In this current economy when everyone is looking for the least cost, return on investment and value, a Point of Sale system guarantees all three if purchased and used correctly.
What does that mean in English? Simply that many businesses do not really understand what a POS system is, how to buy one, how it can improve and perhaps even save their business - not even considering that it really can save money - even over the short term.
Everyone talks about Return on Investment, but in today's economy who has time to wait? Most folks want to see Real Savings NOW, not next year.
Let's look at both Retail and Restaurant POS systems which are similar in function but different in performance.
-RETAIL: How fast can you service your existing customers using the system that you currently have in place? What I mean by this is best shown by example. I come into your store and while casually walking around I ask a clerk for the price of an item, or want to know if a certain item is available in a different color or style. How does your clerk respond? Does he or she have to go to a manual printed listing? Is the information perhaps in an Excel spreadsheet? Do you need to contact the vendor? How long do I have to wait before I get the answer to my simple questions? While your clerk is getting the information for me, how many additional customers are waiting for help? How many give up and walk out because it was never acknowledged that they were even there? If I decide not to buy because the price is unattractive after you have searched for me, how much potential profit did your loose? Not just mine, but other customers who were ignored? This may not happen if you am a large merchant with several clerks, but if I am a Sole Proprietor and often work by myself who takes care of my customers?
The same process using a POS system would have allowed you to quickly scan the item at a POS station, verify the price, check availability in different styles/colors and even find out who the distributor is to contact for similiar items if needed. How long would that take? About 5 minutes give or take. Not only have you quickly taken care of the customer, but possibly gained a LOYAL customer for future sales and still had time to handle the other customers easily. So how does that save money? First you wasted less time, time is money. Are your employees on the clock? Second, how much money is your own time worth?
Do you need to order more of the item for the customer or hopefully restock the shelves because they purchased the last ones? Simple again. Go into your POS system, choose the item, select the vendor and process a reorder - print it out or even email it directly. A few minutes tops!
-RESTAURANT: A very similiar situation arises. A new customer comes in for lunch or dinner. While the customer stands around at the register or sits down waiting for someone to acknowledge their presence, all of your staff is in the kitchen either arguing over the last customers order that the waitress hand wrote in shorthand for no sauce and the cook interpreted as meaning extra sauce. In the meantime the new customer may hear the argueing and wonder if they chose the right place and time. When the staff finally gets to the customer and begins taking their order, it may include a dinner salad and drink. In many establishments the wait staff prepares their own salads. No need to write it down, just add it to the bill later. Oh and that drink at the bar? The order is called over and prepared - never written down, never charged. When the customer is finally served and IF the meal was correct this time, they may leave a tip. However if the staff forgot something because it wasn't written down correctly or the kitchen prepared it wrong - where is the tip now? When the customer is ready to leave the wait staff walks over to a calculator and begins adding everything up. However they have another customer waiting to be seated and an order ready for pick-up in the kitchen so they rush through the bill. Is it correct? The customer may or may not comment, pay the bill and leave. The next time they may choose a different restaurant with faster service and more attentive staff. Maybe even leave a tip at the other owners restaurant. Will they tell their friends about how great your place was?
What if you had a POS system in place, what would be different? First and most importantly the staff would be on the floor taking care of each customer as they arrive. There would be little or no waiting for service. Orders between the wait staff and kitchen staff would be easily communicated through printed orders that are uniform for every item, modifier, drink and billable item. No more shortcuts 'I meant this! That's not what you wrote!' Because the staff is in the front of the house instead of out back, the customer feels more important when all their needs are met promptly. There is the opportunity to sell more - extra drinks, deserts, optional add-ons with each meal. When it is time to pay, the bill is printed in a matter of seconds with everything listed, totalled correctly and perhaps even Suggested Tip listed at the bottom. This customer is sure to tell their friends and family about the great attentive staff and experience (this is true even if the meal wasn't perfect). You've increased sales, insured that everything was billed accordingly and perhaps through word of mouth gained a few new customers.
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