Employees working at a point of sale terminal.

Keys to Choosing the Best POS System for Small Businesses

How do you know what the best POS system for small businesses is? A point of sale system (POS) is how your business accepts payments from customers. An omnichannel combination of hardware, software, or cloud-based systems offers small business owners a way to accept digital transactions, track customer buying patterns, and manage other activities, including eCommerce integration from your eCommerce platform. Whether using a coffee-shop card machine, paying for clothes with a super fast mobile app, or having a book scanned at the checkout desk, these are all parts of a much larger point of sales system. 

At their most basic level, POS systems include credit card payment processor hardware and send the funds to your bank account. POS systems can also contain software to help you run and grow your entire business, like detailed sales reports, analytics, marketing tools, customer relationship management, loyalty programs, gift cards and more. Cash registers, on the other hand, are simple machines that record sales, give change, and store money with no other add-ons. Keep in mind that cash registers don’t take credit card payments or include other management tools, like online sales tracking and customer loyalty programs. Cash registers have basic functions and simple reporting, like telling you how many sales you made that day.

What Do I Need From My POS System?

No two POS services are the same. As a discerning business owner, it’s your job to find the best point of sales service for your company. That means finding a POS system at the right price with the functionality you need. Many different functions and integrations inside your point of sale system benefit you as a small business owner, such as intuitive inventory management, loyalty programs monitoring, management of gift cards, sales information, and customer management. All of this data is in the POS hardware and POS software. Retail POS systems are very important for the restaurant business; it’s not only a fast and efficient way to help process credit card transactions, but restaurant POS systems help streamline the other aspects of your business. It can include both front-of-the-house functions, such as customer relationship management, and back-of-the-house functions, like onboarding new employees and tracking inventory

Bars, Cafes and Restaurants

Bars and restaurants are unique beasts and require a lot of customizable, specialized POS solutions (not just credit card readers and payment processing with a cash drawer attached). There are features for employee management, online ordering, email marketing and correspondence, and many other business needs. When shopping for a good POS system, look for one that makes it easy to change menu items and communicate item modifiers with the kitchen display system or printed tickets. Well-designed POS systems for food trucks and restaurants can split tickets between diners and keep open tickets for customers who want to settle their tab later. With any restaurant or bar POS system, you want to easily reconcile cash sales and keep track of payouts to make closing out at the end of the night a breeze. And don’t forget about built-in tipping to keep your staff happy!

Retailers, eCommerce and Inventory Management

A retail business often needs a retail POS terminal that offers inventory management and connects to a barcode scanner and receipt printer. Shoppers can save their payment info for future purchases to checkout faster. An integrated POS keeps your in-store and online store orders, items, and inventory in sync. It also has features to aid in customer relationship management to connect an email or phone number with the customer. This is beneficial for advertising future deals and online specials, plus Shopify POS features streamline future purchases at your retail store like a pro. You’ll also want one that incorporates Android and Apple Pay software to make contactless payments. Some notable brands include Micros, Touchbistro, Clover, Revel, Vend and Square.

Contractors and Home Repair

If you run a home and repair business, you need a mobile POS system that allows you the ease of use to make secure credit card payments in real-time at the job site, even if you’re in a remote location without connectivity. You can accept chip cards and contactless payments and protect your business from the liability shift with contactless card and chip readers, mobile devices, PayPal and other NFC payment options without a physical kiosk or terminal.

Monthly Fees and Back End Processing

All of these accounting software features and hardware options can cost anywhere from $60 a month for the most basic of POS systems to $150+ a month upfront for software with moderate to high functionality. But that’s not all; there are often extra POS system costs for additional users, advanced reporting, specific transaction fees and multi-location management. Some small business POS systems even charge extra for full customer support, and that doesn’t even include credit card processing fees. Some POS systems often offer multi-location management to monitor different branch locations. However, some POS solutions charge extra for each additional location, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to expand.

Let Pineapple POS Help You!

Benefit from free hardware, easy software onboarding, fully transparent payment processing fees and system integration. Pineapple POS is the top pick for local point of sale installation, service and support. Let Jaret Smotrila and the team at Pineapple POS go to work to find the best POS system for your small business. Contact us today!