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Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 29, 2017

Touch screen point of sale (POS) software plays a key role in running an efficient retail operation. However, it can be difficult to sort through the many available programs to find the right touch POS system for your type and size of store. Luckily, we put in the hard work of researching these solutions, so you don’t have to. Our expertise allows us to match retailers with the right software based on their type of store, size and unique requirements. We are committed to saving retailers valuable time, and costly mistakes.

The goal of this buyer’s guide is to help retailers understand the market and begin the research process. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Touch Screen POS Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Touch Screen POS Software?

Retail software is designed to track sales, inventory, customer information and more. The more advanced systems also support purchasing, manage employees and commissions and control pricing for multiple stores from a central location.

There are many different types of POS systems, and of course touch screen is one of the primary deployment models. For these programs, the keyboard is an eliminated or secondary piece of hardware, as most or all of the use comes through an intuitive touch-sensitive interface. The software is customized to your store and products and is designed to be quick and easy to learn, since retailers have one the highest employee turnover rates of any industry.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

There’s a very wide variety of touch screen POS systems and shopping for one can be a bit overwhelming. To simplify the task before you and help make sense of all the products you encounter, it’s helpful to think of all the various systems as belonging to either of two general groups. We use a similar approach and group touch screen POS buyers into one of two types:

Small POS buyers. Businesses with one to a handful of locations typically want a straightforward POS system. These buyers generally use their POS systems to ring up customers, update inventory and provide basic reports. Some of these systems also provide CRM capabilities that can be used to develop marketing and buyer incentive programs. They can also offer varying levels of accounting functionality.

Importantly, these systems are also some of the easiest to use. This can be an important selection factor for stores that can’t spend much time training managers how to use the new system or getting sales staff up to speed on how to handle and process each order. Touch screen POS systems designed for smaller businesses will typically have the simplest, and often the most user-friendly, interfaces.

Enterprise POS buyers. These buyers may be outgrowing their starter POS packages and are looking for more robust solutions. Alternatively, they may have an advanced POS package that simply isn’t well aligned with the workflows of frontline sales staff. They may be looking for a simpler system on the frontend, to improve speed and efficiency during check-out, but one that has more advanced and multi-site reporting and planning capabilities on the backend.

These solutions are typically targeted to larger retailers with multiple and/or very large stores, and include robust multi-location reporting capabilities and features like centralized pricing controls, merchandise planning and warehouse or transportation management. Not every enterprise solution will have all of these features, so consider carefully which features you want, and use those criteria to narrow down your search. Enterprise buyers should also consider any integration requirements carefully before making a purchase decision. They may have, for example, an important customer database that they plan to continue using. In cases like these, all new POS systems under evaluation should be double-checked to ensure compatibility with the database files and formats.

Benefits, Potential Issues and Pricing

The benefit of a touch screen POS is the intuitive design and high efficiency. New employees can learn the software extremely easily, since everything they need is just a couple of touches away, and once learned gets all purchases and/or orders registered very quickly and communicated to whoever else needs the information. In turn, this reduces checkout times, which increases sales and lowers costs of doing business.

Of course, training is a huge issue, and not all touch screen POS systems are created equal. So be sure to consider usability as you’re considering systems, to make sure the learning curve for new employees will be as low as possible.

Market Trends to Understand

As you evaluate retail systems, keep these trends in mind. How your vendor fits within these trends could have a big impact on their viability.

  • Mobile POS. Since many retailers conduct sales at tradeshows and other events, mobile POS applications are growing in popularity. Of course the iPad is a natural touch screen mobile POS application, but there are others designed to process payments and access inventory/sales data remotely.
  • Software as a service (SaaS). Not too long ago, a touch screen POS system would have required an on-premise installation. But with the explosion of the iPad, touch-sensitive desktop computers and other tablet devices, there are a whole range of solutions that are now designed for a Web-based deployment model. For these, the software and data are housed on a remote server, with the touch-sensitive user interface being the only on-premise use requirement. This could be a tablet device or a dedicated piece of hardware that you buy or lease from the software vendor.

The Vendor Landscape

This type of buyer:  Should look at these systems...
Small POS buyer TouchSuite, 2TouchPOS, Microsoft Dynamics RMS, Cougar Mountain Denali, Positive Retail Manager, Prophetline
Enterprise buyers Counterpoint, Retail Anywhere, Retail STAR, GoldTech, Iridium, Retail Pro, The Assistant Manager, Cybex, VuePoint, Cegid, Epicor

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