Top 10 features to look for in retail POS systems


Retail store owners know all about the daily hustle. If you are running a business, you also know how important it is to have reliable, industry-specific features that can help automate tasks and give you that much needed support day in and day out. When it comes to technology, a retail POS system can be your biggest ally and closest confidant. Your POS is essentially the central hub of your operations and an extension of your store.

But not all POS systems (or features) are built the same. The right POS can make your business and the wrong POS can set you back weeks or months. Your POS is ultimately the sum of all of its features. But with so many new features and tech popping up, how do you know which features are going to make your life easier and really help you divide and conquer on the day to day? We’ve got you covered with our top 10 features for a retail POS. 

Benefits of having retail POS software

Retail POS software is a game changer for any store. By allowing you to automate time consuming tasks and reduce everyday mistakes, a POS helps you work smarter and not harder.  If you’re on the fence as to why you should add this essential tool to your retail roster here are some of the main reasons: 

Reduce wait times and lines: A streamlined and efficient POS makes it easy to quickly ring up customers, helping you ensure they’re spending more time shopping and less time waiting in queues. Flash service also encourages repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, bolstering a retailer's reputation and bottom line.

Improve the customer experience: A POS speeds up transactions and also minimizes the chances of pricing errors or inventory discrepancies that can lead to frustration.

Keep better track of your inventory:  By keeping real-time track of inventory, businesses can ensure that products are readily available when customers want them, further enhancing the shopping experience.

Automated reporting:  The software's automated reporting capabilities provide valuable insights into customer preferences and sales trends, helping retailers make data-driven decisions to cater more effectively to their target audience.

Improve information security: Safety first! When dealing with important customer information, your POS is your best ally and your best front at fighting any potential cyberattacks. 

Top 10 features to look for in retail POS systems

1. Inventory search and management

It’s the 21st century and gone are the days of staying up late calculating inventory. At least they should be! If you’re in the business of selling products, you’re in the business of inventory management. Inventory is likely the biggest component of what you do as a retail store, and how you manage it can have serious implications to the success of your business. 

Imagine you have a sale coming up on your most popular pair of shoes, and the day before your sale, you realize you're running very low in stock. This could lead to a loss in sales and a negative experience for customers.

Your POS system should allow you to track stock levels in real-time, receive low-stock alerts, and provide insights into sales trends. This ensures that you can optimize your inventory, reduce overstocking and stockouts, and ultimately improve your profitability.

When looking for a retail POS ensure their inventory tools allow you to make:

  • Bulk product imports
  • Easy product searches 
  • Stock counts
  • Stock reorder points and low level warnings
  • Product variants
  • Returns and exchanges 

2. Accounting integration

Whether you love crunching numbers or can’t bear to look at another calculator, accounting is a fact of life for business owners. The better processes you set up from the get-go, the easier it’ll be when tax season comes around. 

The best way to ensure your accounting is accurate and up to date? An accounting integration that syncs with your POS sales information and data. One of the biggest advantages is the elimination of manual data entry, reducing the risk of errors and saving valuable time. Real-time transaction recording ensures that your financial records are always up to date, simplifying the process of tracking sales, expenses, and overall financial health. Come tax season, your system's ability to maintain accurate records can simplify the tax filing process, potentially reducing tax liabilities and ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

3. Scalability and growth

Whether you're happy running a one-location business or you have your eyes set on multiple locations, it’s important to have a POS that can scale. Your business may grow over time, and your POS system should be able to grow with it. Look for a solution that can adapt to accommodate your changing needs, whether it's adding more registers, locations, or expanding your product offerings. 

You should also be able to oversee your different locations from your POS back office. From taking a look at sales reports across locations or just double checking inventory levels, the right POS will let you handle all of your locations with ease, simplifying operations and improving consistency.

4. Flexible payment method options

Taking payments is a fundamental part of the sales process. With more payment options popping up each day, it’s important to have technology that easily accepts a variety of payment types. Your POS system should support various payment methods, like offering credit, mobile wallets, and contactless payments. Look for a POS system that accommodates a wide range of payment methods, including but not limited to:

  • Cash: Ensure the system can handle cash transactions seamlessly, including providing change calculations.
  • Credit and debit cards: The ability to process chip, magnetic stripe, and contactless card payments is essential for modern retailers.
  • Mobile or digital wallets: Verify that the POS system supports popular mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

5. Integrated payment processing 

Integrated payment processing streamlines the entire payment process. It simplifies the payment experience for customers and enhances operational efficiency by eliminating the need for manual data entry and reconciliation. Human error can be detrimental when inputting payments and integrated payment processing can significantly reduce the risk of human errors, ensuring accurate financial records and preventing costly mistakes. Plus, it improves security by adhering to stringent payment industry standards and protecting sensitive customer information.

6. Mobility

Store owners and managers are always on the move. Mobile cloud-based retail POS systems let you check on sales reports or manage different aspects of your business from a computer or other device anywhere. 

Mobile POS systems allow businesses to conduct transactions anywhere, whether it's inside a physical store, a pop up or even outdoor event locations. This flexibility can increase sales opportunities and customer convenience. Mobile POS systems can be run on many different devices like a phone or a tablet. This makes it easier to help customers wherever they are in the store and even take payments. 

7. Omnichannel capabilities

Customers want to interact with you across multiple touchpoints. This means having a POS with omnichannel capabilities. Whether they want to shop in-store, online, via a mobile app, or through social media, it’s important to create spaces to interact with your customers that span multiple mediums.  

In today's retail landscape, where online and offline shopping experiences coexist, the concept of omnichannel is key. An effective retail POS system should seamlessly integrate with your omnichannel strategy. By having an interconnected system, you can accept payments online or in store, let customers buy online and pick up in-store or even cross-channel promotions. A POS with omnichannel features can help boost sales and drive brand loyalty, as customers can engage with your brand on their own terms, anytime and anywhere. 

8. Compliance and security

Efficient and secure payment processing is non-negotiable in today's retail landscape. When you're handling customer’s personal information, having the right safeguards in place is paramount to gain your client's trust. Your POS and having the right payment processor will be your first line of defense against potential data theft and other unfortunate scenarios. Your POS system and payment processor should be PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant to protect sensitive customer information.

Your POS should also have additional security features to fight other cyber threats.  Data breaches and security threats are a constant concern in the digital age. Your POS system should have robust security measures like data encryption, user access controls, and regular security updates, to protect both your business and customer data.

9. Customer and loyalty management

Customers are everything for a retailer and building strong customer relationships is key to long-term success. A retail POS system with CRM features can help you collect and manage customer information, track purchase histories, and create targeted marketing campaigns. Personalized experiences can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher sales.  Loyalty programs are a part of doing business now, and it works. 71% of customers consider loyalty programs an important part of their customer experience. 

Reward your regulars with discounts and perks that relate to their tastes and preferences. Do you have new products coming in soon? Give your most loyal customers a sneak peek or an exclusive discount on new items. If a particular customer regularly orders your lavender skin care products, for example, and you have a new line of lavender soaps coming out, reach out to them with personalized offers. 

10. Analytics and reporting

While personal intuition and anecdotal information are an important part of decision making, it should also be backed by data. Sometimes what you think is working, might actually be losing you money. You might think your best seller is generating you the most profit, but there might be other items that have the potential of bringing you more profits based on the margins you get from them. 

Ultimately, data is your greatest ally in making informed business decisions. A good retail POS system should offer robust reporting and analytics tools. You should be able to generate sales reports, track performance metrics, and gain insights into customer behavior, all in one dashboard. This information is invaluable for refining your business strategy and marketing efforts. 

Merchant receiving payment with credit card on modern POS system.

Finding the best features for your unique business

The truth is, every business will have a different set of needs and challenges to overcome. With so many options to choose from, and more coming up each day, how do you take on the herculean task of finding a POS that works for you? 

Sekure Payment Experts helps merchants find the right POS and payment processing deal for them. With our roster of industry-specific POS systems, we get to know your business, the types of features you need and which POS will best fulfill your unique business needs. From finding you the best rate possible for your credit card payment service to connecting you to the right POS for your business, Sekure helps you every step of the way. 
Schedule a demo today to find out how Sekure can help you today.

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