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An Introduction to Point of Sale Software

No business could possibly survive without transactions. Where these transactions occur is what is referred to as the point of sale. Take a grocery store, for example. The whole store isn’t the point of sale. It’s where the cashier is positioned at the front. That’s where you bring the things you want to purchase and exchange money for them. Though there are many differences between the digital and real world, this remains the same. All ecommerce sites need a point of sale and, as you’d expect, they must have the right software for doing so.

What is Point of Sale Software?

The simplest way to think of point of sale is just that it’s the digital version of the checkout area. This is where customers get the total they’ll be charged for all the items they’re purchasing, plus sales tax, any other additional charges and minus coupons, rebates or some other kind of deduction they may have.

It’s also the software you need to process their choice of payment. Obviously, online, no one is just taking out cash. One big difference, then, is that point of sale software generally doesn’t give change. The closest it gets is if your business uses gift cards. In that case, the software will have to monitor how much was left on it after the purchase.

Along the same lines, one vital task point of sale software performs is keeping records of customer transactions. Online businesses thrive on analytics, so the more information your choice in platform can provide you with, the better off your company will be. It can also create whole customer databases for you and handle inventory management.

Lastly, though no business owner wants to think about it, point of sale software should be able to handle returns. Those work a bit differently online; the software needs to keep tabs on what was purchased, when the returned product is received and then provide the customer with their funds back.

Major Goals of Point of Sale Software

Point of sale software can have a number of different goals based on your company’s unique needs. However, the most obvious one is that it makes purchasing as simple as possible for your customers. The last thing you want is a sticking point at the most important step of your business plan. Your software should give customers a clear and simple path so that they can purchase their things and move on.

Like we mentioned above, you also want software that will log data and create analytics for you. Choosing software that doesn’t do this would just be a waste. However, the goal of your platform should be to make this data as digestible as possible. The easier analytics are to read, the more you can do with the information.

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Company

While your business’ specific needs make it difficult to recommend any one thing, there are definitely some features just about every company will want in their point of sale software.

You want to make sure you have sufficient logins for the employees in your company or at least those who will be working with the software. This will generally affect the price you get for the platform.

As we’ve talked about, you should only consider platforms that give you great analytics. What that means for you will depend, which is why it’s helpful if a manufacturer gives you plenty of examples or time to experiment with the software. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of data you can’t do anything with.

Auto responders are great too. They’re a simple way of communicating with your customer based on their purchase. Even if you’re not writing the most detailed content, something as simple as a “Thank You!” or “You’ll Be Receiving This Shortly” could go a long way.

Nowadays, third-party backup is a fairly common service, but not every title will have it. Basically, you want your software and all the data it’s harvested to be stored and kept under lock and key. First, this will save you a lot of trouble if your own hosting service goes down. Second, it will help with security as well.

Finally, customer support can’t be stressed enough. Perhaps you’ve seen what happens when a store is busy and one of the cash registers breaks down. All of a sudden a huge bottleneck forms. Now imagine this happening, except all the registers go down and the customers can simply switch to a competitor with the click of a button.

While you shouldn’t expect that your platform will ever just break down on you, it’s best to be prepared for a learning curve of some sort and a minor problem or two from time to time. When this happens, you want customer support that will have you back up and running as soon as possible, so you don’t miss out on a single dime.

Point of sale software is essential for every business with an online presence. Hopefully, the above advice gives you enough information to help you make an acceptable choice for your company. You certainly won’t lack for options.

Cloudswave Awards Q2 2016 : Best Point of Sale (POS) Software

The Cloudswave Awards is a seasonal ranking of the Top 10 business applications across several categories.
This ranking is based on the cloudswave score, the weighted average score that captures the essence of multiple critic reviews into one number.

Find out more about this scoring system

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Detailed comparison of the 10 best Point of Sale software