Point of sales (POS) systems are much more than a simple cash drawer and EFTPOS machine, and implementing an effective POS system can be the point of difference for you and your tourism or hospitality business throughout this ‘post COVID-19 world’.
Firstly, what is a point of sales system?
Well, if we look at the words in their literal sense, it is exactly that, the cumulation of hardware and software used at the point in which a sale is made.
Pretty simple right? Well, it is, and by no means does an effective system need to be complicated - but it can be far more than just what the customer ‘sees’.
This article will explore on a basic level, just how much you can build out your POS system to help make better business decisions in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Gone are the days where purchases were accompanied by a handwritten cash receipt, often today it’s a touchscreen on a countertop.
Think of your favourite restaurant, café or even bar - waitstaff greet us with a portable tablet in hand, ready to seat us and take our order. This is the basis on which we build our POS system.
So what are the features of a POS, and what can it do for you?
We have explored it previously when looking at ‘cashless’ transactions – the options you give your customers when it comes to paying for a product or service are imperative in creating a great customer experience.
An EFTPOS machine integrated to a till, a square card reader and a mobile tablet – these are all examples of payment options as part of a POS ‘system’.
Having multiple payment options creates a better experience for your customers, which should ultimately lead to greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Having these integrated effectively as part of your POS system will not only improve the customer experience, but also helps you to eliminate clerical errors when processing a sale, and in the long run, makes your life and your staff’s lives easier.
The insights generated from your POS can assist greatly when looking at sales trends and stock trends.
The tourism and hospitality sector is subject to such seasonal consumer behaviour, and there is no shying away from that.
With that in mind, being able to analyse accurate data to better predict anticipated sales can help alleviate cashflow pressure. It is one thing to say you know what your sales are doing, but in an expanding business where you rely on staff members and managers to actively run parts of your business, this is the data you can retrieve by way of multiple reports to get an accurate gauge on how things are really tracking in your business.
If you are in a business where you have stock, inventory management within your POS can be extremely useful.
Over ordering of stock or ‘emergency’ purchases at more inflated prices can be detrimental to a business’s cashflow, which we know is key when dealing with seasonality.
Likewise, not being able to identify a period of high sales can lead to being understocked – not ideal when looking to make sales to seasonal visitors or tourists ‘passing by’ on their way to a different end destination.
Tracking goods in and out can save you huge amounts of time come the end of the financial year, or in the case of the unthinkable, will highlight discrepancies between stock ‘on hand’ vs what has been sold should you suspect there may be fraudulent behaviour or theft within your business.
With the wide choice of options when it comes to POS systems, one easy to overlook feature is the ability to gather customer information.
Knowing who your customers are, where they have come from and most importantly, why they have come to you and your business can help immensely when it comes to your marketing strategy.
We’ve all been to a store where we can ‘sign up’ to receive updates, be informed of sales or even get that once a year ‘Happy Birthday, here’s a discount on us’ message.
All this information is gathered and recorded through, you guessed it, that business’s POS system.
What POS system is best for you?
In summary, there are a huge number of vendors when it comes to POS systems. Some are broad and quite generic, others are more industry-focused.
Do you need your POS to do everything listed above – well the short answer is no, but it's likely that it will be able to if it cannot already. So why waste that information? Do not be overwhelmed by choice but be informed.
As always, assess your own business – reflect on your current processes and highlight the pain points you experience, whether it be on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.
Do you find you tend to overstock? Consider what inventory management tools you have and implement a process to improve. Feel that your marketing strategy is missing the mark? Look at your customer mix and where they are coming from, and target potential customers based on your existing customers.
Selecting and implementing point of sales systems can be daunting and complex.
Your business is unique and will have specific requirements that not every application can match.
At RSM, our digital advisers work with clients across the tourism and hospitality industry to help you decide the best system for your business, create a plan of attack, set-up the applications and train your team.