Insight on POS Solution Selection for Independent Merchants
Cash Register or POS for my Small Business?
The cash register was invented in 1879 by James Ritty. James Ritty was a saloonkeeper in Dayton, OH whose bartenders often pocketed the profits instead of turning them over to their boss. James’ brother John was a mechanic who helped him design the first, most basic of cash registers to preserve profits in their saloon. The original device did not even provide a drawer for storing cash. It consisted of a series of keys that represented specific amounts of money. The concept came to Ritty while he was on a steamboat trip to Europe. He found himself intrigued by a device that counted the number of rotations in the ship’s propeller. Brilliant!
Since 1879, the cash register has evolved quite significantly. The most basic of cash registers (similar to Ritty’s original) can still be purchased at office supply stores and on the web. Extremely sophisticated and more expensive cash registers can be purchased through dealerships that provide service agreements and of course, on the web as well. Although PC-based and Mac-based automated POS solutions are readily available today, thousands of cash drawers are still in place in storefronts, bars and cafes all around the world.
Clearly, many independent merchants have not fully embraced the POS technology available in the information age. Today’s modern POS solutions provide a multitude of features and benefits that even the most expensive and sophisticated cash drawer cannot deliver. Most automated POS systems are more compact, more robust, and easier to operate and comparably priced. Yet merchants continue to deploy newer versions of a device that was invented in the 1800’s.
In talking with merchants in the field, I find that much of this stems from a “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality. Others fear that deploying automated POS solutions might be complex and/or expensive. Some even fear that the data trail created by a POS solution might negatively affect their business tax situation with the IRS. Others simply don’t seem to understand the benefits or realize the ROI generated by today’s modern POS solutions.
Below are just a few benefits of automating the business via a modern POS system:
1. Speed of Service
· 1-5 second transaction times – even with credit cards
· Eliminate manual calculations and hand-written sales orders
· Eliminate lines that frustrate your customers
· Train employees in minutes
2. Customer tracking and communication
· Track customer activities and purchasing history
· Email promotions, events, news, coupons to the customer base
· Communicate with prospective customers
· Use data gathered by POS transactions to target your communication
3. Inventory and Pricing Controls
· Eliminate all user errors on pricing, payment processing, etc.
· Stop inventory shrinkage
· Order what you need when you need it, not what the vendor tells you
· Reduce waste and overstock
4. Reporting Power = Decision Making Power
· Reports can be automatically emailed to you on a schedule
· Know when you are busy and slow to make staffing decisions
· Know what customers frequent the facility, what they buy while they are there and when
· Know what products and activities yield the best profits at your facility
5. Cash Management/Security
· What gets measured gets managed
· Every transaction is time stamped and tracked for accountability
· Reduce time spent reconciling cash and credit cards
· Work toward removing cash altogether through automation
Clearly, this is a very small sample of items to consider when weighing the pros and cons of cash register VS POS solution. If you are an independent merchant debating the upgrade from a cash register to POS or just getting started with your business and would like to learn more about things to consider, download our free checklist today.