As you approach starting a business, one thing you’ll need to consider is how to accept payments from customers. Many small business owners rely on a point-of-sale (POS) system.
It’s more sophisticated than a cash register, as it enables a business to accept credit and debit card payments in addition to recording cash and check transactions.
But, a POS can actually do so much more than simply accept payments. These systems also track sales and can generate reports to help you better understand trends and peak sales periods. In addition, nearly every POS uses your transaction data to help manage your inventory, letting you know when you’re running low.
Choosing a POS system can be a tricky process. There are many features and points of comparison to consider among different vendors. And, if you’re just starting out, it’s difficult to predict what tools your business will need to run smoothly. To help you get started, here are some must-have features that most small businesses need from their POS system.
As a small business owner, your time is a limited resource. You’re likely wearing many hats at once, from accountant to HR representative to floor manager. A POS system should help make some of those responsibilities much easier with tools to manage your business.
Think about what business operations take up most of your time. The right POS system can help manage paperwork, accounting, and inventory management. Most modern POS systems are set up to integrate accounting tasks (even payroll), making it easy to reconcile your spending at the end of the month. Others can meet inventory management needs, help set up customer rewards and marketing campaigns, and more.
Some POS providers even have their own app markets, to help you set up your POS with the specific functions you need to run your business. Clover, for example, has the Clover App Market with hundreds of apps you can add to help you with everything from employee background checks to reordering receipt paper.
Speaking of background checks: you’ll also want tools to help you with hiring, managing employees, and scheduling staff. As your business grows, your hiring needs will, too. At a basic level, make sure your system comes with unlimited employee roles so that each team member can use the platform (with the right level of access and permissions).
Additionally, today’s POS systems come with tools to help keep your employees motivated, happy and paid. Reward your top people by keeping track of sales numbers. Set up team commissions. Save time spent scheduling shifts. Run payroll–with the right taxes factored in–with features integrated into your POS system.
As your team scales, you may also want to think about how you’ll keep your system centralized. This could mean using multiple devices on the same cloud platform. The hardware specs of your POS matter almost as much as the platform’s features.
And, talking about cloud platforms and employees, make the task of collecting customer payments easier for employees with a POS system that can accept contactless, mobile, gift-card, check, credit, debit, or digital-wallet payments—all on the same system, even when the WiFi goes down.
A POS system can also help you manage cash flow, protect your financial data, and improve your bottom line. When you’re first starting out, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your business cash flow. Your POS should have built-in reporting tools that make this easy. Clover, for instance, is part of Fiserv, one of the largest financial services providers. That means we can access market and industry data to help you benchmark your results through Clover’s Main Street Insights. And, for times when cash gets tight, look for a POS provider that offers products to help you get your funds on demand–like Rapid Deposit by Clover.
Small businesses are a frequent target of cyber threats. Look for a POS system that offers security and PCI compliance to protect your business and your customers from chargebacks and fraud. More advanced POS systems, like Clover, can also provide financial services, such as faster settlement (Clover Rapid Deposit) or advances against your own sales (Clover Capital). As a partner, Clover can easily grow with your business’s needs.
Finally, look for a POS system that has built-in features that allow you to reach your customers, connect with them, and keep them coming back time after time. New businesses need a way to gain insight from early sales. Clover’s Customer Engagement Suite includes Feedback, a feature that lets your customers share reviews directly with you (rather than in a public forum). That way, you can adjust your customer experience early as needed and optimize every sales opportunity that walks through the door.
Likewise, Clover’s Customer Engagement Suite helps you optimize your customer lifetime value, an important metric that investors may ask for as you reach the next level of growth. Through Rewards and Promos, you can recognize your most loyal customers and send targeted promotions to help improve retention (and cash flow). Some POS systems, like Clover, also offer tools to provide and manage custom digital or physical gift cards so that your customers can introduce their friends to your products and services.
As you compare different POS systems, look for something that’s flexible, scales easily with your business, and offers tons of features to make running your business more efficient. Ultimately, a POS system should make life easier, not more complicated.
To learn more about a Clover POS system, talk to a Clover business consultant.