Beyond efficient customer checkout, your POS system should include features to help your shop thrive, like tools to let you know what to stock and how to bring in customers. Here are the features we think a POS system for convenience stores should include.
While POS inventory management tools don’t always come standard, we think they are an essential feature for keeping your store stocked and selling. Many systems will automatically update inventory as you scan items at checkout and when they are purchased online. Timely alerts let you know what you’re running low on so you can get them quickly back in stock. The best solutions allow you to track items by a variety of criteria, like color, size or function.
Effective inventory management
requires finding the right balance of stock to keep on hand. Managing your inventory well will increase your store’s profitability.
We may be moving towards a cashless society, but many people still rely on paper money to make quick purchases at the local corner shop. That means you need a POS system that can handle any kind of payment. A durable, secure POS register is key. You’ll most likely need a cash drawer and a receipt printer. Depending on your needs, you’ll also want barcode scanners and weight scales to help you speedily ring up customers. Some accessories connect via USB and others via Bluetooth, so make sure your devices are compatible.
A POS system that integrates with useful business solutions, like the best accounting software, can help you run your store smoothly and accurately. You should also look for a provider that integrates with third-party apps designed specifically for the needs of your type of store. If you sell alcohol or tobacco products, you’ll need an age-verification app. Integrations for lottery verification and payouts might also be necessary.
From over-the-counter cold remedies to birthday party supplies, consumers increasingly rely on online ordering when they can’t make it to the local corner shop. Look for a solution that helps you reach more customers in more places, including social media, Google and other online marketplaces. Some POS systems even include website-building tools and delivery services. Be sure to check card processing rates for online purchases, as they are often higher than in-person rates.
Regardless of how your customers pay, you’ll want a service that processes payments quickly and affordably. While most POS systems accept all kinds of payments, your convenience store might need a solution that also accepts EBT cards, which could call for a third-party app. While some providers require using their payment processing service, you could save by finding one that allows third-party credit card processing software. Pay attention to deposit times, as you don’t want your store to run out of cash on hand.
In a recent survey, almost a third of businesses said they didn’t have enough cash on hand to make payments. Follow these cash flow strategies
to keep cash on hand and help your business survive.
When consumers go out to make a convenience store purchase, you want them to think of your store first. Stocking the right products is only the first step. A good POS system will help you understand your consumers so you can target them with relevant deals and build customer loyalty. Some platforms offer customer databases to track past purchases, highlight preferences and offer personalized service in-store and online. Many solutions offer tools to create customer loyalty programs, like reward points, gift cards and coupons, to incentivize your customers to keep coming back.
Reporting and Analytics
Most POS systems include basic reporting functions, but since your store sells a variety of items, you’ll want to find a solution that offers robust POS sales reports. Timely and accurate insights will help keep your shop stocked and products moving. Look for analytics that show you which items are hot and which are seasonal favorites so you can always offer your customers the products they want at the right time.
Many POS systems offer basic employee management tools or add-on features. You can create individual codes for clocking in and out, with custom permissions so only certain staff can do things like process returns or void items. Some POS providers even offer employee swipe cards for a fee. You can also use the software to create schedules to make sure you’ve got all hands on deck at your busiest times. Plus, you can track sales by employee to see which team members excel on the shop floor.
While not a common feature in POS systems, we found the providers that offer marketing tools to be especially useful for convenience stores. The right tools can help you find and connect with your target customer base. Through marketing email campaigns, you can build awareness of your store and offer relevant promos and discounts to bring in more customers.
Convenience stores often have long hours, so you’ll want to find a provider that offers reliable customer support at any time day or night. While many offer a host of useful online resources, we think your best bet is always speaking directly with a customer service rep who can walk you through any issue. Since you can’t always be at your store, it’s important that the service is easy to reach for all your employees.