The six steps to successfully choose and implement a Retail P.O.S. System

Choosing the right point–of- sale (P.O.S.) system for your store can be a confusing project. Where do you start? What questions should you ask? How much technical expertise do you need? There are common questions, so let’s examine the process.

 Steps three and four:

Step Three:

Once you have picked a vendor, do the following:

• Get at least five references, two for new installations and three that have been using the system a minimum of two years. Ask them about the vendor’s responsiveness and problem resolution. If they had any problems, get the vendor’s side of the story.

• Ask yourself: Has the vendor demonstrated a clear understanding of your business and your system requirements?

• Did they articulate a coherent Return on Investment (ROI) strategy for you on how to get a pay back from your system?

• Did they come prepared to follow your demo format and stick to the basics: “the steak, not the sizzle”?

 Step Four: The Implementation Plan

A tightly executed implementation will help you avoid the normal pitfalls that cause frustration and needless time delays. 

• Establish a time line backward form the date you want to be online.

• The critical issue is the inventory database, specifically where will you get the inventory data and how will the information be input into the system. Develop a template with departments, categories, seasons and so on to help your organize your inventory.

• Pre-installation issues. Be aware of the physical layout of your checkout counter, electrical and cabling requirements. The vendor can provide the specs, but it’s your responsibility to take care of these issues.

• Develop a training syllabus with the vendor, detailing what will be covered and who will be trained. This will allow you to better schedule your people.

• Schedule training in phases. If you negotiated for additional training days, save a few to use two or three months after you have been using the system. This can be extremely valuable! 

• The database, is it ready for P.O.S.? Once the database is built, scan check for accuracy and for price accuracy.

• Purchasing and Receiving. In order to achieve true inventory control, all purchase orders and receiving must be processed through the system.

• Develop a strategy to learn more about your customers in order to: identify your best and most profitable customers; increase the life extension of customers and life time value of your customers; target offers to your customers based on their purchase history; and reward your best customers and introduce them to new products.