3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a POS System

Modern cloud-based POS systems have made it easier than ever for businesses to sell products and services, as well as increase sales, manage day-to-day operations, and simplify inventory and ordering processes.

“Despite the shift to tablets and the increase in available point-of-sale applications, which have simplified most aspects of the process,” says Insights, “many merchants often end up dissatisfied with their POS system.”

Sadly, this dissatisfaction can be traced back to the common mistakes business owners make when initially choosing a point of sale system. Here’s how to avoid three pitfalls that can potentially keep you from the point of sale sotware you’ll be happy with for many years to come:

1. Make Sure You Understand What Your Needs Are

It’s not unusual for businesses to spend too little time analyzing their needs and what type of POS system will best fulfill them. For example, a stylish, upscale store might purchase a point of sale system based on its James Bond-edition features and sleek hardware, only to find out later that while the attributes they thought were so chic may beautifully match the posh environment of their business, they don’t actually offer user friendly functions that help the store manage inventory and streamline the checkout process.

Make a list of the features and functions your business will require so you have a clear idea of what you need before you start shopping for a POS system. Point of sale software will vary from company to company, so you’ll want to research the options thoroughly. Check out the software reviews and test out POS systems before purchasing. 

Select a point of sale system that’s specific to your market. Today’s marketplace for POS systems is expansive enough that there is most likely one out there tailored to your business or industry, whether you’re a restaurant or a beauty salon. The industry specific features they provide should automate the distinct needs of your market to give you a better ROI than generic POS software.

Request demos and test drive your top choices to make sure the POS system you’re considering has all the features you’re looking for.The provider of the point of sale software should have extensive industry knowledge and be able to demonstrate how their system will simplify your business processes and meet your unique requirements.

Resist the temptation of trying to save a dollar or two with cheap POS software / hardware. In the long run, it will only end up costing you more if the discounted POS system you purchased doesn’t work. Low priced computers and printers are consumer-level products and aren’t designed to take the long hours and extensive use that most retail environments will demand. Bottom line…don’t get stuck on the idea of purchasing a POS based purely on the low sticker price.

By understanding what you truly need in a POS software system—the features and functions that will best suit your industry, help you manage your day-to-day operations, and assist you with growing your business—you’ll save yourself the headache and frustration of ending up with a POS system that doesn’t perform to your expectations.

2. Conduct a Comprehensive Appraisal of the POS Software Provider 

Before finalizing your decision and moving ahead with your purchase, ask yourself this question, “What do you know about the company trying to sell you a new POS system?

While there are a lot of companies that are willing to sell you POS software, few of them are actually in the point of sale business, so it’s essential that you thoroughly research the company you plan to purchase your POS system from to find out information such as:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Is the company providing the POS software the actual developer, or just a reseller?
  • Does the company have the revenue and resources necessary to support the POS software they’re providing for the life of the system?
  •  Do they have vast knowledge and expertise about their product and how it can benefit your industry?
  • What kind of customer service, support, technical assistance, and training does the company plan to offer with their POS platform?

Additionally, LinkedIn suggests that you not move forward with a POS purchase until you have obtained a minimum of three references. Make sure the references you talk to are using the version of the POS software you are researching. You’ll also want to ask them how they like the product, what the implementation process was like, and what they think of the customer support.

Once you’ve finalized your POS system purchase, you will, for all intents and purposes, be “married” to the company providing you with the software. So don’t neglect due diligence. Do as much research as it takes to determine which company can give you the right POS platform for your business. You want to choose a financially and developmentally strong company that can update and support your software for the life of the POS system.

3. Get Sufficient Training

Retailers try to save money any way they can. Unfortunately, sometimes they often cut corners when it comes to training. But investing the time necessary to provide you and your employees with the necessary POS training will pay off in the long run. Look at it this way, if you purchase an awesome POS system but don’t learn how to make the most of it, your point of sale system will amount to little more than a glorified cash register.

LinkedIn suggests a training plan similar to the one outlined below:

Pre-installation – One day of classroom training to provide a good overview of the new POS system

Post-Installation – One to five days of training, depending on the size your store and how many employees you have. POS training for employees generally requires at least an hour or two. Training for the back-office management functions such as barcodes, purchasing, receiving, inventory management, reporting, eCommerce, etc. should take up the remaining time. Pace yourself to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with too much information. For the time being, learn what you need to know to run your business day to day.

One Month Post-Installation – By now you’ve had some time to get to know the POS system and will need to further knowledge on how to generate reports. At this point, you’ll also want to seek answers to the questions that have come up since your initial training.

Three to Six Month Post-Installation – You should know your way around the POS software pretty good by now. You’ve managed to establish procedures and fully automate your retail store. This is an appropriate time to learn the advanced features of your POS software, including advanced reporting, eCommerce integration, customer marketing, etc.

Modern cloud-based POS systems have extensive capabilities such as in-depth reporting and marketing features to help you grow your business. Unfortunately, many business owners never take advantage of enhanced POS functions because they neglect proper training and end up using their point of sale to simply ring up sales. Don’t be one of them. Get the most from your POS system by taking advantage of the customer support, learning opportunities, and technical resources offered by your point of sale provider. 


While today’s cloud-based POS systems have made it easier for retailers to sell their products or services and conduct day to day operations, many business owners often end up dissatisfied with their point of sale software.

Fortunately, you can avoid this dissatisfaction. Be choosy and take some time to evaluate and understand what your needs are. Do thorough research, and get proper training that will help you take full advantage of your new POS software.

Taking these three steps will not only help you select a POS platform with the right features and functions for your unique needs, but will also provide you with many years of useful service and increased opportunities to improve sales and grow your business.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.

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