5 Things You Must Consider When Buying an EPOS System or Cash Register
A new EPOS system, once simply known as a Cash Register, is a complex sphere to navigate. We know this because we have considerable experience. We would like to relay some of that experience here.
There are many, many providers out there, all purporting to be the best thing since sliced bread. It is true, some have different and possibly better functionality than the next one. But as a starting point, we would strongly advise you to remember 2 things if you are looking to buy one…
- They all do essentially the same thing, which is to track sales, stock and inventory;
- When choosing what you need, make sure you understand what it is that YOU need. This should align to your long-term business objectives.
It is likely that any business will want to grow, so the ability to SCALE is important. If growth is key to your plans (or SCAIL 😉, if you’ll excuse our treatment of the English language), then do consider the following when you are buying a new EPOS system…
1. Setup & Support
Many providers will sell you a screen, a cash drawer, a bar-code banner etc with software installed and leave you to set it up yourself.
For some buyers of EPOS, that is akin to giving your Grandparents a brand-new computer with Windows pre-installed and telling them to set up their own email.
Check out what support you will get, especially at the initial set-up stage. If you are not techno-centric, you may wish to work with an EPOS specialist who can do all the setup for you and deliver a working system once it is all working. If that is the case, seek out a “Reseller”, who adds that kind of service and value. Check their Google Reviews for positive feedback first.
You should also investigate what on-going support you get. Can you pick up the phone and talk to a technical expert? How long will you be on hold? Is that 24/7/365 or business hours only? Will you be required to submit email tickets to get a response? Or deal with a “chat bot”?
If changing the look & feel of the system is important to you, ask how flexible the system is.
Can the colour scheme, branding and overall “look & feel” of the system be customised? It will need to look very different depending on whether you run a restaurant, a café, or a hardware shop!
What menus or frequently selling items would you like on the front page? Can you even change it?
For hospitality businesses, there is no compromise here.
Customers have died because they were not informed that food contained ingredients to which they were allergic. Any system you buy must inform you, and your customer, at point of sale, that they are buying something that contains allergens.
If you really want to grow your business, you will need to sell your products or services online at some point, probably sooner rather than later.
Initially, you will probably just want to share your sales and transactions information with an accounting package. Like Xero or QuickBooks. But Most EPOS systems will do this nowadays, so you should probably take that bit for granted.
But you really need to establish what existing integration paths with e-Commerce systems your chosen EPOS already has. Here are some of the common e-Commerce shopping carts, but there are many more…
- Woo Commerce;
If you want to build a website that is more complex or “bespoke” than the above systems will allow, then you need to establish that your chosen EPOS has an open API. This will allow your e-Commerce partner to share whatever sales or stock information is required between the 2 systems.
You should also give consideration as to how you can integrate card payments into the system. You need to be able to reconcile cash and card payments all in one place.
You must also avoid double-entry of information at the point of sale. You should not be keying the amount being paid into a card machine manually when the EPOS has already calculated the total amount payable for you.
Loyal customers are hard to come by. But once you have found one, you need to reward them, to make them feel special.
Do this by giving them a little bit more, remembering their birthday or treating them to something special during a Religious festival that is especially important for them. Little touches like this will go a long way to making a loyal customer a forever customer.
Any decent EPOS system should have this kind of functionality built into its DNA.