When you're just getting your business off the ground, the best point-of-sale (POS) solution is the one that makes life easiest for the store associate — and the one that fits your tight operating budget, of course.
But as you grow your brand, new challenges start to arise. Suddenly, price isn't always the biggest concern. Your all-in-one Ecom/POS solution is affordable and easy to use, but you find yourself constantly running into limitations. Some limitations can be solved by apps or workarounds, but then your simple, affordable solution can quickly become complicated and expensive.
More than 80 percent of retail sales and experiences still happen in-store. For your business to be successful, you need a point-of-sale that offers the best combination of performance, features, and control available for your stage of growth. If this all sounds familiar, then a dedicated POS solution is probably the next logical step for your business.
If you're unsure whether you need a dedicated POS, here are four signs that it's time to make the jump.
You're Using Too Many Third-Party Apps
Some all-in-one Ecom / POS solutions rely heavily on third-party apps to accomplish basic functionality, such as pricing discounts, loyalty programs, reporting, or even simple inventory management. Having great third-party apps available may help you build the experience you want, but you might find yourself paying for five, 10, or more different apps from different vendors to get features that should probably be included in the core software for free.
Most dedicated POS software includes deep functionality for managing pricing, purchasing, and inventory right out of the box, and some even have built-in reporting tools that rival add-ons costing thousands per year. The best loyalty programs are usually still add-ons, but with more features included in the core software, you can cut down on complexity and cost as well as training time for your staff.
You Can't Effectively Manage Your Products and Inventory
Many all-in-one Ecom / POS solutions fall short when it comes to managing your products and inventory, creating bad experiences for employees and customers. For instance, your solution may require your staff to enter some product information in Ecommerce manually, rather than sharing all product info with the POS. This can lead to incomplete product info that makes your shopping experience inconsistent across your online and in-store channels. Even worse, some all-in-ones have no tools to manage inventory purchasing, counts, or adjustments, leaving your sales margins purely up to guesswork.
Inventory management is core to any good dedicated POS, with native support for purchasing, transfers, counts, and adjustments. A well-integrated POS will share all product and inventory data with your online store, reducing errors and improving accuracy. Remember, product inventory accounts for 65 percent of the cost of running most retail businesses, and it's the source of 100 percent of your profit. The success of your business literally depends on getting this critical operational piece right.
You Can't Control Employee Permissions
With business processes growing more complex and data accuracy becoming more and more important, controlling what your employees can see and do in your business is critical. Frequently, all-in-one retail systems lack detailed roles and permissions to control employee access. For instance, you may want to limit certain employees from seeing margin or sales info or to stop them from discounting certain products without manager approval.
A dedicated POS generally has extensive permission controls built in for every employee role, sometimes even at the individual employee level. This improves accountability by logging all employee activity and helps keep your staff from making costly mistakes until they are properly trained on your processes. Ultimately, you'll be able to trust that your business is being managed properly.
You Have an Existing Retail Stack You Don't Want to Disrupt
With a dedicated POS, you can easily connect to other software and technology that makes up your retail stack.
If you've already installed an online store, email marketing solution, or ERP, you'll want your new POS solution to play well with that software. A well-integrated, user-friendly POS can be easily added to the mix with minimal disruption, giving your brand the flexibility to pick and choose the best software for each part of the business. This approach also means a smoother transition for your employees without extensive re-training.
As you grow your retail business, you need technology that can grow with you. Although an all-in-one POS / Ecom solution is useful for getting your business off the ground, the capabilities of most dedicated POS systems can't be matched.
By upgrading and integrating your POS, you can create a better customer experience while also making your business more efficient and easier to run. What's not to like?
Jeffrey Wilky is an account executive at Accumula. He is a retail technology veteran passionate about helping retailers unite their in-store and online customer experiences. Beyond retail technology, Jeffrey is passionate about craft coffee and the NBA.
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