How to Choose a POS System for your Retail Company

A retail business can greatly benefit from a point of sale (POS) system. Not only does a POS system more efficiently process transactions, but the system can also improve customer satisfaction, marketing, inventory management, and many other business operations. But with so many POS system options available, it can be hard to know which one is best for your retail company.

Here’s what you need to consider in order to find POS software that fits your needs now and long into the future.

Cost (Upfront & Long Term)

One of the first factors that you’ll want to consider when choosing a retail POS system is the price. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. While it’s not advisable to purchase the cheapest POS system on the market, you also don’t want to choose a POS system that leaves your company low on cash. Thankfully there are many top-notch systems with reasonable price tags.

When researching POS systems, pay close attention to possible hidden fees. For example, while a vendor may advertise their system as being free, it’s most likely that the software itself is free, but you’ll be on the hook to pay for required hardware such as a cash register, barcode scanners, and other devices to complete the system.

If pricing is ambiguous, it’s best to call the system vendor to get pricing details. This way you know exactly how much you need to pay upfront along with any monthly service charges.

Know What Features Will Most Benefit Your Company

Today’s POS systems are highly advanced. While a modern POS system is able to effectively replacement an old cash register, you can expect the system to do much more than simply processing sales. In fact, the right POS system will touch various business factions, including marketing, inventory management, and even employee management.

The first step in choosing the right POS system is to choose one that’s designed for the retail industry. If you’re running a retail store, you obviously don't want a POS system that was designed for the restaurant industry.

But choosing a retail-based POS system is only a start! As with any other product, POS systems aren’t all the same. This means you’ll want to pinpoint which features and functionality are must-haves. Some things that will most benefit your business include:

  • Support for various transaction types (sales, returns, refunds, gift cards, etc.)
  • Acceptance of many payments options
  • Inventory management
  • Mobile access
  • Staff management
  • Analytics
  • Marketing/customer management

These features only scratch the service. Before searching for a POS system, take the time to figure out where your process bottlenecks are, and then determine which features can help to alleviate gaps in your processes and daily operations.

Try Before You Buy

Just like you’d never buy a pair of shoes before trying them on, you don’t want to buy a POS system without first trying it out. Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a few systems, take the time to try out demos of the product. Some POS system companies even offer free trials of the software, allowing you to experience the system up close and personal.

When demoing POS systems, pay close attention to the interface and overall experience. You’re likely to get the most buy-in from your employees if the system is straight forward and easy to use. Without a steep learning curve, more employees are likely to be accepting of the new technology.

You’ll also want to ensure that the POS system you choose integrates with any existing hardware you have. This can reduce costs but also solidifies the fact that you’re buying a scalable system.

Customer Service Support

Advanced systems aren’t fool-proof, and in the event that something happens to your POS system, you want to have the peace of mind that you’ll get the support you need in order to get the system back up and running. This is why it’s crucial to choose a POS system company that offers quality customer service support.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a vendor that offers around-the-clock support. If the system goes down at 5 AM and your retail store opens at 8 AM, you want to have the system back up before customers stroll in to make a purchase.

You may also find it beneficial to choose a POS system company that offers support via phone and online. This is convenient and offers many avenues to get the help you need in order to troubleshoot the problem. You’ll also want to ask about in-person customer support (ie. the initial set up of the system) if needed.


Investing in a POS system for your retail business isn’t a decision to make on a whim. Be sure to consider the factors above so that you choose a POS system that meets your business needs and offers a high return on investment.