Your point of sale system is capable of collecting and analyzing a significant amount of data. While cash registers can only oversee transactions, more advanced systems keep track of your sales, different customers, tax information, inventory, employee hours, and more.
In the past, you compiled such data and created your own reports on a quarterly or monthly basis. These reports gave you a comprehensive look at your business so that you could take a step back and decide how to go forward.
Creating these reports was a tedious task, though, and it left lots of room for error. You also wanted to make projections about the future, but sometimes the numbers weren’t clear enough.
Reports that your POS system generates can help you do the same thing, but they can go much more in-depth and provide you with a daily or even real-time look at your business’s overall picture. They can also offer recommendations, suggestions, and help you notice patterns. While the system can communicate information to you, it’s ultimately your choice what you do with it. Here are a few ways you can leverage your POS system effectively:
Understand your customers better
You should never invade your customers’ privacy and ask them to share too much. What you can do is look at the basic data: how often do they come in, and what do they usually buy? What are your customers’ demographics? Are you catering to them appropriately? Your customers may appreciate your factoring in their preferences whenever they enter your store.
If customers willingly give you email addresses, you can ask if they’d like to be included in email marketing campaigns. You can use your POS system to create personalized product recommendations and customized promotions. If your system notes a trend amongst customers, you can create a general campaign that will appeal to their collective behaviors.
Manage inventory more efficiently
Managing inventory manually is a daunting and frustrating task. There’s a great deal of room for error here, and it’s a headache to keep track of everything on a spreadsheet. You might already use inventory management software, but your operations will flow much smoother if it’s integrated into your point of sale system.
The kind of data your POS platform will collect includes the number of products sold, how much you have recently ordered, where in the supply chain products are, how much of anything is currently on-site, items’ specific locations, and more.
You can leverage this information to manage your storage room or warehouse more efficiently. Customers will never be disappointed that you are short on something, but you also won’t waste money storing excess product that isn’t selling well.
With a POS system, you and your employees won’t have to run back and forth between the sales floor and the backroom to check if specific products are available—all you need to do is search for it on the mobile database. This way, you won’t keep customers waiting, and you’ll have real-time information about what’s going on in your business.
On a related note, your POS system keeps track of returns and refunds (and updates inventory automatically to reflect changes). You can use this information to determine why customers are bringing things back: are the products damaged, or falsely advertised? You can then give a refund directly through the system.
Your POS software will also be able to tell you what your busiest times of day are. For instance, a coffee shop might see a burst of activity in the early mornings and later in the afternoons. You can use this data to make sure you are staffed appropriately. When do you need more or fewer employees on-site?
Track sales patterns
You created a business strategy when you first opened, but it is unlikely that it hasn’t changed over time. It’s essential to adjust your plan when you realize what works and what doesn’t. What are your most popular items? Which products are not selling as well as you expected them too? With data points like these from your POS system, you can amend your strategy according to the numbers.
For example, are you noticing a trend that you hadn’t predicted? That’s okay; your POS system can suggest ways to adapt. Perhaps you need to shift your hours of operation, staff more people on particular days, or rearrange products on the sales floor. When you have detailed insight into your business, you can make better data-driven decisions.
Your POS system can tell you a great deal and make suggestions, but what you do with said information is up to you. How would you like to leverage POS system data?