How To Choose An EPOS System

Read the KCPOS guide to finding and choosing an EPOS solution that meets all of your business’ current needs and future requirements.

There are many factors to consider when selecting an EPOS system and many of them can be puzzling for the uninitiated. An EPOS, or electronic point of sale, system can offer great convenience to customers and lead to an upturn in sales in their own right.

However, they also afford vendors a tremendous number of benefits, too. In this guide to choosing an EPOS system, we’ll be addressing these advantages and working out which ones will be relevant to the sort of business you run. Ultimately, choosing an EPOS system comes down to the level of functionality you require weighed up against any cost implications. In other words, it is just like any other business decision – working out how you can add the best value.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The first thing to realise about an EPOS system is that it can have as much or as little functionality as you need.

If you think that you need to invest great sums to obtain an all-singing, all-dancing version, then it is time to reconsider. Depending on your specific requirements, you don’t need to go for a fully-fledged version. In order to work out what EPOS system might suit you, seek advice. Specialists in the field should be able to work out which size of system will be of most benefit to you. A little time spent researching the various EPOS systems on the market will pay off in the long run.

In order to avoid the pitfalls and to obtain a more tailored solution, it is important to think about what your business requirements actually are. If you consider that you simply need an EPOS system because that is what your competitors are offering, then it may be time to do a more specific business needs study. By being clear about the sort of requirements your business has, it is much easier for suppliers to bespoke their EPOS system to match them. After all, most business functions require tailored solutions these days and not a simple ‘me too’ application.

Once you have conducted the research necessary to make an informed decision about what functions you want, it is time to start looking at the various EPOS systems that can offer these. Ask yourself a few questions when shopping around. Firstly, it can be helpful to ask yourself how adjustable your favoured EPOS system might be down the line, if your business needs change. Secondly, it can be good to ask your preferred supplier to conduct a calculation that gives you a picture of the return you can expect on your investment. If they cannot, then move on to another supplier.

Defining Your Business Requirements

Working out what you need from an EPOS system is essential. In addition, you might like to form a wish list of what else it might be able to do for you. Sometimes you may be surprised at the degree of integration with your other business functions an EPOS system can offer.

They are not just there to process transactions, although this is a primary reason for investing in one. Nevertheless, defining your business requirements is not always so simple.

What should you be looking for?
Initially, it is a good idea to have a clearly defined statement of your normal business operations. This might be easy to do if you work in retail only or you are in the leisure industry.

However, many businesses cross over into more than one sector, which means their customer interactions can differ slightly. For example, some businesses need an EPOS system to handle their wholesale payments and transactions from registered trade customers, but they also have a requirement to process transactions from retail customers, sometimes with differing rates and separate nominal coding for their accounts package. Many leisure and tourist attractions require bulk bookings to be made by phone or via an ecommerce platform, but also require smaller transactions to be made on site, perhaps from a café or a shop.

Furthermore, many businesses need to be able accurately describe themselves in terms of their point of sales functions.
Multi-discipline sites are a typical example of when this is not necessarily straightforward. Multiple points of sale – even if they are under differing brands – can all be run from a single, well installed, EPOS system. If you need to run transactions from a bar, a box office, a ticket office and a retail space or two, then there is an EPOS system that will do it, but it will mean you need to look for a specific solution that can handle all of these functions. Lastly, it is important to think about mobility. Not all EPOS systems allow for transactions to be made away from base units, something that is now expected in most restaurant or service-led environments, for example.

Determining Your Business Priorities

Ask yourself: what is paramount from an EPOS system, what else would you like from it and what is a luxury that you might be able to do without?

All too often, businesses are put off adopting an EPOS system, which could do so much for their company’s operations because they either look at a high-end solution which offers far too much or a low-cost system with limited functionality. By determining what is a priority and ruling out those things which are not, it becomes much simpler to see where the cost-benefits are.

Put another way, by focussing on the essential business needs, you are more likely to find a system which matches your requirements at a cost that is affordable. When talking to a potential supplier about their EPOS system, it is essential to work out whether they are offering a fully scalable solution. Although you may want to cut down the functionality to what your firm needs at the moment – thus keeping installation costs at a minimum – it is important to know which functions can be rolled out should something from your wish list become a genuine business need in the future.

Essentially, your paramount requirements will shape the initial proposal and form the first phase of any implementation. Nevertheless, you may not want to stop there and it is a business risk not to check whether the proposed EPOS system possesses the ability to be extended in phases down the line. This factor can have a huge influence on deciding which system is chosen.

What Might My Business Priorities Be?
Deciding what you need now and what you might want available to you in the future comes down to the sort of business you run. However, there are certain key functions which many sorts of company ought to be considering as potential add-ons from the start. For example, booking management modules might not be needed at the moment, if you are only engaged in retail or ecommerce sales at the moment. However, if you choose to sell maintenance inspections or upgrades down the line, then managing these services through an EPOS system is perfectly possible, so you want might this sort of module included.

Equally, if you offer a customer loyalty scheme at the moment – a common enough way of promoting repeat business – then issuing customer loyalty cards which can be swiped or loaded with credit that function with your chosen EPOS system might be a priority. For warehouse businesses, an EPOS solution which can plug into the stock and inventory system can be invaluable, especially as a point of sale function frequently reflects downward trends in stock.

An EPOS system can be used to trigger buying instructions, for example, so that you don’t run out of stock at key times. While small businesses, which can track their stock more easily, don’t often need this sort of integration, growing companies often find that they do benefit from it.

Such functionality can be especially useful for firms which have their warehouse and despatch areas located in different physical location from the point of sale.

Other areas which are important to look out for when considering an EPOS system include how one might interact with your other software solutions.

Do you have a customer relationship management (CRM) package which you might want to integrate with your point of sale functions one day?

As well as CRM, you may want an EPOS system to feed your marketing functions, perhaps generating data for an email campaign, for instance? In addition, many specialist areas of industry rely on third party software solutions which are specific to their sector.

It is certainly worth working out how any EPOS system you choose might integrate with third party software.

Specialist Functions & EPOS Solutions

As already stated, some EPOS systems are suited for ‘one size’ of customer, but what about if your business falls outside of that model?

Check that an EPOS system has the specialist functions your business might need.
For example, art dealers, second hand goods sellers and some antique businesses are subject to VAT margin schemes and not all EPOS systems can deal with this. Likewise, some EPOS systems are perfectly good at handling transactions for multiple stock items at the point of sale, but cannot account for different sizes, colours or styles of similar products – something which can have a negative impact on re-stocking and even returns procedures.

Other specialist functions that you might like to consider are being able to use weights and measures in more than one unit, for example Imperial and metric. Being able to process multiple currencies may be a requirement for any business which conducts its commerce in overseas territories. There again, you might need an EPOS system which can issue tickets or print in kitchen environments, something that is essential for any business that operates in the food production or food retail sectors.

No Idea Where To Start?
Book A Free Demo

We help businesses across the UK keep their EPOS connected so they can easily manage their business and focus on growth.

If you’re struggling with the challenges of separate manual processes from the till, to stock, to entering in accounts information and creating reports, reach out to us to discuss your current processes and find out how KCPOS can help you connect all areas of your business together in one solution.

Our advice and guidance is always free and we’re happy to talk to any business, no matter what stage of the thought process they’re going through. We have built our business on the values of trustworthiness and passion and will happily provide assistance to you, so if you want a chat, just get in touch.

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Understand The Full Cost Implications & How They Are Generated

Much of the visible part of an EPOS system is the physical hardware that comes with one. This might include touchscreens and new tills, but it can also include things like improved scanners, customer displays and printing facilities.

Remember that along with all of this hardware is the software which runs it. Often this is regarded as an ‘invisible’ cost, but it is essential that buyers of EPOS systems realise that they are not simply investing in new physical equipment but in a software solution which can integrate with their other applications, too.

This brings us to another key part of the cost implication associated with an EPOS solution – that of integration. Remember that an EPOS system that stands alone will only afford certain functionality, but one that integrates can do so much more. In order to integrate with third party software or existing packages, there is an inevitable amount of expenditure required, usually a part of the up front costs.

Finally, depending on the sort of package that is chosen there can be on costs. These are typically associated with payment processing which is not done for free by anyone in the financial services sec tor. However, the way in which you pay for payment processing can be extremely efficient, depending on the number of transactions that are made in a typical working week and their magnitude. Another on cost to consider is technical support, which is essential for any EPOS system to make sure that everything continues to run just as well as it did on day one of installation.

Choose A Partner & Not A Supplier

All EPOS system investment should be made with due diligence. Research the company offering a system which matches your requirements and check that it really does meet your business needs.

If possible, gain insights from existing customers and ask for references as a matter of course. When you obtain references and testimonials, make sure they are relatively recent and that they chime with the sort of system you are after. Finally, consider the product road map of the EPOS system in question and check for future support and software releases. Future proofing really is the key and should be your watchword with any purchasing decisions.

To find out more about our EPOS Solution you can either Book A Demo or Contact Our Team. Not quite ready to make contact yet? Why not discover more product information on our website? From Product Videos to Our Process, we have lots of useful resources across our site.

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