A point of sale (POS) system is the nerve centre of any retail operation. It performs the core functions in the store – managing the customer transactions that enable you to trade and taking the payments that make up your revenue. But not all POS retail systems are created equal, and the qualities of your point of sale make all the difference to the level of service you offer your customers and the operational efficiency of your business.

  • iVend Point of Sale (POS)

iVend are leading experts in retail point of sale.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what sets some POS retail systems apart, exploring the five crucial ‘must-haves’ for smart POS retail software. These five features combine to help you minimise cost, delight your customers and steal a march on your competition.

So let’s take a look at how to use data to improve customer experience – here’s our top seven tips:

  • Connectivity
    In today’s joined-up world, connectivity is essential. There are three forms of connectivity that a POS retail system needs to have:

    • Connectivity to the cloud – POS retail software benefits from being run in the cloud as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud point of sale can be accessed from anywhere, is automatically updated and doesn’t have to be replicated across every store. These benefits are why the cloud POS retail software market is growing rapidly – from US $3,615 million in 2021 to a projected US $26,355 million by 2030 – that’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.7% * between 2022 and 2030.
    • Connectivity to other store systems – point of sale is the core of the store, but if it is connected to other retail systems it can do so much more than take payments. A user interface with systems including inventory management, loyalty and accounting ensures that the retailer can eliminate redundant processes and the inefficiencies of double entry.
    • The third form of connectivity is to peripherals – the devices that enable the point of sale to take payments, scan barcodes and print receipts. A smart POS retail system has flexible connectivity options so that it can adapt to new devices as requirements change.
  • Mobility
    With the ever-increasing focus on customer experience, the use of mobile POS in stores is growing. The global mobile POS market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2023 to 2030, taking it up to US $85.11 billion**.  Mobile POS enables staff to get out from behind the register and interact with shoppers in the aisles, for:

    • Greater engagement.
    • Higher conversion rate, with fewer lost sales.
    • The ability to rapidly set up curbside pickup, pop-up stores or concessions.
    • Queue busting, with in-aisle checkout.
    • Better use of floor space by reducing the number of fixed lanes.
  • Accessibility
    In an efficient retail operation, key data is held once only, rather than in multiple places (one of the key benefits of the cloud). Whether it’s information about customers, inventory, prices, promotions or orders, a ‘single view of the truth’ eliminates duplication and inconsistency. This data must be easily accessible by front and back of store staff, with the point of sale acting as the primary window into the data held in a range of other systems.
  • Intuitive
    A store system can only add value if staff have the skills and desire to make the best use of it. A POS retail system needs to be intuitive and easy to use – particularly in a sector with an average of 60% staff turnover, and an economic climate that has created staff shortages and recruitment and retention challenges. Having a core POS retail system that is intuitive can make a very real difference to a retailer’s bottom line:

    ○ Reduced training time means that new staff are more productive with customers faster.

    ○ Reduced training cost – an intuitive system requires less time and therefore money on training.

    Staff morale and productivity – outdated technology drains staff morale, and impacts productivity. But if staff have a POS retail system they are confident about using, their work enjoyment is boosted, which then directly impacts the customer experience.

  • Offline mode
    Cloud has many advantages, but…retailers do have to plan for the rare occasions when internet connectivity might be lost. So it’s essential to have a point of sale that works in online offline mode. An ‘always on POS’ can continue checking out customers and taking payments, and synchronise back to the cloud system once connectivity is re-established, with the whole switchover as transparent and seamless to staff and customers as possible.
    As a retailer, you cannot operate without your point of sale, so use these five pointers to ensure that you are getting the maximum value from your ‘retail nerve centre’.

What is POS Software-as-a-Service?

This is where your POS application is run in a remote, single data centre, accessed via the internet. It is an alternative to having servers and a copy of the software and data in every store. The application is run for you by the service provider, meaning that it is always maintained, up to date, secure and backed up. You simply pay for the service as you use it – avoiding big upfront investments, and allowing you to match your expenditure with your usage, reducing your overall cost and speeding up your ROI.

What is online offline mode?

Having your POS run in the cloud delivers significant benefits, which is why many retailers are moving to POS Software-as-a-Service. But they do also need to have a plan in case their connectivity fails. One option is to have a failover to 4 or 5G, so that if the land-based network fails, the POS can use a mobile network to connect to the cloud. But to be absolutely protected against network failure, it’s essential to have a POS system that can seamlessly switch over to working in offline, or ‘isolated’ mode. The store continues to trade, and transactions are saved locally until connection is re-established and they can be synchronised back to the cloud system.

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