How to get started with EPOS
How to get started with EPOS.
Electronic point of sale systems are a vital tool for most retail businesses. They are invaluable when it comes to operating and managing your business efficiently. EPOS handles your everyday processes, including transactions, payments, inventory, pricing, reporting and more.
Once you’ve made the decision to invest in a point of sale system, where do you begin?
Find the right supplier
Your first task is to choose an appropriate system. There’s a lot of choice out there, and not all point of sale systems are created equally. Different types of EPOS systems will be aimed at particular types of business, so consider criteria such your business size and sector, and your exact store requirements and budget before starting your research and choosing a supplier.
Selecting the right system is an important decision, so don’t skip the research part. For example, If you have a restaurant, but you buy a system designed for supermarkets, you’ll not only be paying for features you don’t need, you’ll be missing out on the ones that will make your life easier.
Determine your store set up
To determine the system you need, start by writing down all the elements of your ideal store set up. If your business is already operational, consider things like your daily processes, your current pain points, the systems you already have in place, and the space you have.
If you’re new to business, we suggest researching a ’day in the life’ of your chosen sector before you begin.
Some ideas to consider:
- Do you have any existing equipment or third party software that your new system will need to work with?
- Will you need inventory management/stock control?
- How about payment handling and cash control?
- Will your business be multichannel/omnichannel?
- What about your CRM requirements? (customer database containing individual date such as shopping habits, from promotion and marketing)
- How big is your space, e.g. how many checkouts will you need?
- What integrated services might you need to use with your EPOS system?
- What’s your budget? Don’t forget you may have the option of a payment plan, lease or rental terms, so ask these questions of potential suppliers.
Once you have an idea of your requirements, companies will usually offer you a demo, so you can see your shortlisted systems in action. If you still have lingering doubts, you may even be able to arrange a trial once you have chosen a preferred system.
Install & set up your POS
Once you receive your new point of sale system, you’ll need to install it. This means connecting all your hardware, such as tills, PC’s, printers and scanners, and configuring your software.
For a new store with a basic system (some can be as simple as a tablet and printer), this can be pretty straightforward and you might want to do it yourself. Connect to the internet, add your software, add the set up details and you’re good to go. You can often find online tutorials, or get some instructions from your EPOS provider to help you.
If you have an existing store and need to migrate data, or your EPOS system is more complex, consider getting a professional to install your system. Some suppliers will include this as part of the sale, as it helps you to get set up correctly and can save problems in the long term. If not, you can pay for a professional installation for a fast and accurate set up.
Arrange training for yourself and your staff, so you can use your new system to its full potential. This will help to minimise input errors, saving you time and headaches down the road. You might prefer to request a manual or guide and learn as you go. Alternatively, you can arrange training through your EPOS provider, either over the phone, or via an in store training session for everyone. Again, this can sometimes be provided as part of the sale, if not, get much information as possible from your supplier, or arrange a separate training session.
Set details and databases
At some point, you’ll need to input all your business details to get your system operational for transactions. You’ll also need to add database information such as stock, suppliers, and customers as early as possible. If you have an existing store, you might be able to import some of this information from your existing records. If you’re in a brand new business, you can build these databases as you go.
CRM allows you to compile useful customer data, such as their shopping habits and important demographics, which you can use later to create impactful campaigns and targeted promotions. You’ll also have their contact details for marketing purposes and loyalty schemes.
Setting up your inventory
For most types of retailer, stock management is one of the most useful features of a POS system. Enter your products either manually, or by importing an existing stock list. You can then add the details of each item, and organise your products they way you want them.
Create departments, set stock levels, add product descriptions, supplier details, costs and selling prices, anything that will be useful to you later on, when selling, ordering, or generating reports.
Give your staff unique logins and set their access permissions, such as administrator, manager, or floor staff. This will allow your users to access and edit only what you want them to. It can also be used to generate performance reports, and for clocking in and out. This promotes accountability, and allows outstanding performers to shine.
Add your integrated services
Integrated services are any additional service from a third party supplier, whose software will need to work together with your EPOS system.
The most obvious of these is payment services. Many retailers now prefer to integrate their payment processing with their EPOS system, so that the transaction entered at the till is communicated directly to the payment machine, eliminating the need to manually enter and reconcile each value. This speeds up the payment process and reduces the possibility of errors. How convenient!
There are endless possibilities when it comes to third party services, and the list is getting larger every day. Some examples might include:
- Accounts packages
- Loyalty providers
- Vending machines
- Fuel tanks
- Waste management
- Electronic pricing and signage
All of which can be managed and operated through your EPOS system, provided the software is compatible.
You can use this information to get a clear idea of what you want, and what is available out there.
Once you’ve established an overview of your requirements, you can begin researching the various EPOS providers to establish which service would be the best fit for you. Get in touch with a consultant, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions before making a final choice. Your EPOS system is an important investment, and making the right choice will serve you and your business for years to come.
Who are we?
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up-to-date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
Our self-checkout partners are NCR, who are global leaders in self-checkout technology.
To find out more about what we do, get in touch to chat with one of our knowledgeable consultants:
About the author:
Susan McGuire is originally from London, United Kingdom, and has now lived in Galway, Ireland, for 15 years.
She has been with Retail Solutions for almost 7 of those, and during that time has enjoyed various roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing.
You can follow her on LinkedIn!