Every good retailer should use an EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale) system, as it is an indispensable tool for businesses. Simply put, an EPOS system processes sales transactions electronically and are the technology of choice for retailers, both large and small. They process sales transactions electronically by itemising and summarising sales and accurately receiving and recording payments. But an EPOS system doesn’t just ring up sales, they give real-time assessment of your inventory and customer information too.
Sales and inventory management are essential to the success of every retail business. The execution of both, good or bad, will make or break a business. Luckily today, EPOS technology has revolutionised the process.
Why EPOS is Great for Business
Cash registers are great for most small businesses, unless you have thousands of items for sale. And tracking inventory is one of the most time-consuming tasks for retailers.
That is where EPOS systems come in. By helping retailers of all sizes reduce the amount of time they need to spend calculating inventory and by helping to transition their brick and mortar shop to the online world.What is #EPOS And Why Is It So Essential For #Business via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
The digital age poses a challenge for retailers who looks to improve the customer experience while increasing profits due to increased pressure to offer a most holistic experience within a real-time retail model.
Technology has completely changed the way businesses operate. Due to the immediate nature of the Internet, today’s customers expect more out of their shopping experience leaving retailers with the responsibility of figuring out how.
Don’t let the thought of employing new technology overwhelm you. EPOS systems were designed to be very user-friendly. Its sole purpose is to make doing business easier.
How does an EPOS system work?
An EPOS system is like a cash register that is linked to a computer. Within it, it can process sales, maintain inventory, and in some of the more sophisticated systems, can be linked to the backend databases of supplier distribution warehouses.
The Functions of EPOS Systems
Basically, the EPOS system reads barcodes on products and charges the appropriate amount. Unlike traditional cash registers, EPOS systems automatically calculate and track changes to product prices while updating inventory at the same time.
This is a huge boon for retailers. Because of the abilities of an EPOS, retailers will spend less time having to count inventory and make restocking requests. With its easy to read nature for retailers, it can reduce the length of time something is ever out of stock, and make reordering products a breeze.
Choosing the Right EPOS System
Your choice in an EPOS system should be specific to the needs of your business. Like most computer-based systems, there’s a variety of EPOS software options to choose from.
The investment you make in an EPOS system will depend on the size of your business and customer base. For example, smaller retailers may want to steer clear of investing in complex programs. Some of the main features of EPOS systems are:
- Links to your accounting system
- Can be accessed remotely
- Supports electronic fund transfers (EFT)
- Prints labels
In addition to the above list, be sure that whatever system you choose, it also does the following:
- Handles payments quickly
- Updates inventory lists
- Provides instant stock information.
- Instant real time information on stock levels
- Demand prediction
- Does instant accounting
- Supports knowledge management to stock product lines in the right place at the right time
These are just a few examples. Keep in mind that software specialists and consultants can customise EPOS solutions to meet your business needs, like integrating the EPOS system with existing software, hardware, or website.
More Than an Electronic Cash Register
EPOS systems are not just electronic cash registers. Yes, at its most basic level it is designed to replicate the functions of a manual cash register, but it does so much more.
The ability to link your EPOS system to your computer and other databases is why EPOS has the clear advantage over traditional manual cash registers. Even if your business is small, you need to implement an EPOS.
EPOS vs Traditional Cash Registers
Let’s take a quick comparison of EPOS systems and traditional manual cash registers.
- Cash registers are machines that record sales transactions, gives change, and holds money. EPOS systems do this and so much more. They automatically update inventory as it goes out.
- EPOS systems are much faster and more accurate.
- What you see is what you get with traditional cash registers (manual and electronic) while EPOS systems can be customised to fit a company’s needs.
- EPOS systems can collect data on everything from sales transactions to how effective (or in some cases, ineffective) they are, unlike traditional cash registers who lack that capability.
Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing EPOS Systems – Tips from CAM Commerce
It’s best to be an educated consumer when deciding what EPOS system best meets the needs of your business. The costs of EPOS systems vary on need and the size of your company. Avoiding the 10 most common mistakes when choosing a system, according to CAM Commerce, will insure that you choose the system that is best for you.
- You don’t understand what you need
It’s hard to choose the right EPOS system if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you need. Every business process that you have can be automated through the system. But you need to take the time to really assess what it is that will work best for your business. Work through every process in your EPOS system (purchasing, transfer, and receiving, for example). The provider should be the best resource on the automation of each process, have extensive knowledge of the industry, and be able to make the appropriate recommendations.
- You don’t get references on products
A good rule of thumb is to get at least three product references before you buy. Contact those references and try to get local references. Local references will allow you to visit the store and see the EPOS system in action. Additional tips on getting local product references include making sure that the reference uses the same version of the software that you are looking for and ask a lot of questions. What do they like about the product? What don’t they like about it? What the implementation like? Does the provider offer ongoing support? Vet the product thoroughly before you buy.What is #EPOS And Why Is It So Essential For #Business via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
- You don’t do your due diligence
Not only do you need to vet the product, but also the company providing your new EPOS system. There is a difference between a company that sells the system and a company that exclusively sells EPOS systems. Vast knowledge and expertise usually comes from companies that have dedicated decades in that market. Because of the need of ongoing support after purchase, you need to do your due diligence and find out all that you can about the company you intend to buy from.
Here are some recommended questions to ask:
- How long has the company been in business?
- How large is the company?
- Is the company publicly traded?
- You don’t invest in training
This is not an area where you want to skimp. If you buy an EPOS system, but don’t invest in training on that system, then you will severely decrease your return on investment. Don’t let your system become a glorified cash register. Get the most out of it. Here are some tips to on how to be implement system training:
- Get at least 1 day of classroom training on the overview of your EPOS system pre-installation.
- Get at least a day and a half of installation training. Learn what you need to run your business day to day.
- Post-installation is a great way to address problems or ask questions after having used the system for at least a month. This training can usually be done remotely or over the phone.
- Take out some time to learn advanced features after you learn your way around the software. This may be three to six months after installation. Doing this can give your business a strategic advantage.
- You cheap out
It is easy to make decisions on what software to buy based solely on price. After all, you need to save money where you can. But don’t let price alone be the determining factor when selecting an EPOS system. An established company that knows what you don’t know about the ins and outs of operating an EPOS system may cost you a little more in the beginning, but will save you money and headaches in the future. Buy cheap will cost you more money and frustration in the long run. This is where the rule ‘you get what you pay for’ really starts coming true.
- Believing that one size fits all systems
There are a variety of EPOS systems from which to choose. They do not necessarily all do the same things so they will not be the right fit for your company. Don’t assume that they are interchangeable. There are different markets within the retail industry. What works for one retailer may not work for another. An EPOS system is not something you should ever consider buying ‘off the rack,’ it should be tailored to fit your needs.
- You customise your system’s software
EPOS systems come with many features and about 95% of the features you need, your system will have. However, systems can become obsolete. You don’t want to freeze yourself into the version that you purchased.What is #EPOS And Why Is It So Essential For #Business via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
- You overlook the need for backup
In today’s world, there is no excuse for not backing up your system. Whether you use a portable hard drive or an Internet-based service, backing up your system is much easier than it used to be. Backup is not only beneficial in the case of a computer crash; it can be crucial in the case of computer theft, floods, or fires.
- You choose the wrong partner
One risk of choosing an EPOS system company to buy from is choosing the wrong one. What if the company goes bust? What do you do then when you need support? You need to ensure that you buy from a reputable company. If you do, the risk of choosing wrong can be decreased greatly with just a few questions. For example:
- Is point-of-sale the company’s primary business?
- Is the provider THE company?
- Are they simply a reseller of a product?
- Do they provide ongoing support? If so, what type of support?
- Do they offer onsite technical assistance?
- Do they offer training classes?
Retailers can ensure success by avoid these common mistakes. Make a checklist using these tips and be a more informed customer when choosing the right EPOS system for your business.
The Benefits of EPOS Systems
EPOS systems don’t just ring up sales, they collect a massive amount of data on your inventory, customers, and even suppliers. No matter the size of your business or its needs, you can gain many benefits from using EPOS software.
EPOS systems offer solutions in many areas; inventory control, trend forecasting, automation, and ordering and delivery are just a few. These and other benefits include:
Improved Customer Service
Utilising EPOS systems is great for customer service for the following reasons:
- Provides up-to-the-minute data helps to meet customer demand
- Automation ensures stock availability when customers call.
- Analysis helps to ensure accurate stock to meet demand
- Frees up staff time checking on stock quantities, enabling them to better serve customers
- Can also be used to provide customer loyalty rewards
Inventory Assessment and Control
Accurately managing inventory is essential to the profitability of retailers. A EPOS system creates an inventory database that automatically logs every sale, delivery, and stock levels for every product in real time. Up-to-the-minute data goes a long way to prevent overstocking.
If you want to know what the future demand will be for any of your stock, utilising an EPOS system can help. In fact, you can guarantee a more accurate and efficient forecasting process. It’s easy to compare this year’s orders from last year’s with some EPOS systems because they allow you to run daily, weekly, or monthly reports. These reports are also helpful to identify stock that is moving slowly, quickly, or not at all.
Increased Gross Margin
Setting and maintaining optimum profit margins for each product, accurate pricing and regular price updating, and of course price and cash control at the till, all contribute to an increased gross margin.
Price and Cash Control at the Till
To remove the chance of incorrectly or under-ringing a product at checkout, the EPOS system can ensure a product be sold at the right price. It is able to do this because it collects and stores the current selling price for every item within the system.
All retailers can benefit from improved productivity. Integrating your EPOS system with your checkout systems will do just that. When a customer checks out, the products are immediately rung up and subtracted from inventory. Your system can also be linked to many other systems in your business. It improves efficiency, saves the retailer time, and makes the day-to-day running of the store simpler.What is #EPOS And Why Is It So Essential For #Business via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
Ordering and Delivery
Your EPOS system’s ability to provide up-to-date information on inventory ensures a more efficient order and delivery process by:
- Running reports on inventory
- Flagging when stock levels are low
- Sets an alert when any given item needs to be reordered
- Lists the most recent price you paid on an item before you reorder
- Lists the average price of the product you paid in the past
- Provide information on your suppliers
Having data on these things can help you negotiate the best deal with your suppliers, increase profit margins, have better control of your stock, decrease delivery costs by grouping orders, and enable faster and easier orders. Supplier information also makes it easier to find alternative suppliers if needed.
Creates Product Price Report
A good EPOS system will produce product price reports that include a current selling price, promotional offers , and the latest cost price. Profit on each product can be pre-determined and the system will recommend a new retail price when needed.
Reduces Branch Spending with Suppliers
Managing stock levels for a company with multiple branches can be tricky. EPOS systems takes away the burden of each branch to control stock levels and to not order more than you need from a supplier.
Reduction in Theft and Shrinkage
Internal and external shrinkage is a problem for all retailers. It is not always easy to identify in the early stages, but when it is noticed it is usually quite bad. An EPOS system helps to mitigate this with its real time product tracking. When used in conjunction with other retail protocols; like security cameras, you can quickly locate where your shrinkage problem is coming from.
Improves Cross-functional Working
Collaboration benefits your business. Having cross-functional leaders who can work together across boundaries is the key to effective company-wide collaboration. Not only can EPOS systems track sales and inventory; it can also track staff. If you want to know the times and hours an employee worked or the number of transactions completed, an EPOS system can collect that information for you; not just in one location, but all of your locations. Having different locations tracked under the same database will ensure consistency across the board.
THE SUPPLY CHAIN BENEFITS
In addition to the benefits of using EPOS systems to you, your staff, and customers; EPOS improves your products’ supply change by integrating with your stock control system. This allows the following:
- To keep stock information up-to-date
- To track stock information in real-time
- To streamline your supply chain processes.
Your EPOS system also can automatically discern between fast-moving and slow-moving products. This is done through the system’s ability to do the following:
- Link your EPOS terminal to your suppliers’ websites
- Enable management of the purchasing process and it make it more efficient
- Gather information on the movement of your stock
- Provide suppliers with tracking sales and purchasing data
- Integrate data from EPOS with data from handheld scanners
- Track products that are bar-coded from suppliers, to warehouse, to the store, and final sale.
- Compare suppliers’ performance and delivery times
Giving suppliers data on your marketing and customer purchasing habits makes it easier for them to factor your product order demands into their plans.
PLAN FOR TRANSITION
An EPOS system will work wonders for a brick and mortar retailer. However, you can also take advantage of an EPOS’s capabilities when transitioning to include an online facet. With the robust features each EPOS system can offer every stage of retailer, opening yourself up online becomes hassle free.
With the volume of customers that can be reached online, and the lack of defined hours; an online shop can really benefit from an EPOS with such features like:
- Easy integration with your ecommerce platform
- SEO (Search Engine Optimised) using your product descriptions and media
- The ability to integrate with Google Ads and their Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
With the ability to get more eyes on your products, and thus your business; the wider your revenue stream can be with proper implementations of an EPOS and other systems can also transition you from a small business to a household name.
THE BOTTOM LINE
These are just several benefits that you may achieve by implementing POS software for your business.
Every good retail business should use a EPOS (electronic point of sale) system. But if your business does not, it is possible you have underestimated its importance and why it is essential for business.
In short, EPOS is an indispensable tool for the management and control of stock for retail outlets. Without a good EPOS system, it is virtually impossible to manage stocking levels well or ensure that every sales outlet receives the right amount of the right products. With EPOS, to manage it all with an EPOS system would be labour intensive, prone to mistakes, and not only lead to inefficiency, but result in unhappy customers as well.
As with every business, each acquisition should help bring the business into the future. A great EPOS system will not only do everything outlined above, but should also help make transitioning into the online world easier; or facilitate better controls for an existing online retailer.
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.