework with a few of your key criteria can help you better visualize how different solutions stack up. The framework below has two axes: cloud-based solutions vs. on-premise solutions, and entry-level retailer vs. enterprise retailers. Positioning the software solutions on this axis gives you a clear picture of how the solutions compare and where they are positioned relative to your sweet spot. Ultimately, you want a shortlist of 3-5 solutions that are apple to apple comparisons.
Make your short list and book demos.
Armed with a lot of information and a clear idea of what you are looking for it’s time to engage! Booking demos is a great way to see the product in action and get your preliminary questions answered. Not only that, you also will start to get a feel for each company’s culture. After all, you want to do business with a company (and people) you can trust.
- Are they curious about your business – do they ask questions?
- Do they use high pressure tactics, or do they let you set the pace?
- Are they friendly and knowledgeable?
- Do they share helpful resources?
After going through this process, you will have a very solid foundation for making a thoughtful, and strategic decision, one you can feel confident recommending to your colleagues and boss – after all it’s going to be the engine that helps you take the business to the next level!
At Springboard Retail, we know that switching your retail POS software in not an easy task. Our goal is to make sure you choose the right system for your retail business. If it’s not a great fit, we’ll tell you. Watch our video demo whenever it’s convenient for you, or reach out—we’d love to learn about your retail business!