POS systems – or point-of-sale systems – are the hardware and software systems that you’d use to collect payment from your customers. POS systems have become much more sophisticated over the years, and many carry the features you need that allow you to input orders, manage inventory, track your staff when they clock in or out, print guest checks or invoices, and process reports.
If you’ve been in business for a long time – or if you long for the ‘ka-ching’ of the old fashioned cash register – you may need to modernize your payment processing system. There’s a reason those things sell for thousands of dollars on eBay: they’re antiques. How do you know it’s time for an upgrade? Here are five tell-tale signs…
1. You’re still imprinting credit cards using carbon paper.
First off, if you’re still doing this, please comment below with your business name and location. Watching someone process credit cards in this way would be like watching a cat walk on its hind legs – so completely bizarre, and yet somewhat intriguing. Sure, these imprinting machines are cheap (and sometimes free), but they’re completely dated. If a card is declined, you won’t find out until days after your customer is gone, and then it’s your inconvenience to track them down for a proper credit card. You know, because you have time for that. And on the chance that you lose these carbon paper slips, you’re not only out a lot of money (since you won’t be paid by those people), but your customers’ information could also be seriously at risk if it winds up in the wrong hands.
2. You hear the wretched dial-up sound – or worse, get a busy signal – when sending your customer’s credit card payment through.
If you use a credit card or POS machine that uses telephone connection to process the payment, it will require installing a separate landline to facilitate the outgoing call. This is a separate, unnecessary expense for your business. Just like VoIP telephone systems, POS systems can now be seamlessly and reliably integrated with the internet.
3. You have long lines at your cash register, and you think that’s a good thing.
The truth is, when you build up a long line at your cash register, it means your check-out processes are slow. No customer likes waiting in lines, and the more frequently they have to build in 10 minutes to check out, the less likely they’re going to return in the future. Today’s upgraded POS systems process payment quickly, while also updating your inventory, encrypting customer information, integrating with your accounting system, and making your employees’ jobs easier.
4. If you do business on the road, you mail invoices to collect payments. As in, snail mail.
Mobile payments is a booming industry these days. Options abound for small businesses that want to accept credit card payments while on the road. You can do so through hardware devices that connect to your cell phone, or you can use a POS mobile app through your smartphone or tablet to accept payment in a way that is quick, secure, and convenient.
5. You accept checks, but not credit cards.
We’re living in an increasingly plastic world. If you believe that cash is king, and that you are thumbing your nose at the payment processing companies by avoiding their fees, you might want to know that you’re likely also hurting your bottom line. Your unwillingness to accept credit cards may cause you to miss out on a significant customer segment that doesn’t carry cash on them. Intuit GoPayment estimates that businesses that do not accept credit cards lose up to $7,000 a year in sales. These days, interchange fees, especially in the case of some mobile payment providers, are lower than those you are charged through your average POS system, and much of the equipment you need to process credit cards can be offered for free when you open a merchant account.
Photo source: kristt.com