Your choice in POS software is one of the most important considerations for your business, regardless of whether you’re running an upstart new mom-and-pop shop or a well-established chain. Many business owners are finding the solutions they need in web-based POS software, which can offer comprehensive service with a smaller price tag. To help you judge whether or not web-based POS is the right answer for your business, here is a list of 8 benefits of a web-based platform.
1. Faster, Easier and Cheaper Installation
Many POS systems put a bad taste in your mouth before they’re even up and running, with the installation often taking many hours of trial-and-error, and requiring a substantial number of phone calls to customer support. And of course, this is usually after you have already spent thousands of dollars on new POS hardware that is needed just to run the system. With a web-based POS program, however, there is almost zero installation necessary. Web-based POS is hosted, which means that all the software is on the provider’s end.
In addition to requiring little installation, web-based POS also gives you freedom from the necessity of IT tasks, meaning that there is no need for you to worry about software updates, nightly backups, and dreaded system reconfigurations. Spending less time figuring out how to run your computer system gives you more time to properly run your business.
The cost for all this? Significantly less than you would have paid for a traditional system. Web-based POS can run from virtually any computer with an active Internet connection, a quality which by itself saves thousands of dollars that you may have needed to have invested in new equipment. In addition, there is no need to purchase backup software, backup hard drives, or a server.
2. Improved Cash Flow
With just about any standard POS system, you are mandated to pay up-front for the hardware and software, which can be a drain on your capital and initial cash flow. There is always the option of leasing, of course, but this tends to incur a relatively large monthly payment which often ends up totalling much higher than the purchase price of the system. With a web-based point of sale platform, however, costs are typically derivative of a small monthly subscription fee. In addition, this subscription will usually include software updates, maintenance, and technical support – all free of charge.
3. Enhanced Inventory Management
With a web-based POS system, you can track your inventory in real-time, rather than seeing numbers that are updated hourly or daily, like most traditional systems. This includes seeing which items are on-hand, in-transit, and on-order. You can quickly and easily judge how many of an item you need to order, which can save you money that would have been lost a result of over or under buying.
As well, if your business runs at multiple locations, you can easily check inventory at other stores. This allows you to place orders for all stores from one location, saving you from having to essentially draft orders for the same item multiple times As well, if a customer asks for an item that is out of stock at the location they’re in, a staff member can quickly and easily check if the item is available at a different store – all right in front of the customer’s eyes.
As an additional benefit, many web-based POS solutions are capable of automatically generating orders for new shipments of items. Since all inventory amounts are updated in real-time, the system can accurately judge when a new shipment might be necessary, and can write up an order that can quickly and easily be approved by a manager.
4. Quick and Comprehensive Reporting
As a result of the instantaneously updated inventory amounts, a web-based POS system can produce remarkably accurate reports, telling you by the week, day, or hour how your business is doing. Overall sales, profit after markup, sales attributed to each employee, and many more specifications can all be monitored. This allows you to quickly see if a new sales tactic is working, or if an employee is under performing on a given day, without having to wait until the store is closed. With this information in hand, you can address any quantifiable issues, and potentially raise your sales by the end of the day.
5. Reduced Paperwork
With a web-based POS system, sales for all stores can be tracked in the same database, meaning that each store is not required to generate their own individual paperwork in regards to sales. As well, since orders for multiple stores can be placed together, fewer invoices are generated, which can help the accounting process operate more smoothly.
6. Easier Customer Management
Information regarding purchases a customer made at other stores is easily accessible with a web-based POS system. This relieves headaches in regard to the return and exchange processes, resulting in quicker transactions and happier customers. They can return their purchase at any location, even if they literally bought it just a minutes prior at a different outlet. Additionally, implementation of a chain-wide gift card system is made easier, as their use at any location is instantly updated.
7. Improved Sales
Web-based POS software allows sales associates to immediately access customer information from other locations. They can use this information to quickly make valuable inferences as to what a customer’s preferences might be, by looking at what they’ve bought in the past. This allows the associate to provide service that is tailored to each customer, and dramatically increases their opportunities for both up-selling and cross-selling.
8. Off-Site Access
If you’re the type who can’t avoid work even when you’re under the weather, web-based POS gives you an opportunity to monitor and manage your business from home. In addition to tracking sales, you can also update pricing and place orders. This ability means that going on a business trip doesn’t create a temporary disconnect between you and your employees. Whether you’re in the cafe across the street, or halfway across the globe, you have the exact same information as if you were in your office.
Due to the fact that web-based POS systems operate over the Internet, there are a few minor issues which need to be addressed. Some businesses find it useful to have a secondary Internet provider, so they don’t need to be offline for more than a couple minutes in the event of a lost connection. That being said, broadband internet has become extremely stable over time and outages seem to happen rarely if ever in recent years.
Most business owners have in mind a good return on their investment when they purchase a POS system. Your ROI is determined by many factors with a web-based POS platform. It is necessary to look for a provider that has a reputation for substantial customer service and technical support. As well, you’ll want to ensure that their product is specialized to be beneficial to the size of your business, and the industry within which you operate. The ideal POS package will give you all the features you find necessary, and few if any that are unnecessary. Take the time to compare between various POS software providers, to find the solution that is the best fit for your company.