Friday, July 2, 2010

To POS or Not to POS, That is the Question

First, POS stands for Point of Sale. Just to clarify for those of you thinking otherwise. Second, my mom loves Shakespeare, so there were lots of quotes from his plays in my household growing up. My apologies to Hamlet.

In addition to selecting an accounting software package, I've also been trying to determine if I should start out in the business with a point of sale package or wait until I'm more established. I've seen successful retail businesses utilize both approaches. And I've seen some that never went with a point of sale package (one of my favorites - Flora Ottimer Children's Boutique in Ft. Lauderdale). My mentor/friend Greer at Duo waited a couple of years to implement a POS system because of cost (at first) and then a real need to have an inventory mechanism when she expanded to ecommerce.

There are also options for what I would call "Point of Sale Light" - Cash Register software that doesn't quite have all the bells and whistles of a full blow POS system. And then there is determining how the systems would interface with my bank's merchant services system. Or do I go with a merchant services system from the POS provider? Lots of questions I still need to finalize.

If I had to say that I had a lean right now, I am leaning toward going ahead and going with a Point of Sale system. And I have thought about hosting my software but have pretty much decided to have it in house for now and look to host in the future as their hosting offerings become more robust. I like the Disaster Recovery aspects of the hosted system but have found that their POS offerings end up being more cumbersome and more expensive than in-house offerings.

And then the big decision - do I go Apple or PC based system? I've narrowed down the choices to one in each family and need to do a head to head comparison on price, maintenance, and ease of use.

I'm also looking into Gift Card services through various providers. I do want to offer Gift Cards at the store rather than Gift Certificates since Gift Cards are difficult to counterfeit. I plan to accept cash and credit/debit cards. Still trying to decide on checks and need to talk further with my business banker on safeguards. Sad that you have to worry all the time about how people might try to scam you but that's part of the deal.

Looking forward to my meeting with the realtor/broker this morning! More to come!

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