10 Questions to Consider when Investing in a Retail POS System

We love guest posts. Please send educational info for our retail members to us at This guest post features Jason Sproles, President of Support One – a Denver based retail software and support company, who was presented with 10 questions on how a Retail POS system can benefit a small business. 

Whether you’re a small retailer with just one or two stores or a retail chain, there is concern regarding profitability in today’s economy. Although passion drives your business, technological obstacles may get in the way of true success. With so many advances in technology, thinking about implementing anything new into your store can be overwhelming.

Jason Sproles, President of Support One, a Denver based retail software and support company who specializes in small to medium size retailers was asked at NRF 2014 to answer the most frequently asked questions for making a decision of investing in a Retail POS system.

Sproles hopes these answers can provide peace of mind with your search and details of how beneficial a new retail management system can be.

Jason Sproles on Right and Jimmy McGuire at NRF 2014

Jason Sproles on Right and Jimmy McGuire at NRF 2014

1) What is the approximate cost of a Retail POS system?

ANSWER  “It really depends on the retailer and their needs. Basic POS software will cost between $1,200-$2,500 per license or terminal. But if you’re looking to invest in a full Retail Management suite, like iVend Retail, then your numbers will be much higher. With the added costs of additional modules such as rentals, service and loyalty; as well as the extra cost of hardware, implementation and training a ballpark figure would be $7,000 and up for the 1st workstation. Annual upgrades and support contracts should also be expected. However, some companies can work out a bundled price that will bring the total costs down.”

2) Which should I purchase first, the point of sale hardware or the retail software?

ANSWER: “This is a great question. Hardware is important, but not as important as the software it runs. It is best to purchase both the software and hardware at the same time and preferably from the same vendor. In many cases, it is possible to use existing hardware assuming it is not too old. But printers, scanners, cash drawers and customer displays are many times not compatible with all software packages. This is why purchasing everything from the same Value Added Reseller (VAR) helps insure all components are compatible. Plus the VAR will set it all up, configure everything and sell a bundle deal that will save you valuable time and money.”

3) Can a retail POS system help my business become more profitable?

ANSWER: “A POS system offers many benefits that can ensure your company stays profitable and continues to grow. Quicker and more reliable checkouts can mean less manpower is needed. Inventory tracking will help provide information to decrease and prevent shrinkage, replenish stock more quickly and accurately and determine what items are most and least profitable. All of this provides timely information to help manage the business more profitably.

Additionally, it can improve the customer experience insuring proper pricing and being able to check inventory levels at other locations. A loyalty program will also help to reward your customers and encourage them to purchase more at your store. E-commerce allows you to compete online and influence your customers with your expertise to drive more sales volume. All of these functions can be integrated and easy to manage with the help of a good POS support company behind you.”

4) How can a retail POS system help increase efficiency in my business?

ANSWER: “Many POS systems today are actually Retail Management Systems, meaning the software will actually manage many parts of the business within one system. A POS system can help you manage various areas of your business including generating profitability reports, purchasing, physical inventory taking, printing labels and shelf tags and customer loyalty. The automation that comes with a Retail Management system is worth the cost.”

5) Why should I spend the money for a retail POS system when I already have an electronic cash register?

ANSWER: “A cash register is fine for ringing in sales and providing sales reports. However, a POS system will provide profitability reports and help with purchasing, tracking inventory and improving the customer experience with faster service. It will also save valuable time by not having to try to do everything manually. The automation and efficiency that comes into play for a business with POS system far out weighs what a cash register can do.”

6) My store is small, is it too small to see real benefits from a retail POS system?

ANSWER “Any size store can be more profitable from the benefits gained with a POS system especially a one store, one cash register type of shop. It will end up costing you more if you don’t invest, since more than likely your competition is investing and seeing the benefits already. Retail POS systems are very scalable (depending on the software) which means you can start as a one cashier store and grow to multiple cashiers and multiple stores.”

7) Why would scalability be important to me in a POS system?

ANSWER: “Scalability function within a software purchase is a must. You want to make sure that as your business grows, your POS system can grow along with you. If you add additional locations, your POS system should be able to capture the additional sales data and provide enterprise wide reporting. If you want to add an eCommerce site and/or mobility at some point your POS system should be able to accommodate these requirements.”

8) Can clerks continue to ring up sales if the server goes down?

ANSWER: “This depends on the software you choose, you will want to choose a POS system that offers redundancy. The POS stations should be able to operated if the server goes down. When the server is brought back online, the data in the POS stations should automatically sync back up with the server and communicate all the transactions that occurred while offline.”

9) Do I need a separate system for my e-commerce store?

ANSWER: “No, it is best to have both your eCommerce system and store POS system completely integrated as one so you to track inventory, customers and sales on a single system. For instance, if you are selling items online, your POS will then know that inventory has decreased. I highly recommend finding a POS software that has an eCommerce functionality, even if you don’t plan on using it for a few years. Having that capability once your business is ready is so convenient knowing you won’t have to change software again.”

10) What do I look for in choosing a vendor?

ANSWER: “The first thing you want to look for is support. The software is only as good as your knowledge with it, so a support team is vital. If something breaks or goes wrong, you will want fast answers and action. A company that can offer the whole package of software, installation and support can make the difference for your long term success. The vendor should also have a strong record of supporting systems and be well established and financially stable to help ensure they are going to be in business for years to come.”

We hope these questions helped better your understanding for your Retail POS research. If you have any further questions or want to start your search now, visit Support One’s website or email us at Our staff of retail experts can answer any questions you may have about POS systems.

The Support One Marketing Team