When it comes to selecting a point-of-sale system, retailers should examine key features that can improve the efficiency and profits of their business.
A point-of-sale (POS) system can be a crucial component in determining a pet retailer’s success. However, when confronted with a staggering spectrum of options, business owners may find it challenging to choose one. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the role of a POS system and the features available in this niche market, retailers can make an effective decision that improves their business’ future performance.
For many retailers, the POS system their store uses is at the core of their day-to-day business. With software working in conjunction with hardware, a POS system helps manage sales transactions. However, retailers may not realize that many systems currently available offer additional features that allow for greater efficiency when it comes to handling daily tasks such as inventory tracking, data reporting and discount administration.
Douglas Nolan, CEO and co-founder of Fastrax Solutions, emphasizes that retailers should consider the multifaceted role a POS system can play in a pet business when making their purchase decision.
“When selecting a POS system, it’s important to ask yourself where you want to be in the future,” he says. “Make sure to evaluate how the company handles aspects of inventory, ordering, receiving, counting, transferring, cycle counting, breakdowns and sales.”
Based in Rock Hill, N.Y., FasTrax Solutions originally started in the convenience and tobacco industries. The company’s POS system was developed using customer feedback and industry requirements, and offers an easy way to monitor sales and track cashiers’ transactions. It also provides a streamlined method to handle inventory management.
“Merchandise sitting on a retailer’s shelves or backroom not only represents their potential profit, but a very large investment,” says Nolan. “It’s important to have proper inventory management, which starts with scanning the item into the POS.”
Through tracking product movement, retailers can ensure that items are being sold at the correct price and keep tabs on what their big sellers are. Armed with this information, retailers can make choices that prepare their business for continued success.
“Without accurate inventory, merchants will struggle with reordering and reviewing trends of product movement,” Nolan explains. “The ability to quickly review product movement leads to accurate and educated reordering decisions.”
Other POS companies take a similar, inventory-centric approach in designing their products. Lightspeed, a POS company headquartered in Montreal, offers an easy-to-use system with the ability to track inventory in real time across multiple locations. The company has more than 50,000 customers in 100 countries and manages more than $15 billion annually in global transactions. Customers typically see a 20 percent increase in revenue after one year of product use.
Lightspeed’s POS system also stands out by offering special features that allow for greater sales mobility and an increase in overall efficiency. According to Dax Dasilva, Lightspeed’s founder and CEO, the company’s cloud-based system “enables retailers to sell and work from anywhere, at any time, on any device. This allows for mobile POS and on-the-spot transactions.”
With a POS system that allows for transactions on tablets, retailers can serve a greater number of customers more quickly. They can also handle transactions outside the store, such as at a special community event or pop-up shop.
Lightspeed has adapted its product in accordance with other current business trends. As more and more pet retailers begin to pair their brick-and-mortar locations with a strong web presence, POS systems like Lightspeed’s are offering omnichannel capabilities that allow for the seamless integration of both in-store and online sales. The company’s POS system also comes complete with options that specifically keep pet retailers in mind.
“Features such as Lightspeed Analytics allow pet retailers to track information like pet names, breeds, dietary restrictions and preferences so that when a customer returns to their store, they can propose a pet’s favorite treats,” explains Dasilva. “That’s the kind of service that turns shoppers into loyal customers.”
Comp-Ware Systems also understands that the pet industry is unique and that its retailers have special requirements. The Christmas, Fla.-based company offers the DARTS POS system, which is exclusive to the pet and feed industry.
“We are not a jack of all trades,” says Richard Kann, the company’s president and CEO. “We are the only company designed specifically for pet
and feed stores with programmers and support people who have owned pet or feed stores.”
In addition to handling general operations, the company’s POS system offers the tracking of home-delivery (including auto-repeating) orders, food buying programs, customer rewards and vendor prices. It also monitors the sales of specific transactions such as those related to grooming, boarding and the sale of live animals. The system can generate detailed analysis reports that include inventory forecasting based on the time of year.
Comp-Ware recently teamed up with market research company GfK in order to further provide valuable information to retailers. This strategic partnership “allows storeowners to see average pricing and sales of products in their area and nationwide to compare to their prices and MAP pricing,” explains Kann.
In keeping in line with the company’s reputation as a trusted resource to pet retailers, Mark Kann—Richard’s brother and Comp-Ware’s sales manager—gives this advice to business owners looking for a POS system: “Investigate thoroughly. Ask for a detailed demonstration of what a system does specifically for the pet industry. In our case we want you to be confident you’re making the right decision. We don’t want you to buy our system if it’s not the right fit for you.”
He also advises not being afraid to express doubts. By voicing concerns and asking questions, pet retailers can closely examine their POS options and find the best match for their business’ specific needs, paving the way for heightened profitability. PB