There are over 300 Point of Sale systems on the market today. The accounting software industry has consolidated over the last 10 years – you can expect a similar consolidation in the Point of Sale industry. Look for an industry leader. Some of the preparation and details in finding Point of Sale software are as follows:
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o Create a Needs Analysis List: we suggest starting with creating a needs analysis list. Sort your requirements by the different parts of your operation such as Inventory, Purchasing and Receiving, Point of Sale, and Reporting. Create a rating system for each requirement, for example, 1 for high priority or must have, 2 for a medium priority or would like to have and 3 for low priority. Create a timeline of when you would like to purchase and go live with a Point of Sale system. The following criteria should be considered when creating a needs analysis:
General Feature Requirements
Single Store or Multi Store requirements
Training and Support requirements
Accounting and integration requirements
E-commerce – today and future needs
Credit Cards, Check Verification, Debit Cards, Gift Cards
Specific Industry needs
Identify gaps or customizations that may be required
Make a list of the hardware you currently own that you would like to use
o Choose Software first not hardware: one of the common mistakes business owners make is to base their decision on the current hardware or hardware platform that they are currently using. You need to consider your business requirements based on your needs analysis and determine how well the Point of Software fits these requirements. The next step is to consider what hardware you already own and if it can be used with the proposed Point of Sale system.
o Choose the company behind the Point of Sale software: you need to carefully consider the following criteria when evaluating a Point of Sale vendor:
o Years in business
o Financial stability
o Updates per year
o Number of users
o Reputation in the industry
o Operating system: Point of Sale systems run on a variety of different operating systems. The most popular operating system for a Point of Sale system is the Microsoft Windows platform. If you select a product that uses the Microsoft Windows platform, it is strongly recommended that you purchase a computer with Windows XP Professional Edition or the newest operating system from Microsoft, Window Vista for Small Business. We do not recommend the Windows Home Edition for a Point of Sale system.
o Database: a database is a structured collection of records of data which is stored on the computer so that, in this case, a Point of Sale program can retrieve information. A relational database is recommended such as Microsoft SQL that provides an open and easy user interface to extract data from the Point of sale program.
o Your Future Growth Plans: when selecting Point of Sale software you need to carefully consider your future growth plans. Some areas of consideration are multi store needs, integration to accounting, plans for E-commerce, CRM needs, Customer Loyalty programs and integration to business applications that you currently run or plan to run in the future.