If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, staying ahead of the competition is essential. A small business owner’s primary concern is how they can outperform their competitors by offering superior products and services at tempting prices. Getting ahead in any retail industry includes many responsibilities such as marketing, inventory management, sales tracking, and cost pricing analyses.
Modern technology can help your business compete with big box stores, said Elie Y. Katz, President and CEO of National Retail Solutions (NRS). When a retailer implements cutting-edge methods for managing their business, recruiting customers, and reconciling revenue, they increase their chances of success. “A point-of-sale (POS) system offers affordable, state-of-the-art technology that can help small businesses grow. Convenience stores and other retail establishments can considerably benefit from their POS’ tracking and management software, plus all the bells and whistles that define an optimal checkout solution.”
There are features that go far beyond a basic cash register with a drawer that pops open and closed. A customer loyalty program built into the POS can help attract and retain loyal patrons who love to save money and get deals when they shop. Many large chain stores offer loyalty programs. They have larger spending budgets and can negotiate better pricing to be able to offer their customers loyalty perks. With a point of sale system that does this, even a smaller Mom ‘n’ Pop retailer can offer these perks.
“When a POS includes remote management via app and web, with the ability to access and download data and sales reports, a store owner can manage their business efficiently from wherever they are,” Katz said. “In the old days, the only way to manage the store was to supervise the shoebox filled with cash under the counter. Nowadays, a store owner can check on their store from anywhere, 24/7, leveraging online technology.”
Credit card processing can seamlessly integrate with a more advanced point-of-sale system, saving time and offering convenience at checkout. A reliable POS with integrated credit card processing can also help a store owner save time and expense with accounting and reconciliation. Before technology became more sophisticated, retailers had two completely separate interfaces for ringing up customers and accepting credit cards.
ID scanning technology, which requires advanced PS software and a special handheld scanner, can also greatly assist a store owner and speed up lines at the checkout counter. When customers purchase age-restricted products such as alcohol or cigarettes, etc., ID scanning eliminates the manual process and guesswork for age-verification compliance. Alcohol and tobacco are widely sold in various types of stores and carry strict rules and regulations. A store owner can have peace of mind that even if he is not available on-site to supervise, with scanning technology his staff will be in compliance.
It’s proven that customer-facing displays at the checkout counter encourage customers to impulse-buy, and purchase more items. Whether paper or electronic signage, those moments when customers have their wallet in their hand are an opportunity to market your offerings. Some POS come with a customer-facing display, built into the POS, by which customers can view their transaction as it is happening, and be entertained by graphics that wow them, especially with deals.
Manually counting stock in the stock room is a thing of the past, now that an electronic inventory monitoring system is central to most POS systems. With inventory management tools, a store owner never has to wonder what is available and when to reorder. A retailer can keep track of what customers are buying and when items are running low, with reports on their point-of-sale system which are also available via remote back-office management.
For a c-store that offers a hot foods counter with a separate kitchen, offering customers the option of customizing their order can be lucrative. With Item Modifiers managed on the POS system with a secondary kitchen printer, requests can be entered, purchased, and sent to the kitchen team for fulfillment.
With crime on the rise, many stores have security cameras. Cameras installed for surveillance purposes can help deter and catch perpetrators and reduce employee theft, which is a prevalent challenge for store owners. Some POS offer POS-DVR integration, wherein transaction data is overlaid, in real-time, onto the store’s camera footage.
Another way that newer POS technology helps store owners is with a built-in Employee Time Clock. Payroll is a lot more efficient when the store owner can access simple, clear employee attendance reporting. With an Employee Time Clock, staff can log in and out on the POS when they begin and end their shifts.
With crime prevalent, especially in urban centers, most stores have some kind of panic alarm button which calls the local police. Some sophisticated POS systems offer a silent, built-in emergency call button that can be inconspicuously pressed to call for help. This technology can prevent disaster and save lives.
Since the beginning of Covid-19, online shopping has sprouted in popularity, and shows no signs of slowing down. Many retailers are utilizing websites to simplify purchasing and delivery. For a small and medium-sized business, it may be excessively expensive to build and maintain a website. Luckily, some of today’s POS companies offer an eCommerce option, with an ordering website that links straight to the store’s POS.
Technology has come a long way since the first cash register was invented by James Ritty in November, 1879. A small, independent business can keep up with big-box stores and succeed, by taking advantage of the numerous, sophisticated capabilities of a powerful POS system.