Account for Employee Training Costs When Choosing a POS

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Account for Employee Training Costs When Choosing a POS

By Allen Williams - 06/16/2014
When choosing a new POS system, most retailers focus on the hard costs: how much does the software cost per month or per year? How much will the hardware cost? What is the annual support commitment? These are the easiest costs to quantify and they are a useful point of comparison between software companies that you may be evaluating.
 
However, when conducting due diligence, retailers should not overlook the impact that a new POS system will have on one very important soft cost: employee training requirements.
 
Retailers historically experience high staff turnover rates in their stores. Running a clunky, hard to use POS system in the store makes it difficult to get new store associates down the learning curve and selling efficiently. The time your new hires spend trying to learn how to use the system is time they could be interacting with customers and creating relationships. A modern POS system should partner with store staff.
 
On their first day, sales associates should be able to get one-click access to real time data from the POS. Having instant, easy access to information about customers and products in the store will actualize store staff as they come to see their POS as a tool that can help them reach their sales plan goals. A system empowering and engaging store associates in this way also helps cut down employee turnover.
 
It’s not just the store associates that face this training hurdle. Many systems require the purchase of expensive training courses through the software vendor in order for back-office employees to perform a task as simple as creating a report. Do you really want to repeat this training process every time a new employee is hired? You shouldn’t have to.
 
What makes a POS system easy to use? There are several factors, but the most important are intuitiveness, flexibility and performance.
 
Intuitiveness is a measure of how well a system is understood by those who have never used it before. The more intuitive a POS system is, the less training that is required to use it. Not sure if your POS system is intuitive? Here’s a practical benchmark: if a user can’t figure out how to do an item or customer lookup or ring in a sale without any training, the system is not intuitive enough. You should look for software that invests in providing an intuitive user experience.
 
Retailers each have specific requirements. Your POS should be flexible enough to adjust to support your specific goals and workflows and should allow you to utilize the platform and hardware of your choice. Retailers need to be able to create custom fields, display custom metrics and connect to other services they already use in order to personalize their POS application without enduring painful development costs.
 
Performance also has a major effect on how easy your POS system is to use and involves everything from how long it takes to start up the POS software to how quickly you can complete a POS ticket. Speed is an important feature. The retail store is fast-paced, and it’s vitally important that your POS software support your pace.
 
All in all, the systems that are the easiest to use are effectively invisible. Your POS system is a tool and the extent to which that tool can get out of the way and allow your employees to do what they do best, which is make your customers happy, the more successful you’ll be. So when you choose your next POS system, make sure it’s easy to use. Your bottom line will thank you.
 
Allen Williams is a product manager at Springboard Retail.