Categories: Services and Support
For many small retailers, the decision to upgrade their retail software or purchase a new point of sale (POS) system for the first time is the easy part. The difficulties arise when deciding on which types of systems to research, and how to decide on one solution.
In addition, most retailers don’t have retail software experience. Their experience is often limited to QuickBooks or Peachtree accounting systems, old-fashioned cash registers, and Microsoft Office. When going into a POS software search, three things should be kept at the forefront of your mind:
(1) Decide which applications you need. If you don’t need merchandise planning, don’t pay more for a system that has it. If you need a module to manage your warehouse inventory, don’t skimp and go with a system that doesn’t offer it. Deciding which applications you really want before looking at your choices is the best way to go about narrowing down systems.
(2) Decide which systems are best for your retail specialty. Some systems have a lot of extra features that are specifically designed for certain retail specialties, such as common SKU-databases for liquor stores or advanced size and color settings for apparel industries. Consider which systems are best for your industry to find the software that will give you the most bang for your buck.
(3) Pick a budget and stick to it. Going into the selection process, you should be comfortable with the amount you are willing to invest in software.
My company has put together a guide to retail software selection for small businesses. You can check it out here: Point of Sale (POS) Systems for Small Business | 5 Affordable Solutions. The guide features a side-by-side comparison of features and the types of stores best served by the systems. Here’s a quick recap of the 5 solutions from the guide:
1. Comcash POS
One of the biggest names in POS software, Comcash POS is also a good solution for small businesses. The system is touchscreen compatible, therefore making it a good choice for those that already have - or need - touchscreen terminals. It’s a good choice for a wide range of specialities, from gas stations to gift shops. The system can be deployed on-premise on Windows servers or hosted by Comcash.
A good solution for specialty retailers that are looking to grow in size. This system includes an advanced SKU inventory system that help makes apparel processing efficient. Also has a repair management module, making it a good choice for retailers that offer repairs and services (e.g., bicycle shops). Retail Manager is offered as an on-premise cloud-based solution.
Microsoft’s Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) is a really good system that is ideal for both single-store retailers and those that have a couple of stores to manage. The two versions of RMS (individual store and head office) allow you to only buy the system that fits your business size, while allowing for smaller retailers to upgrade when necessary. Also includes management features, such as an integrated time clock and employee-level restrictions. Dynamics RMS runs on Windows servers and operating systems.
POS Prophet Systems is affordable solution, suited for single-store and medium-sized retailers, and includes functionality seen in more-expensive solutions. Offers two versions, one for general retailers (that also is great for most specialties), and a food service version. PPS can integrate with Peachtree and QuickBooks for retailers that wish to continue using these programs. This system is Windows-based and must be run on-premise.
5. Retail STAR
Cam Commerce’s Retail STAR is another affordable solution that also has a lot of functionality. Retail STAR can easily integrate with both touch-screen and single key terminals for easy sales and inventory processing. Cam Commerce can also assist with business consulting, including data conversion from older systems. Retail STAR can be purchased in one installment up-front, via monthly installments, or paid by an annual subscription plan.
Be sure to check out the guide for more details on these and other retail software systems.
Read More In: Services and Support
Commentary on the latest trends in ERP software - with tips on cloud computing, market structure, and accounting software developments.