What are businesses looking for in their POS solutions?

Point-of-sale solutions are constantly evolving to address the numerous pain points businesses experience every day. Just as companies' goals and objectives change on a yearly basis, so too do their POS needs. So, what are some of the common features and elements enterprises are looking for in their POS systems?

POS system analysis site, Software Advice, recently polled some firms to find out the answer to that question. Many companies run on tight margins, and as a result, efficiency is king - they need to get the most out of their investments. Thus, when it comes to the POS system, they are looking for a tool that helps them manage a wide array of business-related processes and functions. All entrepreneurs want to streamline their operations, and POS is one tool that may empower them do that.

"POS can help businesses in a variety of ways, including managing inventory, providing customer management data, identifying opportunities and weaknesses in the store and much, much more," Nicole Reyhle, founder of retail publication Retail Minded and author of "Retail 101," told Software Advice.

Here are some of the most hotly desired features enterprises are looking for in their POS systems:

1. Customer management options
For many merchants, the point of sale is the last line of defense to ensure customers leave the store happy and having found everything they wanted. Shopper management features empower cashiers to provide customers with the service they need at the point of sale. Even the small things count - for example, Software Advice found that two-thirds of shoppers are likely to stop visiting a store if they are not recognized as loyal customers. A customer management system at the POS can help clerks identify regular patrons and give them the recognition they deserve.

2. Employee management
POS software often features employee management solutions that will help employers track activity and ensure workers are paid accurately for their shifts. The POS can be used to track how many hours employees logged at a POS station and can also be utilized to count commissions and address other advanced issues.

Employee management tools could even aid employers in setting more effective shifts. Retailers obviously don't want to waste money by having people work if they are not needed at a particular time. Conversely, the customer experience is likely to suffer if businesses are understaffed. Employee management tools at the POS may help identify scheduling trends and patterns to help enterprises set shifts more effectively.

3. Inventory management
What if POS solutions could automatically check items out of stock the moment they were scanned at the register and the transaction was completed? This could make tallying inventory and keeping track of stock numbers much easier and automate a process that is normally a very time-consuming endeavor.

Inaccurate inventory data can cause merchants a lot of harm. It can lead to lost sales because merchants think they have more inventory than they actually do. It can lead to angry customers because the customer service department told them a product is available that the company actually does not have in stock. While there are still other opportunities for goods to go missing and for numbers to go wrong, having a POS system that checks out inventory is one way merchants can regain control of the situation.

POS solutions are always evolving and have quickly become the brain of many retail operations, aiding in several processes from customer management to inventory management. If retailers are using an outdated solution, this alone may be a reason to consider an upgrade.