Retail businesses have evolved over the years from brick and mortar stores to digital ecommerce stores. Similarly, the way customers pay within retail stores has changed drastically, too. Gone are the days of bulky cash registers and accounting ledgers for recording business transactions. Today, all of that is easily done using a point of sale (POS) system.
A POS system can assist businesses by speeding up their checkout process, keeping track of inventory, and facilitating payments. It’s evident that modern retailers need a POS system. However, there are a lot of POS providers, and it can be confusing to decide which one to choose.
This article details essential features that you should look for in a POS system. Read below to learn more!
16 Essential POS features
Let us delve deeper into the important features that would help you decide the best POS system for your business. After going through this comprehensive list, you’ll realize that a POS system serves several purposes other than conventional payment processing and order checkout.
POS feature #1: Barcode scanning
Barcode scanning is one of the most fundamental features that a POS system should have. In the absence of barcode scanners, checkout attendants have to manually process each payment. By using barcodes, you can process payments in the blink of an eye.
Once a product’s barcode is scanned, product information is populated on screen, which speeds up and assists with the checkout process. Barcode scanning can also help keep track of inventory as it enters and exits warehouses and stores. For all these reasons, having a POS system that prints barcodes is essential.
POS feature #2: Mobile POS
Mobile POS (mPOS) systems give you the ability to offer personalized checkout experiences to your customers. Instead of making them wait in line, you’re able to help customers pay by bringing mPOS devices to them. This can be extremely useful in restaurants, where customers can pay without needing to get up from their seats.
Staff can even show customers menus and food information using a mPOS. Compared to bulky desktop registers, mPOS systems are both flexible and affordable. That’s exactly why the mPOS is on the rise — mPOS transactions are predicted to exceed $1.9 trillion by 2024.
POS feature #3: Return and refund management
Your POS system should be able to perform stock adjustments, increasing and decreasing store inventory as needed. Whenever you receive goods from your vendor, your store’s inventory level goes up. When goods are sold, inventory levels go down. There’s also a chance that your customers receive a defective piece of merchandise and wish to return it. Your POS machine should be able to accommodate returns, adjust stock levels, and even process refund payments.
In fact, the POS should be able to offer a refund by transferring money back through the customer’s original payment method. At the very least, the POS should be able to issue a gift card (store credit) of the same amount a customer paid.
By the way — If your store doesn’t have a product return policy, you should seriously consider having it. Studies suggest that 67% of the shoppers check product return policies before ordering.
POS feature #4: Ecommerce integration
If you offer products online, having a POS that integrates with popular ecommerce solutions – like Amazon, Shopify, and eBay – can be a huge advantage. It allows you to sell your products through multiple channels. This type of seamless POS integration allows you to look at both online and offline sales as a whole.
Your POS system should automatically adjust inventory whenever you make a sale, which prevents you from trying to sell a product you no longer have.
Suppose you allow the customers to buy online and perform the pickup in-store (called the “BOPIS” model). In that case, an integrated POS is necessary for seamless transactions. Cross-channel returns can be handled through the POS, too.
Having an ecommerce integration with POS can help you deliver a better shopping experience to your customers. It can also help you run cross-channel promotional campaigns, too. Having an integrated POS makes your life easier by keeping all customer information in one place.
POS feature #5: User management
Some POS systems allow individual employees to create an account with access to different levels of administrative rights. This allows you to track your employee’s performance and sales records.
This way, if there’s ever any type of discrepancy with a sale, you’ll know exactly which employee to contact. You can also offer password-protected credentials to your employees, too. Employees should be able to log out after each sale and ensure that someone else does not use their account.
POS feature #6: Product variation
When Henry Ford launched the Model T car, it was only available in black. This was in an effort to save costs and increase production efficiency. Fast forward to today. If you look around, you can find cars of all colors – black, white, red, yellow, blue, and more. These days, brands offer more choices and personalization options to customers. Your POS should do the same.
The iPhone 13, for example, comes in several colors — red, blue, pink, and midnight. Your POS should be able to create and display these types of variations in your products. When you group together individual products, they’re called “composite products”.
If one of them is discounted, your POS should be able to apply that same discount to all of them. If your POS does not allow for creating composite products, you will have to go through and apply those discounts individually.
POS feature #7: Multiple payment options
Just as customers want variations in their products, they also want variation in their payment options — cash, card, gift card, Google Pay, Apple Pay and more. Your POS should be able to accept all of these payments and make it as convenient as possible for your customers to make purchases.
Mobile payment options in particular are becoming extremely popular, so you should make sure your POS system can handle those, too. Customers should also be able to split payments across gift cards, or pay with both cash and cards. Ideally, your POS system should be compatible with multiple card processors, too. If there is an issue with one of them, it’s nice to be able to switch them out.
POS feature #8: Bulk importing
When first configuring your POS, one of the most tedious tasks is adding product details. If your business has a lower number of SKUs, manual uploading may be feasible. However, it can be a very time-consuming process to do the same for businesses that deal with a wide variety of products. Bulk importing features can come in handy and save you time. Through bulk importing, you can upload all your products at once.
POS feature #9: Quick keys
Another time-saving POS feature quick keys. As your business operates, you’ll quickly find out which items are most commonly purchased. Using the quick key feature, you can find those best sellers simply by pressing a key. Additionally, your POS should be able to quickly lookup products in your catalog — which can be added as a quick key, too.
POS feature #10: Integrated inventory management
Apart from the conventional order processing, a POS system should also be able to manage inventory. You should have full visibility of your store’s inventory when you need it, including records of SKUs that have been sold. This allows store managers to get insights about best and worst selling inventory.
POS feature #11: Stock reordering
Nobody likes it when stock runs out. Your customers aren’t able to purchase products they want, and you miss out on sales opportunities. If you’re continuously running out of stock, this will negatively affect your customers and force them to purchase from other stores.
Timely stock replenishment can help you avoid this issue. Real-time insights about your store’s inventory, and automatic stock reordering should be available to you at all times. Whenever your store’s inventory falls below a set threshold, a purchase order can be automatically sent to your vendor.
If you rely on manual reordering, you may forget to place the order on time, which can lead to a delay in receival. Automating the reordering process eliminates these human errors.
POS feature #12: Offers and discounts
Businesses often run promotional campaigns and offer discounts to their customers. This helps increase sales and allows savvy customers to save money. Your POS system should allow for the creation of these discounts.
The price at checkout should automatically be discounted when running a sale – which saves your cashier the time and trouble of doing math and updating prices manually.
POS feature #13: Customer database
A robust POS system should be able to store vital information about your customers. This way, you can track each customers’ purchase history. Storing this information is helpful for analytics and also which makes it easy to process returns. If a customer loses their receipt, you would still have all necessary information.
With this customer data, you can also predict what items customers are likely to purchase in the future. You can start to personalize marketing efforts and create more sales opportunities.
POS feature #14: Loyalty programs
Loyalty programs help improve customer retention and increase purchase frequency. Every time a customer makes a purchase, you can offer them loyalty points which can earn discounts towards future purchases. Make sure to look for a POS system that offers an integrated loyalty program for your customers.
POS feature #15: Analytics and reporting
In addition to having a record for all retail transactions, your POS system should also be able to create analytical reports that offer insights about your business.
Vital metrics like revenue, transactions per hour, best and worst sellers, repeat customers, and more are great to have. Your POS should also provide insights into employee performance.
POS feature #16: Multi-location scalability
While selecting a POS solution, you should adopt a future-ready system. As you scale and open more retail outlets, you will need a POS system that can sync with other outlets and unify data. Start with a POS that can scale — that way you don’t have to worry about headaches down the road.
The best POS: DEAR Systems POS
If you’re searching for a robust POS system with all the essential features — DEAR Systems is the best choice for you. It works both online and offline, and boasts the following features:
- Loyalty points for customers
- Easy returns management
- Multiple payment options
- Unlimited outlets and registers
- Inventory reporting
- And more!
Have any questions? Book a call today to learn how DEAR Systems can help your retail business.