Epos Systems and small businesses...(4 Posts)
I hoping to pick a few brains on EPOS systems please.. I own a small independent shop and would like to install an EPOS now. I really need it for stock control, but also would like it to help with my VAT etc and keep track of customer details if possible. Has any one got any experience or recommendations please? TIA
I remembered reading this a while back.
Here are ten important questions to ask an EPoS supplier:
1. Is the EPoS software robust? Are system crashes the norm? And if you have a catastrophic failure that may or may not be your fault, will you be helped back on your feet ASAP? And whats the suppliers definition of ASAP?
2. Support. Is it there? Are you confident there are enough bods in the support department to service the client list now and in the future? This has been a key failure of trade specific EPoS systems in the recent past.
3. Who does your product file maintenance and updating? Do not under estimate how much time it takes to maintain products and prices. It can take from a month to three months of a key persons time in a year to maintain the product file. It is a drain on resources for you to have to enter in all the information when suppliers bring out new ranges or change prices? Does the EPoS system come pre-loaded with key lines and are they easily updated remotely?
4. Can you see reports on screen as well as on a printer? Make sure that you dont have to send all your reports to printer. It can be slow and use an enormous amount of paper. If you can see reports on screen make sure you can go backwards and forwards through the pages. If you cant go back, and many systems cant, you will waste a lot of time scrolling through pages.
5. Can the system run a series of jobs overnight? For instance can it automatically close end of month; print valuation reports and movements reports for month end audit; communicate with other branches; receive pricing and availability information from your key suppliers and, finally, make a tape backup of the system as a single task? If it cant you may have to tie up screens, printers and your valuable time during the day, or worse, stay late at night to complete the jobs.
6. Can the re-order system adapt as your business changes? Can the system perform intelligent re-order suggestions that adapt themselves by learning about the popularity or non-popularity of items? Can it learn what the sales rate is of any item that you stock? You may be left with a system that relies on static information only, such as minimum and maximum stock levels that you set up manually, probably by guess work. As you are likely to have many thousands of SKUs it is a mammoth task to constantly review the min and max stock levels for each and every item. Chances are you wont bother because it requires so much effort. This will then make your re-order suggestions next to useless.
7. Can you instantly see on-screen sales and margin information? If a salesperson calls and offers you a special deal on a specific product, can you instantly see on screen how many of that item you have sold in the last week, last month, each month this year and what profit you have made on that item in all these periods, or would you have to run a report to printer that has to trawl through daily log files for hours to give you the answer?
8. How difficult is it to temporarily suspend a sale? Imagine this, a queue of customers are waiting to pay at the checkout. As you are ringing through a sale for a customer, he asks to buy an item you'll have to go in the back to get. Do you simply press a button to stall that sale for later recall when he comes back, or would you have complete the partial sale, then credit it out before you can serve the other customers in the queue? Some older systems can be a real pain.
9. Do they dongle? Who owns the rights to the software? Is it the EPoS company or have they bought in a software package from another supplier? (PS a dongle is a software license key).
10. Do you need trade specific EPoS software? Is your trade really, truly different to mainstream retail?
Wow! Thank you so much! definitely food for thought there! Can I ask do you use epos yourself?
No I was looking at it for a friend. I think the best bit of advice is to check with similar shops and ask about their experiences. I do have a lot of experience in fitting system to requirements.
The other thing you can do is write out a list of requirements
a list of things it must do
a list of things that would be nice for it to do
a list of things it must not do.
Compare the systems in your price range, against these lists. Ask the salesman to demonstrate the points.
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