For restaurant and retail businesses, your POS and payment systems form the backbone of all your transactions. You might not always think of these systems as sources of data analytics, but for a growing number of retailers and restaurant owners, POS devices are playing key roles in omnichannel commerce strategies.
In this new world of POS-driven analytics, it’s essential to future-proof your POS solution. But when retailers focus on their lists of “must-have” features, many of them unfortunately skip over the factors that will be most crucial over the lifetime of their POS system.
Here are three critical factors you won’t want to overlook when planning your next POS upgrade:
1. Your customers want mobile-style transactions
Many customers already use mobile devices to keep in touch with friends, plan their day, and make purchases from merchants around the globe, and that number is only going to grow. What’s more, customers increasingly expect every transaction to offer the streamlined convenience of a mobile app—whether they’re buying online or in a brick-and-mortar store.
Mobile POS systems have been shown to reduce transaction time, raise efficiency, and even increase the likelihood of an upsell. These systems can run on stationary touch-screen kiosks or on tablets or smartphones carried by your staff. A growing number of restaurants are even trying out apps that let customers order and pay right from the table, without ever taking out their wallets.
2. Your POS should help you manage inventory
A cutting-edge POS system will do much more than just streamline transactions. These systems are designed to communicate with one another — and with your existing inventory software. That means you’ll get a steady stream of real-time data on your supply chain, so you’ll always know what to reorder, what to put on the shelf, what’s about to expire, and what to plan to order next week.
That means any business whose POS system doesn’t help manage inventory could be potentially abandoning profit opportunities. This can happen due to inaccurate orders, supply chain hang-ups, and a wide range of other inventory-related inefficiencies – all of which can be easily mitigated with POS-based inventory management. The ability to adjust inventory, see what is available, and even fulfill on the fly, in real time, can really open up sales opportunities and increase the moments you have to wow your customers.
3. Your POS system should talk to your marketing system
You’ve probably heard that many retailers and restaurant owners are linking real-time transactional data with their cloud-based analytics platforms. From those platforms, your marketing pros can set up actions triggered by transactions — so customers automatically receive personalized offers as a direct result of the actions they just took in the store. With real-time POS data being fed directly into your marketing software, you can also easily segment customers based on their real-world purchases and develop automated campaigns that respond to the actions they take in-store.
Looking to replace an ECR or bring on a Mobile POS system? Check out our guide on “Using Better Data to Drive an Increase Share of Wallet” to learn about harnessing real-time data, using what you know about each guest to personalize their experience, up-selling, and checklists for future-proofing your current and next POS system.