EPoS: analysis is king

Here Best-one retailer Kay Patel gives his advice on what to look for in an EPoS provider:

 <figcaption>Award-winning Best-one retailer Kay Patel</figcaption> Award-winning Best-one retailer Kay Patel

Whether you are a single site newsagent or a multi-site convenience store operator, a good EPoS system is vital to keeping your business competitive and profitable. It’s amazing what EPoS can tell you. Did you know that moving the angle of your in-store bakery stand can increase sales by up to 50%? I didn’t, until I analysed the sales on my EPoS after staff had made a change.

I recently invested in a new EPoS system. Over the last few years I’d built up a wish list of features a dream system would have. The one I went for couldn’t do everything on my list but taking into account comparative cost and ease of use it was the one for me.

Here are some points to consider when choosing your provider:

  • Promotions. EPoS allows you to offer promotions more easily, but some systems make it so difficult that you might as well go back to doing it manually
  • Will it work over the web from your office? My provider offers this for free but some had quoted me up to £1,200 with an extra support contract
  • Will it work with your current supplier and other suppliers if you decide to move?
  • Support fees. Some providers charge the Earth but some are quite reasonable. There are even ones that don't charge for support at all – probably because there is none
  • Hardware. Is the system upgradable if new technology becomes available? What will that cost you?
  • Have a test run. If they are so confident in their system, ask if they will let you have a single lane system on loan
  • Helpline. If you run a 24hr operation a 9-5 support desk may not be the right choice
  • Get everything in writing – especially what you’ve agreed on specific hardware and levels of service
  • Credit cards – having pin pads on each till that run through broadband can greatly improve serving times but it’s not cheap. You have to buy the pin pads (£250 – £500 each)