Pick the Right POSWhat do you need it to do?
Point of Sale Systems (POS) need to be critically evaluated prior to making a commitment. While a POS’s fundamental purpose is to allow businesses to record sales transactions and manage inventory, new features with evolving technology need to be considered to drive consistent future growth. POS systems have now been optimized to streamline staff hours, detail inventory, and project purchases. A business owner must consider his business model and how he needs the POS to work within his business.
Take the time to consider important questions about the POS: Will it meet the business’s needs now and in the future? Does it have remote capabilities? Can it adapt to industry trends like direct to consumer (DTC) ordering and purchasing on LTO? Will it support loyalty rewards? What other features does my business need from a POS, other than being able to record a sale? Does the system have CRM and DTC marketing? Are they cloud-based or are in-house servers needed? Will it efficiently help my staff with inventory? Does the POS company offer continued support and education?
Following is a list of the top four Alberta POS companies. While not every one of their features have been noted below, each have been tried, tested, and reviewed. All these companies have great track records and are willing to supply demonstrations and education to prospective clients. Let this guide help you determine the best fit for your company when you are selecting your next POS.
Reporting – Real-time reporting allows for easy export to Excel, Word or pdf. Automatic sales reporting goes direct to inbox. The reporting in this system is amazing. If there is a report needed for analytics, it can be found in this POS.
Ease of Inventory – Traditional scan guns or iPads can be used for inventory. POs and receiving are available online via each vendor to further streamline the process and mitigate human error.
Added Features – Loyalty rewards, cloud-based technologies, client portal, cannabis ready, real-time agent information, vendor integration to obtain up-to-date inventory information.
User Friendliness – User friendly for individuals with computer knowledge. One can easily find her way around. There are manuals available to help with staff training.
Can it grow with you? – Yes. Lane terminals have connectivity and work via a back office PC. Remote access is available and the cloud-based platform via an online portal can integrate easily with ecommerce website. Customized options are also available to meet client needs.
Customer support and training – Monthly maintenance package available for a low monthly fee. Regular email updates/information and downloads for LTOs. Support is readily available.
Cost – $$$ One-time fee for hardware and software. Most companies purchase the monthly support subscription to ensure systems stay current and help is accessible.
This POS company is intuitive and forward-thinking. They will customize a package for each company they are working with. They are truly focused on the future and growing alongside the companies they are working with. This is the Tilly system in the lineup that is cannabis-ready.
Reporting – Very powerful reporting functions. All the data of a store can be captured with this system. While the reports don’t come out as pretty when comparing other POS systems, a retail owner can truly forecast the needs of their business with this POS.
Ease of Inventory – This system was built with inventory in mind. It’s easy to use and gets the job done with accuracy and ease under this established platform.
Added Features – It has some features such as loyalty rewards, online ordering via Connect Logistics and BDL and integrated payment systems. There are key components for on-premise establishments too, which weren’t reviewed here.
User Friendliness – Employees report this system is easy to use once the on-site training has been done.
Can it grow with you? – Yes. Additional lanes can be added and linked into a head office PC to allow for central reporting and efficiencies.
Customer support and training – This company is known for its response time and customer support. It’s fast, reliable and to the point. Customer service is exceptional when comparing to other POS providers. Troubleshooting is via telephone, remote dial-in or onsite.
Cost – $$$ The price point is in line with other providers. One-time fee for hardware/software and back office is needed.
This system was clearly designed with inventory and reporting in mind. Customer service is their focus, and this really comes out when consulting with companies that use this system.
Reporting – This system has been built with employees in mind. Reporting is diverse and adaptable. It’s visually impressive and anyone reading the screen can quickly determine the numbers and needs of the store.
Ease of Inventory – Adjustments are easy. Repacking has been accounted for to ensure count accuracy. Human error has all but been eliminated with the adaption of POs, receiving into inventory, and the real-time connection to vendors such as Liquor Connect and the visual of real-time inventory for customers.
Added Features – Loyalty rewards, ecommerce platforms, licensee to licensee sale carts, apps for both customers and ownership. The features appear to be endless, including direct SMS messaging when a product comes back in-stock from Liquor Connect. Cannabis is coming soon.
User Friendliness – The look and feel of the system allows for a new employee to start working in the system after a brief 20-minute training session.
Can it grow with you? – Yes. With the cloud-based technology, a one-off store owner or multi-national chain would find this system meets every need. It’s robust and efficient. It has attributes to work with and grow a company.
Customer support and training – Set up and training is very quick. Response times to calls/emails is also very quick.
Cost – $$ This system has a monthly subscription. This relatively cost-effective system doesn’t require a lot of cash up front for implementation. Plus, system updates occur weekly because of the cloud technology.
This company is fairly new when compared to the others, having only been in business since 2014. However, it has proven to be a real contender in comparison to established companies. With the cloud-based system, it will work anywhere there is an Internet connection. Owners can select the hardware of their choice—tablets, Macs or PCs—almost all are compatible. The growth potential of this system is really what shined through. It will allow an organization to maximize all revenue options such as delivery and on-premise licensee-to-licensee sales or wholesaling.
Profitek POS Solutions
Reporting – Extremely in-depth reporting functions and data accessibility.
Ease of Inventory – Centralized purchasing capabilities, PO and ordering ease. Requires team to have an in-depth knowledge of the system and its functionalities.
Added Features – Loyalty rewards, labour scheduling, accounting, gift card management, online retail capable, pricing control, and real-time inventory look up.
User Friendliness – This system requires in-depth training and education, both from the back-office perspective and from a new employee perspective, to ensure its many components are utilized to their maximum capability.
Can it grow with you? – Yes. This company can customize and create what a retail store requires.
Customer support and training – Exceptional capabilities of support. There is a training facility and call centre for support as well as hardware and software support.
Cost – $$$ The price point is in line with other providers. One-time fee for hardware/software and back office is needed. Ongoing fees for service and customization.
This system was founded and built for on-premise licensed establishments. One of the oldest companies in our comparison, they have hard-working systems that can definitely get the job done effectively. While they do function for retailers, they are not focused on the specifics of liquor retailing so new trend setting features don’t appear to be readily available without customization.
Rebecca Hardin is the owner of the consulting firm, Hospitality Solutions Inc, specializing in liquor and cannabis licensing along with retailing in the provinces of Alberta and BC.