When is it Time to Upgrade Your POS System?
Point of sale systems have dramatically evolved from the early forms of cash registers used to complete transactions and accept payments. Modern point of sale (POS) systems are fast, versatile and robust. They support a wide range of functionality in addition to completing transactions, including inventory tracking, employee management, customer relationship management, and sales tracking.
As POS technology evolves, their capabilities grow, but a POS system can still be reasonably expensive, especially for smaller businesses that require multiple POS components. If you have already invested in a relatively expensive POS system and are familiar with its operations, upgrading to a new POS system may appear daunting and unnecessary. However, there are significant benefits of having an optimally functioning POS system, and it can have a major impact on your customer service and productivity.
Whether you want to improve the operations and performance of your POS system for the current size of your business, or if you are planning an expansion, consider upgrading your POS system. The decision to upgrade a POS system involves certain costs, and should be weighed against the benefits it offers, especially when compared to your current POS system. Here is all you need to know if you are thinking about upgrading your POS setup, and the top signs that it is time for an upgrade.
POS System Components
The components of a POS system can typically be divided into two broad categories: POS hardware and POS software.
- POS Hardware: Depending upon the complexity of your POS setup, the capabilities and costs of POS hardware components will vary. The basic requirements include an operating system or register, a monitor, barcode scanner, cash drawer, EFTPOS payment terminal, and receipt printer. Additional components include weighting scales, extra monitors, and self-service kiosks. POS hardware components generally have one-time major costs for purchasing, and minimal recurring costs for consumables (as needed), maintenance and repair. When you already have a POS setup, make sure you regularly test and evaluate each individual component to make sure all the components are working effectively. If a single hardware component is slowing down your POS system, you can consider replacing the relevant hardware components without investing in an entirely new POS setup.
- POS Software: POS software is central to your pos system, and is necessary to integrate and utilise your POS hardware components to their full potential. There are several types of POS software available in the market. It is recommended to choose POS software that is compatible with your hardware components, suits your POS requirements and the degree of complexity needed. POS software costs are typically recurring, but can increase if you add on to the number of terminals supported and/or the number of features required. Keep close tabs on your POS software and update all the recommended security patches so that you get optimum performance. POS software should be upgraded if there are any lapses, unreliability, errors, or difficulties in integration.
Signs you Need a POS System Upgrade
Making the decision to upgrade your POS system is not one that should be taken lightly. After all, there is always some type of new technology on the horizon, and it isn’t practical to change your POS setup every time a new update becomes available. There are significant costs involved, and also require time and efforts, including for installation and for becoming familiar with a new POS system. On the other hand, delaying upgrading when its needed can hamper the productivity and growth of your business. If you are confused, don’t worry, here are 10 signs that indicate it might be time to upgrade your POS system.
1. Unreliable with frequent downtime
The single most urgent reason to upgrade your POS system is if it has become unreliable and results in frequent downtime. Ask yourself the following questions: Does your POS setup abruptly stop working? Does this happen regularly in front of customers? How long does it take to start working again? What efforts are required to make the POS system work again?
The core function of a POS setup is to process transactions and payments in a smooth and fast manner. If it stops working, shows an error, or has any other type of malfunction resulting in downtime, it defeats the purpose of having an expensive POS system.
An unreliable POS system creates a delay at the checkout, and wastes precious time of the customers and staff while the POS errors are resolved. Even the most patient of customers can get frustrated and abandon a purchase midway if the POS system is taking too long. The situation becomes even worse when there are limited checkout points and crowds of customers.
If you are facing challenges due to an unreliable POS system, the first step is to identify the source. Which hardware or software component is causing the delays and is most unreliable? If it is a single hardware component, consider upgrading that specific component, or if it is a software issue look into upgrading the POS software.
2. Slow operations wasting valuable time
The modern consumer likes speed and convenience. With the growing popularity of eCommerce, the pressure is on retailers and other brick-and-mortar shops to offer customers fast service. If your POS system is working reliably but is significantly slow, it might be time for an upgrade. Time is money, and customers prefer to save time when shopping. A slow operating POS system can make the checkout process cumbersome and discourage customers from returning.
In general, any type of delay at the checkout point should be avoided, as long delays can result in customers abandoning their purchases, even items they were ready to buy. Delays can also cause long lines, deterring customers at the back end of the queue. While long lines in themselves can cause customers to abandon their purchases, if the line is moving fast, you can mitigate that loss. In comparison, if the long lines are moving slowly, customers are more likely to leave without a purchase.
Apart from the customers, a slow operating POS system also takes up valuable time of your employees. In any given amount of time, they will be able to process fewer transactions due to delays from the POS system. With a fast POS setup, employees can take care of transactions quicker and even have time left over to tackle other tasks, resulting in a more efficient work force.
A slow POS system is often the result of overloaded POS software, but it can also be caused by individual hardware components such as the receipt printer or barcode scanner. Test out each hardware component independently and compare it with standard operating speeds to check the performance of the hardware. Upgrade any hardware that is slowing down your POS system. If you suspect the POS software is slow, discuss your concerns with the software provider, and possibilities for upgrades.
3. Expensive to maintain and use
Most types of systems will have some sort of operating costs and that is to be expected. However, if you are spending above and beyond the minimal operating costs for your POS system, it might be time to upgrade. New POS systems may involve an initial investment at the time of purchase, but the running costs can be lower, making them more cost-effective in the long run.
Standard operating costs for your POS system would include consumables such as printer paper and ink, utilities such as electricity, internet service, payment processing fees and POS software costs. Unexpected costs would be for repair and maintenance of the POS hardware, and updates for the POS software. The older the POS hardware components are, the maintenance and repair costs are correspondingly higher. Even paper and inks can be expensive for outdated printers.
An indication that the POS system needs an upgrade because of the expenses involved is if the frequency of repair and maintenance increases, or the costs involved become significantly higher. Consider the total cost of ownership of your POS system, and what are the biggest expenditures to see if any can be curtailed. Keep track of the age of your hardware components and phase them out when they start getting old and expensive to fix. If you are not satisfied with the cost of your POS software, or if it is requiring lots of frequent and expensive updates, consider switching POS software providers.
4. Complicated and challenging to learn
Modern POS systems are user-friendly and can be operated with minimal instruction and guidance. If your current POS setup is complicated to use and challenging to learn, that can be a sign an upgrade is needed. An easy to use POS system increases the flexibility of your existing staff since almost anyone can operate it and conduct transactions.
If you have a complex POS system, it can take time for staff to become familiarised with it and to use it to its full capabilities. A POS system should be able to make the job of your staff easier, rather than more difficult. Also consider the average profile of your staff. Do you have frequent changes in staff? Does your existing staff need to be guided repeatedly to use the POS system effectively? Does it take time for staff members to conduct transactions on an otherwise fast POS system? The problem may lie in the usability of the POS system.
Regardless of whether you have a high employee turnover rate or long-standing staff, having a user-friendly POS system is always a bonus. Try out the POS setup personally and see if you can operate it easily. If you are facing challenges, flag out which POS components are difficult to use, and consider an upgrade. Maybe your barcode scanner is not versatile at picking up readings from a distance, or your payment processing system is confusing. If the POS software is complicated, try switching to a different provider that is more user-friendly. At the end of the day, the POS system should be a tool, not a challenge.
5. Limited integrations
The concept of integrations has evolved over the years, and modern POS systems offer great flexibility with 3 rd party integrations. By integrating a POS system with other business tools, you can maximise its productivity while simplifying overall management. Popular integrations with POS systems include for accounting, online marketing, automations, customer loyalty programs, employee management, and eCommerce.
If your existing POS system performs its basic functions of completing transactions and processing payments, it may seem unnecessary to upgrade it for the sole purpose of increased integrations. However, there are significant benefits of POS integrations, that make the upgrade well-worth the investment. There are a vast range of apps and integrations available that help you offer a better customer experience, reduce manual work, automate processes, decrease errors, improve productivity and simplify management. Depending upon your unique business needs, you can choose with business tools you want to integrate into your POS system.
Integrations are primarily dependent upon the POS software that you are using. If your current POS software does not have adequate support for integrations, consider upgrading to the next level package, if available. Another option is to change POS software providers entirely, and choose new POS software that supports integrations. In the long run, having advanced POS software with adequate integration capabilities will help in the success and growth of your business.
6. Lack of adequate features
When it comes to POS features, the more the better is not always the case. Having too many features that are unnecessary can be expensive, not value for money, and can make the POS system difficult to use. Nevertheless, if there is a lack of adequate features, it can severely impact the proper functioning of a POS system and reduce its effectiveness. The definition of ‘adequate features’ will vary depending upon your unique business needs, but should include all the basic features you require, and a healthy amount of additional helpful features. This includes in terms of performance of each individual POS hardware component, the POS software, and the overall POS system.
Among the basic features of a POS system are being able to process transactions and payments accurately and quickly. The barcode scanner should be able to swiftly identify the codes you use, and the POS software automatically add any relevant discounts and taxes. There needs to be support for multiple payment modes, including split payments if desired, and features for refunds, returns, and store credit. The POS system needs to be able to create and identify different user accounts and permissions, and track purchases made. A customer facing display and searchable database are also useful.
To find out if your POS system is offering you an adequate number of features, analyse the total feature set of the POS setup. Look for areas where you can utilise better features, and trace them to the component that needs upgrading. When it comes to POS hardware components, older equipment or low-cost items are most likely to skimp out on features. If your POS hardware setup is robust, it is recommended to check the performance and features of the POS software. A simple upgrade in POS software can significantly boost many POS features.
7. Difficulty in real-time tracking
For businesses these days, having real-time accurate tracking of transactions taking place at the point of sale is vital for smooth business operations. It helps you save time and money, while encouraging a positive relationship with customers. Real-time tracking is especially valuable in businesses of larger sizes or those that have frequent purchases. A POS system with real-time updates keeps track of which items have been sold and are currently being sold. This information helps in inventory management and in tracking sales. If you have multiple storage locations, real-time tracking can help you manage inventory across locations.
Inventory management is crucial for businesses, so that they can ensure they have best selling products in stock, and reduce over stocking of less in demand items. Overstocking and stocking of less popular items results in you losing money, both for the purchase from the supplier, and taking up storage space. With real time tracking, you can plan restocking as and when required. This reduces the risk of losing out on potential sales revenue and running out of items when a customer asks for them or during sales. Some types of POS software will automatically send you a notification when products are running low in the inventory, so that you can order them in time.
Checking if your POS system is delivering real-time updates is simple. All you need to do is monitor your POS data when a customer makes purchases, or do a trial transaction and see how soon the update is reflected. Most often, difficulties in real-time tracking arise due to the POS software being used, or the overall internet connectivity. If your internet is fast in general, then it might be time to upgrade your POS software. Having real-time tracking can give measurable benefits to your business and improve inventory management.
8. Insufficient data reporting
Data is power, and if your POS system is not supporting sufficient data reporting, it is a sign that you need an upgrade. Modern POS systems can provide a wide range of accurate data that can be used to revise and improve sales and overall business performance. Depending upon the POS software you are using, you can get pre-defined reports on desired areas, or can also get custom reports as desired. With the amount of competition that businesses are facing, both from offline and online players, data reports are a powerful tool that should not be missed out on.
For products, POS systems can provide data on bestselling products, worst-selling products, sales by product, sales by category, and sales by department. With data, you can refine your product offerings to reflect customer preferences. Customer based data includes customer profiles, frequency of shopping, most purchased items, loyalty program status, payment modes preferred, and contact details. These details can help you plan targeted promotions and in customer relations management. POS systems can also give clarity on popular payment modes, sales by payment mode, and frequency of use of each payment method, so you can update payment modes. Employee data from POS systems includes shift reports, hours worked, sales by employee, and customer loyalty programs offered by employee.
If you are not getting adequate data reports from your POS software or if they are too complex to utilise, it is a clear indication that you need an upgrade. Based on the size of your business, the amount of competition, and the business goals, you can define which kind of data reports are most important for you. Accordingly, discuss your data reporting needs with your POS software provider to see if they have further support. If you are not satisfied, then consider switching POS software providers to ensure that you get detailed data reporting in a usable format.
9. Poor customer support
If you want to offer your customers the best support for sales, you need to have adequate customer support yourself, especially for your POS system. Depending upon the POS component, the size of the store, and the customer rush, it can be disastrous if there is a POS malfunction. In that case, you would need to have immediate and effective customer support to sort out the problems. Delayed POS customer support in times of system breakdown can negatively impact sales and form a negative image of the brand in front of customers.
Issues with POS hardware components are easier to manage, particularly if you have multiple checkouts or backup hardware components to continue operations without interruptions. However, POS software problems can result in a store-wide shutdown of transactions if all the POS systems are using a single linked POS software setup. Ideally, there should be full-time customer support for your POS hardware and software during the operating hours of your business, including weekends and later hours. Customer support should be available in multiple formats, including phone, live chat, email, and online self-help resources.
A clear indication that the customer support for your POS system is if in the past you have faced issues with the customer support response. If it has happened multiple times that you are receiving a delayed response from customer support, it is time to upgrade your POS system. In the case of POS hardware, focus on upgrading those components that frequently have malfunctions for which the customer support has been inadequate or delayed. POS software is the core of your POS system and even one delayed response can signal that its time to upgrade. Always check and verify customer support capabilities before getting new POS software or buying new POS hardware components.
10. Challenges in expansion
Expansion is a natural progression for most businesses that are seeking growth and greater success. A compact POS system with minimal features may be adequate for a small business, but might not necessarily be enough to support expansion. If you are planning to grow your business in the near future, you might need to upgrade your POS system to support the business expansion.
There are many ways for a business to expand, within the same retail location and beyond it. Within the same space, you can consider increasing the number of checkout points to manage more customers, or even offering self-checkout kiosks. If you do not want to increase the number of checkout points, consider expanding the number of payment methods supported to cater to more payment preferences. If you are expanding the size of your business with larger premises, adding checkout points and supplementing an existing POS system might be necessary.
Modern POS systems are capable of linking and integrating operations from multiple sales points, including offline and online storefronts. Launching an eCommerce site in support of your offline business is easy with the help of eCommerce platforms such as Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify. Offering online sales is a great way to target a larger demographic and increase sales, while maintaining a single unified inventory system with a single POS setup.
Whether you have immediate plans for expansion, or may consider expanding in the future, having a POS system that supports business growth will be an asset. Examples of POS hardware components include barcode scanners with omni-directional decoding capabilities, Bluetooth receipt printers that can be setup wherever required, and tablet-based operating systems for greater mobility. When the time comes for expansion, you can invest in buying more POS hardware components. Upgraded POS software can help you expand to online sales, increase the number of checkout points, or incorporate other sales avenues.
Advantages of An Optimally Functioning POS System
Regardless of the specific niche of your business, if you deal directly with customers then a POS system is a useful tool. To save money you may want to go with a basic POS system, however, an optimally functioning POS system offers distinct advantages for your business. In the long run, the plethora of benefits of having an effective POS system far outweigh the costs of upgrading.
Here are some of the advantages:
- Greater clarity on budget: With a properly functioning POS system, you can have real-time data on your profits and expenses.
- Build better marketing campaigns: POS systems deliver accurate and useful data and a data driven campaign has a better chance at success.
- Monitor sales: For any sales campaign, easily track its success and failures with a POS system, and improve on future campaigns.
- Better inventory management: Keep precise track of your inventory and optimise ordering of supplies with the real-time updates of a POS system,
- Easier staff management: Monitor the performance of employees remotely and easily with a POS system that tracks their sales and working hours.
- Improved user experience: At the core of any business are the customers. With an optimal POS system, you can offer customers a better user experience with fast checkouts and support for customer loyalty programs.
It is natural to have reservations about upgrading an existing POS system that technically does get the job done. Maybe you are comfortable with the setup, don’t want to spend extra money, or are fine with its performance. Nevertheless, there are clear signs that your POS system needs an upgrade, whether the performance has slowed, become unreliable or simply does not offer the best features.
The decision to upgrade your POS system should not be taken in a hurry, since it will involve an investment and change of operations. Carefully analyse your POS system to spot any signs that an upgrade is needed, and isolate which POS components need to be changed. When you have a plan of action in mind, choose a good quality upgrade that will be long lasting and a valuable addition to your POS system.
Here are POS Sales you can find a wide range of POS solutions, include hardware components, consumables and product bundles. Reach out to our team today to discuss your POS needs.