Forget POS – think EPOS!
- January 5, 2016
If you are a retailer, service provider, restauranteur etc, the very first thing you should be doing well before considering installing a POS system is to do as much research as you can. The reason for this is very simple. Every salesman from every POS distributor will tell you that their system is the best. That is what salesman do. The best way to go about doing some practical research is to go to people who you know have had systems installed and talk to them.
The next stage, once again, well before you invite a salesman onto your premises is to decide what you want to achieve with your POS system. You may not necessarily want all of the functionality on offer. So all you need to do at this stage is to make a list of what it is that you need. It may be an electronic till with a few remote card readers. You may wish to add a module which would do your accounting for you or a stock control module. You can very quickly go onto the Internet and find out exactly what is available and from that work out exactly what it is you need.
POS products are coming onto the market almost on a daily basis, each one better than the one before. The only advice here is that it is always best to choose a system that has a proven record. When you are finally confronted by a salesman, before you agree to part with your hard earned cash, ask for a list of existing clients that you can talk to. Clients and companies who have been using the system for reasonable amount of time. That will not only tell you about the system but also about a follow up on the customer service which is crucial if you’re running a business. Remember that any downtime is going to cost you money.
The most expensive system is not always the best. Or should I say the best for your needs. By the same token, the cheapest system should be totally avoided. Remember, whenever you’re buying anything like this: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be frightened to walk away.
Now we come to the difficult part, which is when you start to decide which company you want to use and which consultant or salesmen you feel most comfortable with. Don’t judge a salesman by his promises and as I stated earlier, always ask for evidence whatever claim is made, preferably by talking to someone who already has a system. You are looking for a system which is going to make your commercial life easier.Many salesmen sell you the product to make their own lives easier through the medium of commission. Yours and the consultants needs are very different. Remember you are making an investment in your business and you need to make sure that your investment will add value.
Whatever system you choose, accept the fact that a POS system is not designed to perform miracles in the sense of turning a dying business into a success and also accept the fact that when you install such sophisticated software, it is going to take time before you see major benefits. Remember that you need to be trained in the software and your staff need to be trained. There will inevitably be the unexpected, so you should plan for issues which you and your supplier will need to deal with. Ask people who are already using the system you have chosen about ongoing training and the commitment of the supplier. Be realistic and don’t expect any major results for a few months. In fact, right at the very beginning, you may be running parallel systems. Take all these factors into consideration.
You will be a developing a relationship with what is hopefully a reseller who also wants to add value to your business. Take your time to get to know him before you commit.
It is always strongly recommended that you do not even attempt to make life even more difficult for yourself by transferring old accounts or old inventory onto your new system. It doesn’t work – unless you are lucky enough to have exceptionally clever staff and a miracle worker for a consultant.
When the POS system is installed, treat it as ground zero or day one without trying to introduce errors or glitches into a brand-new system.
Your consultant’s income is not only generated through selling new equipment and software, but his long-term income will probably depend on persuading you to buy a long-term support contract. Only one thing to say here – ALWAYS buy a support contract. The sophistication of current software (as well as hardware) is such that you are very unlikely to have many problems …..and if you do, they can be very disruptive but will be dealt with in a more timely fashion if you have a proper support contract in place.
The last piece of advice is very straightforward but, unfortunately, is one that you will always ignore. Always accept upgrades and always back up your system!
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