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There are many benefits that come with a POS system for small businesses. However, many brick and mortar stores still use outdated tools like cash registers and spreadsheets to stay organized. These manual methods leave a lot of room for error and they take a lot of time to maintain.

Updating technology can be challenging. But it’s even harder to lose customers because your business can’t keep up with the pace of change.  The right POS system can help you grow and update your business in a streamlined way.

What is Point of Sale? A Complete Guide to POS for Small Business

1. What is point of sale?
2. Adding social experiences to grow your ecommerce business
3. Modernizing your brick and mortar store with a POS system
4. Implementing a POS system for small businesses
5. Point of sale marketing tips

A man uses the Square system in partnership with Selz ecommerce to check out a customer in a brick and mortar store

What is point of sale? 

A point of sale is where your customer makes their payment for products or services. A point of sale system, or POS system makes it easy for your customer to make a purchase in-person. 

Adding a point of sale system can seem like a big undertaking, but there are tools that make this an easy way to grow your business.

A great point of sale system can help with:

  • Managing inventory online and in a physical location
  • Connecting sales to specific customers
  • Keep track of your customers’ purchase history on multiple channels
  • Use email marketing to keep in touch with customers, no matter where you meet them

A POS system can also help understand how your team is doing. 

When you have a small team, it’s necessary for everyone to play many roles. That sometimes means you have the person you hired to write emails filling in at farmer’s markets. A POS can show you who your best sellers are to optimize sales.

You’ve probably used a point of sale system like Square at the coffee shop down the street. For most people, it feels more comfortable to buy in a way that feels familiar. For instance, using a credit card instead of logging in to an account from a tablet they’ve never used. 

If you’re looking for a simple way to organize your business whether you’re selling online or in-person, a point of sale system is the easy way to do it.

Two women at a farmer's market buy from an ecommerce store live and in person with Selz ecommerce for business growth

Add social experiences to grow your ecommerce business

If you have a successful ecommerce store, you may already be thinking about adding in-person sales. The ability to collect credit and gift card payments in person brings a big sales boost. Being able to automatically sync those sales with your online store? Priceless.

If you don’t have a brick and mortar store, there are a ton of options where you can use a point of sale system. 

Depending on where you live, there may or may not be a lot of these kinds of events happening right now. If not, you have some extra time to prepare and research options for the future of your business.

This list of ideas are a fraction of the possibilities for selling your online products and services in person:

  • Craft fairs
  • Trade shows
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Conferences
  • Wine tastings
  • Fundraisers
  • Open houses
  • School and charity events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Galleries and museums
  • Music festivals
  • Pop ups at hotels, restaurants and more

With a point of sale system you can easily and immediately answer questions about inventory. Selling on site can help you build your brand and connect in a new way with your community. 

It also gives you a chance to get on-the-spot customer feedback. Offer a sample class and free samples. Or, engage in some live social listening. If you’re an avid people watcher, bring one of your team to collect transactions and take notes as people approach your display. Pay close attention to which products get the most attention and frequently asked questions. 

Moments at point of sale are also great for marketing. Online shoppers tend to do a lot of research and comparison shopping. But on site, you can create a shopping experience that encourages buyers to purchase in the moment. POS can show you what your customers buy just because they’ve fallen in love with your products and services.

You may have avoided in-person sales in the past because of the complexity and security issues. A POS is a secure and easy way to connect your online business to your live social experiences.

In the same way that you can track purchase trends in your online store, your POS will give you valuable information in real-time about your customers.

Create a great display full of things that people want to buy at the last minute, like delicious cookies

Prepare for impulse buys

As you expand offline, evaluate your current inventory and most popular products. The first time you try out your point of sale system, be sure to bring your best impulse buy items.

These might include:

  • Gift cards
  • Small products that compliment your core products and services
  • Seasonal products like holiday stocking stuffers
  • Practical items like scented hand sanitizer

As much as possible, you want to integrate the offline and ecommerce experience for your customers. For more on how to create a great offline experience for your online store, check out this article on Medium.

Modernizing your brick and mortar store with a POS system

If you’re a small business considering the move to ecommerce, you’ll want to add a POS system at the same time. 

At first, that advice may sound confusing. After all, you already have your brick and mortar business running smoothly, why would you want to create more change than you have to?

There are a lot of reasons why a point of sale system is more efficient and accurate than manual cash and credit card sales. Among them, increased accuracy and ease of use as well as time and cost savings. 

Another of the major benefits of a point of sale system is the ability to connect all your sales channels. This lets you track your data all in one place.

A POS system for small business can help you:

  • Analyze your store sales data 
  • Help you to make better decisions for product reordering
  • Accurately assess your inventory
  • Set alerts for when items need reordering
  • Determine who your best local customers are and their favorite products
  • Know who your best selling staff are

All this, while also cutting costs for your business.

What is point of sale? With a mobile POS it can be anywhere and anything you want it to be like this conversation spot at a gallery

Your point of sale system can also help you innovate. As you add ecommerce, you may also want to update other aspects of your business. For example, your cash register may be the focus of your store layout right now, but would you make more sales with a change?

The Apple store is just one instance of a flexible and experience-driven store layout. A POS can be anywhere you want it to be, since your staff can take the device wherever they want to go.

Your POS can help you quickly identify what is selling better in the store and what’s hot online. You can craft a speedy response to competitor sales and push new sales for every holiday and season.

Your best sales person may not know why they're a great seller, but your pos system for small businesses can give you that info

Another thing to consider- you aren’t always paying attention to what you do as you do it. And just like you, your top sales person may spend more time talking to women than talking to men. They might prefer blue to red and subconsciously sell harder on those products. 

The data from your POS will help you see those connections and get a better idea of why your best selling products sell. Your POS may give you insights on why your favorite new product isn’t taking off or what add-on will boost sales!

A POS also gives you an opportunity to seamlessly connect your online and in store offerings. You can highlight digital products and services in your store, and track those interactions online.

Implementing a POS system for small businesses

Now that you’re ready and excited to add a point of sale system, let’s talk about set up. You can be ready to go in just a few steps.

Choose a POS platform

Square POS is one of the easiest of the systems to set up. They were the first widely known point of sale system, founded in 2009. Their POS solved an important small business problem. Their POS system makes credit card payments easier and less expensive for small businesses. 

Selz and Square point of sale answer the question what is point of sale with ease and simplicity to grow your business

Integrate your POS system with essential software, like your ecommerce platform

The direct integration with Square and Selz makes it simple to sync your inventory with your POS. You can view your online sales alongside your on-site sales, all from one sleek dashboard.

It only takes a couple of simple steps to connect the two platforms. Just like that, you’ll have a point of sale system that connects your sales in every channel. You can make sales on site, track inventory to quickly and accurately respond to questions, and never disrupt your steady stream of online sales. 

Add one of our accounting integrations and it will make your bookkeeping even easier! Spending hours of manual work tracking sales from multiple platforms will be just a memory.

Train your team

Before you start selling, you’ll want to train your staff on the options they’ll have for taking payments. You’ll also want to outline your internal business process.

With staff accounts, you can control what your team sees and has access to in your Selz account. Whether you have a team of two, twenty or 200, your Selz account will be secure, while also enabling your team to help you grow.

Both Square and Selz offer incredible support, so there will always be someone available if you have any questions.

What is point of sale marketing and how can you use it to grow your business with Square and Selz?

Preparing your business for point of sale

Whether you’re used to in-person selling or POS is something new, you want to make the most of your new system. A point of sale system makes it easy to complete purchases, but it can also make shopping fun!

Think about your current buying process. How can you improve that experience for your customers? What needs can you meet now that you have a POS in place? 

You’ll also want to think about your branding. Your displays should make the most of your package design and other elements of your brand. It can be tempting to dive right in, but there’s one more thing to think about before you start up your POS system. Let’s talk about point of sale marketing.

Point of sale marketing tips

Point of sale marketing is what will increase your sales at the point purchase. 

When you think about your experiences with a point of sale, you’re probably thinking about: 

  • A local boutique
  • Your hair salon or barbershop
  • Your favorite restaurant
  • Coffee shop
  • The mall

Read more: 30 Business Ideas for Small Towns to Expand Your Local Business Online

These spots usually have a prominent cash register right by the door near a counter full of saleable extras.  

These spaces use tried and true techniques to drive extra sales at the point of purchase. You can try these yourself! But we have even more ideas if you want to get creative.

A beautiful store interior shows all the options you have to display your products with point of sale marketing

Create a dazzling display 

Ideally, you want to place your point of sale in a strategic location. Usually the cash register is near the exit because it’s the last thing a shopper sees before they leave a store. 

You can use your display to showcase your personality and tell a story. Stories connect with people, and that connection can help you sell more products. 

For example, if you love to travel, add postcards from different destinations to the wall behind your POS. This is especially effective if you sell to a niche and own products that show your dedication and insider knowledge of that niche.

This is also a great spot to highlight any charitable causes your business supports. You can promote your favorite charity and give your customers a feeling for what your business stands for.

Don’t limit yourself to the counter! You can make unused space like the ceiling in your store more active by adding a hanging display!

Experiment with the location of your POS

Your goal is to sell your products, so that’s usually your focus as you set up – how to make your products look great. But there are other goals a shopper has when they come in. Ask yourself:

  • What are the different goals of your shoppers?
  • Are they looking for something specific?
  • Do they need to make a purchase or are they just browsing?
  • Are they buying for themselves, or for someone else?

Think about how your products can meet different needs as customers move through your space for effective point of sale marketing.

A customer can change their mind quickly about an impulse purchase. A mobile POS is great for catching someone at the moment of buying inspiration. It’s also a great way to effectively upsell or cross-sell as they make a purchase.

The data you get from your point of sale system can show you which locations bring the most sales as well as when they get the most activity!

Bright exciting backgrounds create an exciting point of sale marketing experience for social media shares

Create a point of sale marketing experience

If you want shoppers to spend some extra time with your products, add something interactive near your point of sale system. 

These are just a few ideas that can keep customers in your store for some extra time:

  • Video games
  • Interactive product demonstrations 
  • Photo booth 
  • Display for social media pics (don’t forget to create a prominent sign with your social accounts and brand hashtag!)
  • Seasonal activities for kids, like a station to make holiday cards
  • Offer free samples

Make sure you have enough space to entertain and attract more than one customer at a time. These activities should bring people in, but not distract from your main goal.

Play with packaging

Your packaging is more than an easy way to protect, secure and ship your products! Unboxing videos are popular for a reason. Great packaging makes it easy for shoppers who quickly skim your offerings to tell the difference between product variants. 

Your product packaging can make your products stand out without a ton of extra work on site. It’s also a chance to add to the experience. This article about package design is great for inspiration. 

Add sound and video

Big brands often broadcast commercials or add video displays with brand messages to build on the in-store experience. 

Your small business can use these tools to create an authentic personal experience for shoppers. It can also be a way to show digital products and services in a fun and exciting way. 

For example, if you sell eBooks, offer a tablet viewing station, or a listening station for audiobooks. Play a live class on a monitor near your point of sale system. 

Follow up to create a great end to the experience

Personalized emails are a great idea for customers who made a purchase, but are ripe to make more. A point of sale system makes this easy by collecting these emails at the time of purchase.

You can also create unique email marketing campaigns for people who visit your store to let them know about the products they can only find online.

Point of sale marketing without email is a waste. Selz and Square make it easy to grow your email list

Summary

Your new point of sale system can make a big impact on your business. How much of an impact depends on you. You tested your online store before going live, and it will be important to do the same with your new point of sale system.

Find ways to be your own customer or ask friends or family to help. Check out displays with a fresh eye and ask your sales team for information.

A great point of sale experience is like a website. It requires consistent attention, effort and maintenance to thrive.  

Your direct integration with Selz and Square will also give you a wealth of data you didn’t have before. You’ll have access to numbers that will tell you your busiest days, your most popular products and where you can save time and money.

These innovations are just waiting for you to try them out! If you’re ready to give it a try, Selz offers a 14-day free trial. Sign up today! We can’t wait to see what you’ll do. 

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.