Best Retail POS Software: 7 Steps to finding your next system

Are you looking for the best retail POS software solution for your business? If so, let’s break down what you need to know.

In order to find the very best fit for your business, you need to follow a specific process:Best Retail POS Software: 7 Steps to selecting your next system

  1. Determine your business needs
  2. Find a pool of candidate software solutions
  3. Narrow down that list to your final candidates
  4. Hold demonstrations and evaluate how well the vendors can address your specific needs
  5. Negotiate with the top two vendors
  6. Choose the top retail POS system based on the suitability, price, and ability to deliver
  7. Implement your new solution

The first thing you need to do is to determine your business needs. You may have only a few needs, or you may have many. The key thing here is to make a list of all of your requirements for a new system. The easiest thing to do is to start with looking at your current system. What does it do poorly and what does it do well? List these items out. Then start thinking about your business. Are you growing your retail presence? Are you adding stores? Are you going to need additional terminals? Think about how the business might change in the next 5 to 10 years. Keep your vision real and achievable. Don’t evaluate based on wishes.   Ensure that top management is involved in the vision and requirements gathering.  You want input from all levels of the company from the retail clerk to the owner/president.

Next find a list of candidate systems that can be potential solutions for you. Listed below are some of the top retail software systems available. You can choose to get pricing or a demo from any of these vendors. Additionally, if you would like to seek out more, you can head over to SoftwareAdvice.com to find additional solutions based on your particular needs.  You have specific needs based on what you do.  A liquor store has different needs than a clothing store.  Make sure you are looking at software that fits your niche.  The solutions below are capable of running various types of retail establishments.  Make sure you dig deeper and find the software solution that fits the needs your business based on your requirements.

Once you have the list of vendors, you want to get demonstrations and pricing. You also want to get additional information. Filtering through the product information from these various solution providers will allow you to see what is possible with new systems and further refine your requirements. You may find a vendor that offers iPad POS capabilities. You may not have thought about this before. Add it to your list. You will want to narrow down your list to the top 3 or 4 vendors to provide you with a demonstration. Don’t go with too many as that might create more confusion. See if you can narrow down the potential vendors by way of their information and how well they seem to fit your requirements.

Next you will want to see a demonstration.  Make sure that several people from your company are involved.  This is often the same group of people who provided the requirements.  Evaluate the demos against your list of requirements.  Be sure to look at how easy and fast it is to use for the clerk and how easy and capable it is for the back-end accounting.

Once you have seen all of the vendor demonstrations, it is time to make a choice. But before you choose, you will want to negotiate for the best price. Keep in mind that it is more than simply software costs. You have the hardware, the installation services, and the warranty costs. You want to make sure you examine each of the cost areas and work towards the best overall package deal.  Realize also you are buying a relationship that you will need to live with for the next 5 to 10 years.  Ensure that the support offerings are satisfactory and that you can reach someone in a timely manner should you have questions or issues with the system.

When you have made your choice, then the real work begins in transitioning over your old system to the new software. Work collaboratively with your new business partner (the POS software supplier) to manage the implementation together. Make sure that you take an active part in the setup and installation. You want to make sure you are heavily involved in the setup to make sure that the system works to your business needs and that arbitrary decisions are not made during the setup by the vendor.

Have you been through a POS implementation before? We’d love to hear your experiences. Please share your comments below.