- Dual CRM-POS systems can help you track customer spending, offer rewards, and implement a loyalty program.
- CRM-enabled POS systems can expedite customer information capture, identify loyal customers, and streamline interdepartmental collaboration.
- POS platforms such as Lightspeed, TouchBistro and Clover have built-in CRMs. It’s less common for CRMs to have built-in POS systems, though Zoho and Salesforce offer add-ons that come close.
- This article is for business owners who need POS systems with CRM features (or CRM systems with POS features).
Point-of-sale (POS) systems are changing, and for many businesses, there’s no going back to traditional POS terminals. Technological advancements in these systems make running a business easier than ever. One of the most innovative POS advancements is integration with customer relationship management (CRM) tools, helping businesses track leads, record customer purchase habits, increase sales and save money.
We’ll explore the basics of POS and CRM systems and explain how CRM-enabled POS systems can help your business.
What is a POS system?
A POS system allows customers to pay for a company’s products or services. When customers make purchases, they use the POS system to complete transactions.
The POS system setup is a combination of hardware and software.
- POS hardware: The hardware involves the physical components (e.g., credit card reader, monitor, and barcode scanner) used to conduct the sales transactions and run the POS software.
- POS software: The software can be based locally or in the cloud. It completes sales transactions.
While traditional POS systems complete orders and payments from a stand-alone terminal, today’s POS systems can perform advanced tasks, such as processing credit cards using mobile POS systems and transmitting sales data to the business’s other software tools. In addition, many POS systems now come with built-in CRM features.
Key takeaway: A POS system includes the software and hardware necessary to conduct transactions. Read our reviews of the best POS systems for small businesses to see how top providers measure up.
What is a CRM system?
A CRM system helps a company store and manage customer data. It enables customer service, sales, business development, marketing, recruitment and other departments to manage external interactions and customer relationships.
A CRM system provides a central location for storing potential and current customers’ contact information. CRM analytics can help businesses make better decisions, identify sales opportunities, track customer interactions, manage marketing campaigns, and record service issues.
With a CRM system, you never have to perform CRM tasks manually, including inputting customer information, creating sales reports, and updating customer databases in the cloud.
By integrating POS systems with popular CRM solutions – such as Salesforce, SugarCRM and Magento – businesses can save time and money while using POS data to build solid relationships with customers and deliver the best customer experience possible.
POS systems with CRM features
A POS system with CRM features serves as a hub for merging the company’s sales, inventory and customer management services. It automates the process of sharing information collected through POS systems so its CRM capabilities can use the data collected.
CRM-enabled POS systems have a wide range of capabilities, including the following:
- Storing and managing customer information (e.g., contact details and conversations)
- Tracking leads from initial contact to conversion
- Tracking customer purchasing habits
- Forecasting and reporting sales data and inventory via POS reports
- Organizing and segmenting customers by groups and subgroups
- Integrating text messaging, email and social media for communication with customers
- Conducting real-time reports of inventory and sales data
- Sharing files and content among employees
- Recording and tracking customer feedback and complaints
How CRM-enabled POS systems can help your business
A CRM-enabled POS system will save you time collecting and storing customer data, but it can do much more for your business: It can significantly improve customer relations and your bottom line.
Here are five specific ways CRM-enabled POS systems can help your business:
Capturing customer information quickly
Need to collect customer information? A POS system with built-in CRM functionality makes this task easier by automating information-gathering to capture customer data quickly.
Instead of inputting customer information into a CRM solution by hand, you can use a CRM-enabled POS system to collect the data from a transaction and then automatically export and save it.
These POS systems can transmit all types of information your CRM solution requires, such as customer names, billing and shipping addresses, email addresses, and preferred nicknames. This automation can save you time and money by eliminating the labor required to input data manually.
Increasing sales by improving customer experience
One of the most effective ways to increase sales is paying attention to what customers want and need. With a CRM-friendly POS system, businesses can easily collect and keep track of customer preferences and buying histories and transmit that information to CRM systems in real time.
This information helps businesses better target marketing campaigns, upsell at the point of sale, and cater offerings to individuals or groups of customers to improve the customer experience.
Finding your most loyal customers
Go after the right customers and keep them coming back. One of the primary benefits of CRM software is that it can identify your most loyal customers.
Integrating that capability with advanced POS systems can help you discover your three primary customer groups: those who have the most significant impact at the point of sale, those who are likely to return, and those who are not worth the time and effort to pursue.
Improving collaboration among departments
Sharing information among staff members can be difficult or confusing. A CRM-enabled POS system can improve workplace collaboration among departments, thus organizing and synchronizing transactions, customer details, and other sales data in real time.
This information is continually updated and available anytime to staff members, who log in to a single platform to access it. This functionality means no more wasted time sifting through inboxes, folders and random corners of your server, and no more confusion over the most current version of a file or database.
Automating back-end processes
CRM-integrated POS systems don’t just automate tasks at the point of sale; they also automate back-end tasks, such as reporting, exporting data, creating client records and even populating email marketing lists – all straight from the POS system.
Because of these capabilities, there’s no need to go into multiple programs to perform these functions manually. That takes monotonous, CRM-related administrative tasks off your staff’s shoulders.
Did you know?: Other ways CRM systems streamline email marketing include syncing lead and customer information with other systems, sending automated internal alerts, and showing where a customer is in the sales funnel.
Top systems for CRM-enabled POS functionality
Some POS systems have built-in CRM features, and some CRM software integrates easily with POS systems.
POS systems with CRM features
These are some excellent examples of POS systems with CRM features:
- Lightspeed is our top pick for retail POS systems. It’s a cloud-based POS system with abundant customer purchase-tracking features. Lightspeed can run on the iPad and is geared toward small and midsize businesses (custom plans are available for larger companies). Use Lightspeed to view a customer’s purchase history, tag certain customers as VIPs, and distribute promotions and rewards more efficiently. Read our complete Lightspeed review for more information.
- TouchBistro is our top POS system choice for restaurants. It includes a built-in CRM platform, customer loyalty suite, and reward options. TouchBistro also includes mobile CRM features that support tableside and self-serve ordering and payment processing. Read our in-depth TouchBistro review for more information.
- Clover POS is a top choice for its versatility and wide-ranging hardware options, allowing businesses to customize the system to their needs. With Clover POS customer-tracking features, you can designate VIPs, give rewards, and seek feedback. Read our in-depth Clover review for more information.
CRM platforms with POS extensions
Dual CRM and POS is a two-way street, as some CRM platforms offer POS extensions. Here are two of our favorites:
- Salesforce is our top CRM solution for growing businesses. It has an optional add-on application, SuitePOS, that assists with checkout and helps you connect with and sell to customers. Read our comprehensive Salesforce review to learn more.
- Zoho CRM is our top CRM for remote teams. You can also sign up for Zoho Point of Sale, which provides functionality for invoicing, reporting, and refunding. Read our Zoho CRM review to learn more.
Even if your CRM software doesn’t offer its own POS technology, it may integrate with whatever POS system best fits your business. For example, Freshworks, our top pick for integrated calling, integrates with the POS system Vend. Read our review of Freshworks CRM to learn more.
Zendesk, our top pick for collaboration, also integrates with Vend. Read our Zendesk review for more information.
Whenever you’re considering new POS or CRM technology, it’s worthwhile to contact a sales rep and ask about integrations. You might find the solution you need.
Max Freedman and David Gargaro contributed to the writing and research in this article.