Looking to learn more about POS for small business? Point-of-sale is one of the best ways to improve customer service and business efficiency, but what exactly is a POS system and what specifically can it do for your business? There’s a lot to consider, especially in terms of what makes the best POS system to invest in for your business. We’ve put together this definitive guide so you can get all of your most pressing questions answered in one place.
Among other things, we will address what a POS is, how POS systems improve retail sales, how POS systems improve employee management, how POS systems improve security, how POS systems benefit restaurant owners, what you should look for in a POS system, and much more. If you should find that you have additional questions not answered here, please feel free to contact us at 240-489-2955.
What is a POS?
Strictly speaking, a point of sale is the time and place at which a commercial transaction occurs. In the past, the point of sale included anything from the checkout counter to the manual cash registers and paper receipts used to make the transaction. Generally speaking, a point of sale requires some kind of invoice or sales total generated by the merchant to present to the customer for the products offered. After the transaction is made, a receipt is provided, completing the exchange.
Over time, manual cash registers and written invoices and receipts have been replaced by electronic cash registers, computer-driven terminals, scanners, stationary and mobile touchscreen devices, and email-able receipts, among other technologies.
As part of this evolution, POS has become synonymous with the software and hardware systems that are used to administer the point of sale. In terms of hardware, a POS for small business entails the monitors, terminals, computers, tablets, printers, and cash registers required for daily transactions.
On the software side, POS platforms are programs that have been built to handle all of the traditional POS functions and more. As POS systems have become more sophisticated, their included functions have expanded as well. In the past, limited manual POS systems basically handled transaction calculations, cash storage, and receipt printing. Today, POS systems have the capabilities to handle transaction calculations, multiple forms of payment, printing, employee management, payroll, accounting, inventory management, customer loyalty, clearance sales, sales reports, and much more.
The ever-increasing power of POS for small business can largely be attributed to the explosive advances in information technology, particularly in mobile and cloud-computing technology. A technology once reserved for tallying up totals and applying basic accounting is now a full fledged suite of software functions that can support the operations of a fairly complex restaurant or retail small business. This is due in large part to the deep interconnectedness of software packages on wireless mobile devices and cloud-based servers.
The same sales, transaction, and inventory data can be shared across multiple wireless devices, and stored on a cloud-based server that can be accessed from anywhere at any time, so long as you have an Internet connection. Every staff member who has access to a mobile device can access all of this information, so all of your small business’ operations are constantly synced up as everyone does their job. Further, you always have access to your data and the real-time operations of your business so you can manage as you see fit.
In retail, your sales staff and your inventory levels can be tightly linked up, while in the restaurant industry, wait staff can link up with bartenders, kitchens, and inventories to provide a more efficient and effective dining experience. POS has taken a much more significant role in the basic operations of restaurant and retail businesses, and because of this, the selection of a quality POS system has a far greater bearing on the success of a small business. Now is the ideal time to upgrade to a high-quality point-of-sale system; don’t hesitate to call at 240-489-2955 to get started.
How Does POS Improve Sales for Retail?
There are many ways in which a quality POS system can improve retail sales, and oftentimes, the multiple overlapping benefits of POS work together to improve sales on an exponential level. A POS system achieves this by making the checkout experience much more efficient and effective, and also by retaining a greater amount of loyal customers due to a quality customer experience and improved customer relations through loyalty programs and personalized service.
First is the customer service itself. A POS system greatly improves customer service by speeding up the transaction process and making it more convenient. Transactions are streamlined with customer management, multiple payment options, sales and clearance alerts, and convenient modification functions in case you need to change a purchase, process a refund, or exchange an item. This makes the checkout process easy and personalized, and your sales staff will have all of the clearance and sales information at their fingertips, as well as customer information if applicable, which allows for up-sales and additional sales opportunities.
With a mobile POS for small business, your staff can also walk the floors with mobile devices and checkout customers face to face, right from the sales floor. The combination of the streamlined checkout functions and mobile support allows you to cut down on lines, make the shopping experience more convenient, and personalize your customer service.
There are several ways that this improves sales. First, you are closing more transactions in less time, which can make a huge difference on a busy day. Quicker transactions mean improved shopping experiences for your customers, and more return customers who find shopping at your store to be convenient and pleasant. Also, the fact that you are dramatically cutting your lines and wait times will greatly reduce walk-outs and customer frustration.
Customers remember the unique experiences they have when shopping. The face-to-face interactions afforded by a mobile POS system provide for memorable, personal experiences that allow your customers to connect with your brand on a human level. Your staff can help customers select products, try on clothes, query inventories, and then enjoy the convenience of immediate checkout, no lines necessary. Combine all of this with smooth transactions that allow your customers to get out the door with ease with their new purchases and you have a truly powerful retail experience. These are the kinds of experiences that are going to keep your customers coming back, and telling everyone else to do the same.
It’s all about giving yourself an edge over the competition and providing your customers with a reliable, convenient, and memorable shopping experience. This all culminates in increased revenue through greater sales opportunities, return customers, and new arrivals looking to experience your legendary customer service for themselves. Check out next generation POS for small business with Table Talk Tech, or call us at 240-489-2955 and get started today.
How Does POS Make Employee Management Easier?
Many small business owners can agree that managing employees is a time-consuming and energy intensive process, and fortunately a point-of-sale can help simplify and streamline this process. For starters, a good POS platform can track each of your employees and their hours worked, their total sales, their time punches, and other essential data points.
Tracking employee sales and performance is a great way to maximize the effectiveness of your staff, and this is easy to accomplish with your POS system. You can check your employees’ sales performance in real time, determine which employees are strongest at a given task, and organize your workforce accordingly.
Tracking employee hours and pay makes the payroll process much easier, and all of this is easy to accomplish with a built-in time clock. If you need to manage your employees’ hours after the fact, you can easily modify clock-ins and clock-outs, and if one of your staff forgets to clock in at a certain point, you can add that in as well. You can also create a time card report that provides the total number of hours an employee worked, along with their job function and pay class. You can even split up employee pay rates in case your employees fulfill multiple functions with different pay rates throughout the course of the week. The best part is that you can do all of this from an intuitive web-based control panel, anytime and anywhere you have an active Internet connection.
Many small business owners regard payroll as a time-consuming nightmare, but POS employee tracking makes the process much easier. All of the data you need for payroll is already retained and calculated by your POS software as your employees conduct their daily tasks and interact with the time clock. You have a complete record of hours worked, break and lunch periods, total pay, overtime, and other useful stores of data that can be fed right into your favorite payroll programs, or handled by a third party.
Having your payroll managed by a third party is a great way to save time and energy and focus on your business. For example, Table Talk Tech provides Intuit-based payroll services in which we take your employee hour data and manage direct deposits, tax withholdings, tax payments, and W-2s. Payroll data is synced with QuickBooks, so you have everything you need for your records.
Whatever method you decide to use, cloud-based POS makes your employee management and payroll that much easier. Investment in POS for small business means more easy and effective employee management, which translates to more efficient business operations, lower costs, and more energy allocated toward effective business management. Mobile cloud-based POS handles all of the heavy lifting for you, and the best part is that all of the data and modification functions you need are stored on a single cloud server that you can access at any time. Now is the time to call 240-489-2955 and upgrade your employee management capabilities.
How Does POS Improve Security for Customers?
A POS for small business greatly improves security for your customers by providing advanced layers of protection for the transaction process in the form of sophisticated payment processes and gateways, EMV and NFC technologies, and other mechanisms. Modern POS systems typically use integrated credit card processing in the form of USB-connected card readers which operate over the Internet as opposed to a traditional phone line.
Internet-based payments are handled by highly secure payment gateways that encrypt the information as it is sent to the payment processor. There are several different types of payment gateways with varying levels of integration and security, and a good POS system should allow you to choose the one that best suits your needs. Traditional non-integrated phone-line credit card processors also provide a decent level of security, but for the cutting edge in payment security, integrated payment processors definitely have the most up-to-date security innovations.
Security is incredibly important in this digital age, when unprotected sensitive information can easily be intercepted by malicious third parties. High payment security is not only good for customer peace of mind, but for covering your liabilities as well. With the introduction of EMV technology in particular, credit card companies are offloading liability onto the merchants that fail to adopt the technology.
This is why it is so important to adopt the most reliable and sophisticated security technologies such as EMV and NFC credit card security mechanisms, both of which are supported by Lavu’s POS. EMV is a relatively recent credit card technology which provides more secure and reliable transactions. EMV helps to reduce credit card fraud by utilizing an integrated circuit to pay, as opposed to a magnetic strip. Sensitive information can be copied off of a magnetic strip, but a circuit requires the card itself in the transaction.
NFC technology allows two devices to establish a radio connection and transfer information. You will often find NFC-based payment systems on smartphones in the form of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and PayPal Mobile. Upgrading your POS to account for NFC is a great way to improve the security of your transactions, and it also provides your customers with an incredibly convenient and enjoyable way to pay, which has the added benefit of improving the customer experience.
At Table Talk Tech, our own integrated credit card processing services are equipped with additional layers of security that go beyond the market standard. We are a PCI certified QIR (Qualified Integrated and Reseller), and our payment gateways represent the cutting edge in payment security. We utilize end-to-end encryption which allows for uninterrupted encryption between the POS software and the payment processor, as well as tokenization that converts sensitive data into non-sensitive symbols to prevent theft. We also provide secure systems with EMV and NFC technologies. If you’re serious about security, don’t hesitate to call us at 240-489-2955 and get started with one of our secure POS systems.
How Does POS Benefit Restaurant Owners?
For the restaurant owner, a POS for small business provides a wealth of features that are specifically advantageous to running a foodservice establishment. Possibly the most important characteristic that a next-generation POS system offers is the connectivity that is provided by wireless mobile cloud-based systems. Many different devices in your restaurant that are wireless-enabled can be potentially synced up to your POS system, allowing for an unprecedented level of coordination, speed, and accuracy.
For example, you can outfit multiple mobile devices with the POS software, allowing each server to take orders, modify orders, communicate with the bar and the kitchen, and close orders, among other functions, all while moving effortlessly from table to table. This allows your servers to devote most of their energy to customer interactions, improving the dining experience. Fewer mistakes are made since all of the order information is constantly synced up in real time, and orders are completed and closed with much greater efficiency. This allows for incredibly personalized, timely, and reliable ordering, reducing awkward wait times and miscommunications.
An upgraded POS for small business is incredibly useful to restaurant owners for this reason. Every restaurant owner knows that excellent customer service is just as important as the quality of the food itself. With mobile POS systems allowing you to provide a heightened customer experience, you can reap the benefits of greater customer loyalty, return visits, positive online reviews, longer stays with more purchases, and a steady flow of new customers thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations.
A quality POS also improves the upsell factor on a customer-by-customer basis. POS software can be programmed to provide menu item pairings, featured items, and order suggestions to be passed on by wait staff. This results in an improved flow of revenue for your business.
We mentioned that mobile POS systems allow wait staff to communicate with bars and kitchens. This is another important element to improving the overall operation of your restaurant business. Kitchens and bars can be fitted with touch displays that sync up with the POS software, allowing your staff to receive orders as they are taken. This helps to improve the accuracy and speed of orders, which helps your wait staff improve the overall customer experience.
Another benefit afforded by an upgraded POS is the improved level of feedback between front-of-house operations and inventories. You and your staff can have a constant awareness of inventory contents, and detailed sales reports can help you keep your menu items stocked for when you need them.
A next-generation POS system can help you dramatically improve the organization and responsiveness of your restaurant, and it can help you improve your customer experience, increase revenue, and cut down on costs through more efficient operations. Table Talk Tech can help you upgrade your POS system and get it working with maximum benefit for your restaurant. Give us a call at 240-489-2955 to get started.
What to Look for in a POS System
The POS for small business is a popular and sought-after product, and not surprisingly the industry is rife with competition. Of course, not all POS systems are worth their salt, so how do you distinguish the winners from the time-wasters? There are several things that every business owner should look for in a point-of-sale system.
To take full advantage of the features that a next-generation POS system has to offer, a mobile cloud-based system is the best way to benefit from the gains won by technological innovation over the last decade. This seems obvious enough, but again, there are many POS systems on the market, many of them not mobile and cloud-based. A mobile, cloud-based system allows for full synchronization and implementation of time-saving and organizing functions.
Look for a POS system that provides you with options. A closed proprietary system may have some decent software, but every restaurant is different and has varying requirements for its daily operations. A POS system should provide you with choices for your payment system providers and your card-scanning devices, and it should be able to integrate with existing applications you may be using, such as QuickBooks. For example, Lavu’s POS software integrates with many different types of applications, and provides support for different types of payment processing services, so you can choose the POS solution that works best for you.
Another marker of flexibility to look for in a POS is a tiered payment plan. You should be able to select the system that you need to successfully run your business without having to pay for functions that you don’t have use for.
Your chosen POS should also have strong security capabilities. You can never be too careful with your customers’ credit card information, so look for strengthened encryption features and next-generation security technologies such as EMV and NFC, as mentioned previously.
Just as important is solid hardware that is both reliable and intuitive to use. For example, Apple’s mobile devices and networking products are excellent platforms for POS software, and their touch screens make for an intuitive interface that is easy for staff to pick up right away and start using. Look for a POS system that uses quality hardware from a trusted name.
Table Talk Tech provides high-quality POS systems for small business that demonstrate all of the features you need to improve your business. We only work with the best hardware from Apple, a trusted name, and the Lavu POS software we use is at the top of its class. You can be assured that our POS systems receive the highest marks in the marketplace, and perform in retail and restaurant businesses of all different kinds.
Common Objections to Switching to POS
Of course, there are always going to be objections and concerns that arise when you consider any major business investment. In this case, much of the concern has to do with the complexity and comprehensive nature of a next-generation POS system, which makes implementation appear to be a pretty intimidating ordeal for many businesses.
Maybe you feel set in your ways and satisfied with the manner in which you have always done things, or perhaps you have a set of programs you’ve always used to get the job done. You fear that switching over to a new POS system could be particularly disruptive to your business, inhibiting your day-to-day operations.
Many business owners are worried about the learning curve for a new POS system, and how much time and energy it will take to get their entire staff up to speed with the new system. What if you invest all of this time, energy, and money into a new POS system to simply have it turn out to be a disappointment?
These are all common and quite reasonable concerns from small business owners, but none of them are particularly necessary in the long run. That’s because a next-generation POS for small business provides a net gain for business despite any initial challenges. Yes it takes time and energy to implement a new POS system, and it takes time to get all of your staff completely acquainted with the new system, but these costs are nothing compared to the long-term gains in productivity, reliability, and effectiveness that your business will enjoy.
What’s more, help from a dedicated team of professionals is just a phone call away. Table Talk Tech specializes in helping small businesses get upgraded to a new POS system, while taking full advantage of it in the process. With the professional help we provide (along with the comprehensive training videos and technical support to help get your staff up to speed and keep your POS system running smoothly), there is no reason to keep putting off your POS upgrade.
A modern point-of-sale system more than pays for itself once it is up and running. With the help of knowledgeable experts and an investment of time, your business will become much more efficient and your customer service will improve dramatically, increasing sales and revenue and helping your business to grow.
Why Choose Table Talk Tech?
Table Talk Tech is the leading provider of POS for small business in Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia, and there are several great reasons to choose us as your POS partner. Our standards for hardware and software solutions are uncompromising, and we provide only the higest quality products for our customers.
It’s one thing to invest in a reliable POS system, but we want you to actually maximize its potential and get the most out of your investment. We aren’t satisfied until you are achieving the return you should expect from your new system.
We employ talented professionals who know POS inside and out, and our team can help with the full installation of your upgraded POS system, no matter the configuration. We offer free evaluations for all of our clients, and as experienced restaurant professionals, we can thoroughly grasp the unique demands of a business and build out a POS solution that is tailored for your particular needs.
After the installation, we don’t just leave our clients in the dust. We provide ongoing technical support and training to ensure that you are getting everything you can out of your POS system. We can also provide other useful services such as payroll and financing, thereby allowing you to focus on what you do best.
When you work with Table Talk Tech, you aren’t just investing in a next-generation POS for small business – though that is a huge benefit in itself – you’re investing in a partner who has your long term business goals in mind. We help businesses grow through the powerful features of mobile cloud-based POS. Are you ready to get started upgrading your POS? Give us a call at 240-489-2955 for a free evaluation.
Get started today!