If you're like most retailers and food service companies, your POS is the heart of your operations, whether that's running sales, managing stock, or tracking employees. The data that your POS generates and collects while doing these tasks, as well as others, reveals what is happening behind the scenes of your enterprise. Smart retailers know the best way to attain long-term success is to use this information to make informed decisions that drive sales and increases the overall performance of your business.
If using data to make decisions is new to you, do not worry. We'll explain how you can do it, and why it's essential, in this post.
As part of its operation, a contemporary cloud-based POS system collects data associated with significant areas of your company, including transactions, inventory, employees, and more. For savvy business owners, that data is a enormous source they could leverage for strategic decision.
Plus, due to the always-on nature of cloud POS systems, you can reference this data at any given time. You don't even need to be in your office to do it, either.
Before going further, it's worth explaining why it's vital to use data to inform your business decisions. Often, it is easier to follow our gut instinct and make decisions based on what feels"right." Unfortunately, this may lead to flawed decision-making for many different reasons. The most obvious is that your gut can be incorrect. You do not inherently know all the facts for a given situation. That is where data, reporting, and analytics come into play. They give you the entire picture, letting you consider all of the facts before deciding anything.
If you are concerned that reading reports may be too confusing, do not worry. You won't have to brush off that faculty statistics textbook before you can get started. Most modern POS systems are developed for regular business owners just like you. That means the reports are simple to read and use. Reports are also usually focused on a few key pieces of information, allowing you to get what you need quickly and then get back to your regular day-to-day.
What Kind of Decisions Can a POS Help You Produce?
Its data shows you how all of the major elements of your organization work together. But to help you understand the particular choices a POS can help you make, let's look at each significant area of a typical business independently.
Since your POS is where you actually ring up sales, it only makes sense that it should help you understand sales performance. And that goes far beyond collecting basic information like how much you sell in a day. Key sales metrics such as gross profit (how much money you earn from a sale after production and sales costs) as well as the gain margin (the proportion of a transaction that you retain as gain ) is laid out on your POS system's reports. You may use this information to keep track of your profitability and make sure that the stock you have is actually assisting you to generate revenue.
These reports can also help you identify your best and worst selling products, departments, and locations, among other pieces of information.
Assessing sales reports is a excellent way to identify your most popular products. Once you what they are, the next step is to ensure you have enough stock in your inventory to handle demand. That is where inventory reports come into play. They clearly show the number of each product that you have in stock, so you know when it's time to reorder. Additionally, your POS can supply you with big picture information such as the overall value of your inventory, helping you get a grip on your current cash flow situation.
If you understand that your POS says you've got more stock than what is in your store, you probably have an stock shrinkage problem. Bear in mind that there are a variety of different ways that reduction can occur so check things like supplier invoices, staff hours/schedule, enroll action, and your other security measures to identify the reason for the reduction.
Employee Hours and Shifts
Your POS can tell you that your best staff members are and what days are your busiest. Use sale by sales and hour by employee reports to make this determination. Then schedule your very best salesperson to work at the busiest time of your work week to improve profits. On the other hand, you can also see which staff members who aren't performing as well and set up training and coaching sessions to help them improve.
Gift cards, email receipts sent to clients, and loyalty programs are all marketing tactics that could be handled through a POS. You can create customer profiles in your POS to track their purchase and shopping history with you. Easily monitor the amount of customer email addresses you collect to measure your email list development. You can even track the amount of gift cards you sell and see when folks pay with them to assess the success of your gift card program.
It's clear that using a POS, you can quickly gain insight into nearly every aspect of your company. But what about the POS system's traditional counterpart, the electronic cash register? Can it too offer business owners and managers with access to critical business data?
Is a POS Better at Decision Making Than a Cash Register?
While the traditional electronic cash register is undoubtedly a favorite device, it may only do one thing: ring up sales. On the other hand, a POS is an actual system comprised of software and hardware which lets you serve your customers and run your entire business at exactly the exact same time.
POS software provides business owners with reporting and analytics capabilities a cash register does not have. These analytics tools interpret the data that's produced by the system into easy-to-understand reports that keep you aware of how your organization and staff are performing, among other things. If you wish to know what times are busiest, which payment methods are most popular, or what your best selling item was last week, it is easily accessible inside your POS.
Cash registers, on the other hand, don't have this kind of capability built in. You would need to use spreadsheet software like Excel or even track information by hand to gain the degree of insight that a modern POS system provides out of the box. And if you wanted daily reports on how your business is operating, you would have to be at your business every hour of every workday updating your spreadsheets. This would be a full-time job unto itself and is likely impossible to remain on top of in the long run.
Cash registers do not have this type of functionality built in, so to manage inventory, you will need to count all your stock by hand regularly. This tedious process can take hours, and since it's done by hand, it is mistakes are common, leading to inaccurate data. Why do all of this when a POS is a cost-effective and easy-to-use option that does this for you automatically?
A cloud-based POS provides more significant advantages over a cash register. Since it all it requires is an internet connection, you can get to your own analytics from basically any computer. This means your business data is available to you in your home, in a coffee shop, or even while you're traveling. This empowers you to make when it is most convenient for you.
Additionally, cloud-based POS systems are far more modern and user-friendly than traditional POS systems and cash registers. This may help you learn the system, and start making educated decisions, faster. Some POS systems, like ShopKeep for instance, even incorporate a mobile app like ShopKeep Pocket. This app gives you access to critical business data on your smartphone so that you may make decisions on-the-go.
How Do POS Based Decisions Help Improve Business?
Now that you understand why a POS is a much better tool for the decision-making process and the choices it can help you make, it's time to put the information it gives you to great use. With the data you get from your POS, you're equipped to manage your organization and better prepared to react to future challenges.
You can't be in your company all the time so you can depend on your POS to consistently track data even if you aren't there. Use these reports to your benefit to make informed decisions which grow your business day-in and day-out.
By way of example, you might see that you aren't selling as many gift cards since you were at this time last year. To resolve that, you can create a specific marketing campaign designed to improve gift card sales. Or you could determine which products you currently market that provide the best profit margins and place those items at the front of your shop for a way to make up the difference in sales.
If it is not clear by now, the right POS system can be a game-changer for your organization. The insights it can provide from your sales data alone offers an invaluable view into the inner workings of your company. By ignoring these aspects of your POS software not only are you utilizing just a portion of your POS system's capabilities, but you are also doing yourself and your business a disservice.