Switching your point-of-sale (POS) system can be daunting. Change always comes with new challenges, but the cost of reluctantly staying with a poor-fit solution could be even more expensive in the long-term. Messy inventory. A poor customer experience. Stagnant sales. These are just some of the issues that come with having a POS system that isn’t the right fit for your business.
If you have ambitions to grow your retail business, the POS platform you use will either enable you or hold you back. You need a POS that makes sales, returns/exchanges, inventory management, and omnichannel retail as simple as possible. A seamless, unified commerce experience can go a long way toward boosting your bottom line and giving your customers the shopping flexibility they expect.
So, what are the signs that your POS is coming up short? If you’re experiencing any (or all) of the five problems below, it might be time to make the switch.
1. Inventory management is difficult and doesn’t automatically sync
Merchants that don’t focus their efforts on omnichannel sales are missing out on serious revenue opportunities. Customer behavior has evolved: only 7% of shoppers admit to buying online only, compared to 73% who use multiple retail channels.
A consistent, harmonized experience across all of your sales channels is what customers have come to expect. Your customers don’t want excuses about out-of-stock items—they just want a seamless shopping experience, no matter where they buy your products. Regardless of where you sell, it’s important that your POS automatically syncs inventory across all channels.
Not every POS system reconciles online orders, in-store inventory, and warehouse inventory, and that can create headaches both for your staff and for your customers.
Manually reconciling inventory across all the places you sell and store your products is tedious and prone to human error. When your inventory syncs automatically, you know exactly how much stock you have and where it is at any given time. It’s also easy to understand how well each product is selling and create purchase orders based on performance and updated stock levels.
With that information at your fingertips, you can prevent stock-outs, easily move inventory from one location to another, and get a full picture of all your sales from one place. A POS that’s part of a unified commerce platform––that is, one backend for your online store and your brick-and-mortar stores––unlocks that kind of visibility.
That was the motivation behind fashion brand Assembly New York’s switch to Shopify POS.
Why [manage] two things when you could have just one? If you're selling online and using a POS from two different systems, why are you double-checking your inventory? You’d have to manually adjust things, and that takes a lot of time.
2. Lack of payment options
More customers than ever are using their smartphones to pay at checkout—whether through a service like Apple Pay and Google Pay or credit card details stored in a digital wallet.
According to a recent report, by 2022, only 17% of global payments will be made using cash. And digital wallet usage is projected to go up to 28% during the same period to hit 1.5 billion users.
Digital wallet payments are undeniably convenient for shoppers and retailers—the tap-and-go option allows customers to leave their physical wallet at home and the speed helps keep queues under control.
When a point of sale doesn’t offer an option to accept digital wallet payments, you’re potentially leaving money on the table. While almost all POS systems can accept and process payments via cash and credit card, not all accept near-field communication (NFC), or “tap” payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, tap debit/credit cards, etc.).
It’s also difficult for retailers to offer these convenient payment options for customers in their own. Dealing with banks or payment providers means you’ll need to sign lengthy contracts, pay exorbitant set-up fees, and figure out confusing payment rates.
Rather than trying to detangle these complicated options, look for a POS that provides low transaction rates and predictable fees. A point of sale provider should be transparent about fees and automatically deduct them from each sale to eliminate lump sum payments, so you know exactly how much you’ll be paid.
3. No mobile POS option
A mobile point-of-sale system is just what it sounds like: a POS that can move around inside (or outside) your store. Store owners can take transactions from a central point of purchase, like a traditional checkout counter or cash register, or wherever they need it to be. To take transactions on the go, retailers often use hardware like a tablet or smartphone to process transactions.
More than 29 million people are expected to use mobile POS payments in the US in 2019, totaling more than $87 billion in transactions. Statista predicts that number will grow by 29.6% annually, closing in on nearly $246 billion by 2023.
However, not all POS systems are compatible with mobile devices, which can make it difficult to impossible to accept mobile payments or process transactions anywhere other than your checkout counter.
The ability to move your point of purchase around is a simple modification that can revolutionize the shopping experience for your customers. Here are a few of the things a mobile POS can do:
Reduce checkout friction and ease pressure on employees
One of the biggest benefits of a mobile POS like the Shopify Retail Kit is that it helps point-of-purchase congestion. A mobilized POS lets you process transactions on the spot from anywhere in your store, which also enhances your customer service.
No one likes waiting in tedious checkout lines. According to a recent survey from Forrester, 32% of shoppers said they’ll quit a long line and go elsewhere for a faster checkout experience.
A mobile POS also supports your employees. With a mobile POS system, staff are better equipped to help customers, answer questions, and use their mobile device (powered by your POS system) to check inventory availability without running off to “look in the back.” It’s challenging to provide a high level of service when employees are tied to a checkout counter.
Easily transition from inquiry to sale
With a stationary POS, customers interact with one employee on the sales floor when they have a question and another when making a purchase. A single point of contact creates better rapport between sales associates and shoppers, enhancing the experience, increasing trust, and potentially leading to more sales.
Increase flexibility around when (and where) you sell
Retailers often need to get out into the community to sell beyond the confines of their storefront—customers often interact with brands outside a bricks-and-mortar store, from pop-up shops and pop-in stores to food trucks and public markets. To take advantage of these kinds of events and activations, you’ll need a flexible POS that allows you to sell seamlessly from anywhere.
Gather customer email addresses and go paperless
Bricks-and-mortar retailers don’t have as many organic opportunities to collect customer information as ecommerce stores—but a mobile POS system can help with that. For example, customers can opt to receive an email receipt instead of a paper one. Your employees can input this info into a personalized customer profile via a mobile POS, giving you access to their email address and the ability to stay in touch after they leave your store. (It will also save you money—and a few trees.) For Lively, Shopify's mPOS was a big selling point.
50% of foot traffic in the store is new customers experiencing our brand for the first time. Since we capture contact details at point of sale, we can use email marketing and retargeting to continue serving customers online.
4. Customers can’t use online gift cards in-store and vice versa
The gift card industry was estimated to be worth $160 billion as of 2018, and three-quarters of the volume in gift card program redemptions are still in physical cards versus 25% for digital gift cards (or eGift cards).
Not all POS systems allow shoppers to use eGift cards in-store or to use physical cards online, which is frustrating for customers. But the right POS can offer the flexibility to allow customers to pay for purchases with gift cards anywhere they shop.
5. Staff management issues
Managing staff can be a retailer’s most time-consuming task. Your to-do list includes everything from creating schedules and monitoring performance to ensure you have the right number of employees working at the right times.
Fortunately, a best-fit POS system can help retailers automate (or even eliminate) many staff management tasks from their list. Using your POS system, you can keep everyone accountable by creating staff logins and monitor sales for each employee by tracking all orders and cash register activity.
With separate employee logins, you can also easily (and fairly) reward staff who are exceeding expectations. Retailers can see who is generating the most sales and who is lagging behind in meeting their monthly quota. With this information readily available, merchants can easily reward or praise star employees. Retailers can also provide help for those who may be struggling with sales or customer service.
You can also consult your POS data to inform staff schedules. Based on the number of transactions for a particular period, you can spot trends like peak busy hours and recurring lulls, then schedule accordingly.
A comprehensive POS will also have plug-and-play features to help you get more mileage from your system. For example, with Shopify POS apps like ClockedIn, you can pull up timesheets and get staff to punch in and out of their shifts.
Should you make the switch?
These are the essential questions you should ask before switching your POS system.
- Does my POS automatically sync inventory across online and offline channels?
- Does my POS accept digital wallet payments?
- Is my provider transparent about fees?
- Do I have low transaction rates?
- Is my POS compatible with mobile devices?
- Can my customers use online gift cards in store and vice versa?
- Does my POS allow for multiple staff logins and monitor/incentivize sales accordingly?
If you answered “no” to a lot of these questions, it might be time to change POS systems. Find out more about Shopify POS.