10 things to think about when looking for an EPOS
So you know you need an EPOS, but which one to choose? If you’re still deciding on whether you need an EPOS, or don’t know what an EPOS is, head on over to our What is an EPOS blog.
We’ve compiled our top 10 things to think about when looking for an EPOS, so that you can be sure you’ve picked the right EPOS for your needs, with just the right amount of features:
1. Inventory management
Do you need an EPOS solution that provides great inventory management? This would allow you to keep an eye on stock sales and purchases, and alert you reorder when your stock levels are low.
2. Table service and bill splitting
If you’re a restaurant or cafe, table service would be a perfect feature for you. Book tables, manage orders by table, even allow customers to book a table online. However, if you’re a very small cafe, and keeping an eye on costs, you might be able to manage without this feature.
Ah, we’ve all been out for a meal then had a nightmare trying to split the bill between us, haven’t we? Imagine being the waiter or waitress who then has to record all those pesky payments through the EPOS software? Some EPOS systems don’t even allow split billing. So if it’s important to be able to split bills for your customers, and record the payments easily through your software, you need this feature!
3. Ingredients tracking
This is another key feature for restaurants and cafes, as the kitchen definitely needs to keep a close eye on ingredient levels and costs. But it’s also useful for any retail business that has products made up of a combination of other products.
You need to be able to keep a handle on your stock for all products, you won’t be able to make up a “mother-to-be” basket for your customer if you’ve run out of massage oil! You also want to be able to sell your basket as one product through your till, instead of having to choose the individual items.
4. Offline mode
Is this important? You may think not if you have a bricks and mortar shop, but what if the internet goes down? Offline mode is particularly essential if you’re a mobile outlet, like a food truck, market stall etc. You can’t always rely on strong wifi or mobile data, so being able to carry on selling in offline mode may be a “must have” for your EPOS. Vend does allow this.
5. eCommerce integration
Does your master plan include selling online? If it does then it would be wise to get your point of sale solution to manage and unify your e-commerce sales too. Not only manage sales, but manage stock too, across your stores and online store.
6. Loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes are a great piece of marketing for your retail or hospitality business. How cool would it be if your EPOS solution managed your loyalty scheme, and made sure customers were incentivised to come and shop with you, and refer their friends to you? If it’s important, make sure it’s on the list!
7. Talking to your accounting software
If this hasn’t been part of your decision process til now, please make it a critical need! In our previous blog what is an EPOS you’ll know that one of the key benefits is time saving and efficiency. Now this is going to be severely limited if you’re not connecting your EPOS to an online accounting software. Just imagine if your EPOS sent all your sales data across to your accounting software, either automagically or at the click of a button? AMAZING!
Now you need to dig deeper if the EPOS provider says it integrates. What do they mean and how deep is the integration?
In a perfect world, and to save you the most time, you want all this information going to your accounting software automatically, to the account codes you choose:
- Daily sales
- VAT breakdown by VAT rate
- Payment methods (cash, card etc)
- Inventory updates
- 100% accurate data!
8. Hardware and software costs
You may just need a tablet and card reader if you’re mobile, but you may need the whole kit-n-caboodle! This could include tablet, stand, card reader, receipt printer, cash drawer and bar code scanner. These can range from £29 to £800, but most EPOS providers will offer a hardware bundle, or store kit. We can also offer discounts on iZettle charges and hardware.
The more feature-rich your EPOS solution is, the more costly it could be. For example you could get iZettle up and running with only a £59 card reader, as long as you have a tablet. The only other charges would be the card transaction fees, which are usually 1.75% per transaction. By the way, you can still record your cash sales through iZettle, but it won’t cost you.
If you do need a more complex EPOS, the software fees are usually monthly, and usually with a 30 day notice period. For example Vend monthly pricing starts at £49 per month for Vend Lite, which is more suited to a retail business, not a hospitality business.
What is their support like. Are they UK based? If they’re not do they still answer support within an adequate time?
What support do they provide? Is it phone, email, chat based? How important is it for you to speak to a human?
Does your accountant support your chosen EPOS, or do they understand the basic features of an EPOS, and how to get it to talk to your accounting software? All important stuff.
10. Ratings and reviews
And finally, you can do all the research in the world, and the solutions you look at will all be wowing you with their look, feel and groovy features. But how do you know what it’s really like before committing?
A great way to find out if your preferred solution is any good is to see what other people think of it! It may look amazing, but would you sign up if all the reviews are terrible? Trustpilot is a great place to go, as is the Xero App Marketplace, which links straight to the community ratings. Also, speak to your accountant, and your peers.
Phew that’s some list!
I hope that all makes sense, and gives you lots to think about. Our top 10 things is in no particular order, so you may want to score these top 10 in order of how essential or important they are to you.
We specialise in Security/Technology, Design and Indie Hospitality businesses.
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