Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing POS or looking to upgrade from a cash register, there are many factors to consider before your purchase. To stay competitive against the big box gas stations in Canada, the POS you choose must be able to handle all your transactions seamlessly. Another driving factor for your choice should be the ease of transition as well as the ease of use for your employees. This will cut down on processing time of sales and increase the number of customers you can help at a time.
Complex systems can confuse employees and create a variety of issues such as costly transaction errors, slow throughput, and extended training times. These are easily avoided with the simple, easy to use, and intuitive interface of a good POS as well as support from the supplier of your POS.
Pump control & checkout lane combo
The POS set-up in a gas station has to be able to integrate with pumps and other devices. While you look for the best point of sale for your business, look for those that can manage and control your pumps directly from the POS. This is crucial for service stations that do not have a pay at the pump structure. The alternative to this is a fuel console in addition to a cash register set up. Combining the two into one simple, easy to use interface is a huge benefit of an appropriate POS for your business. It means fewer things to maintain and it means your employees don’t have as much room for error in inputting transactions between systems. Your in-store transactions will also be far easier to deal with and you’ll have all the records you need in one device.
Using a POS with integrated pump control will also reduce the average customer wait time and create a good rapport with your customers.
Management tools and reporting
Efficient use of time is a problem we all deal with, and it’s something small businesses struggle with most often. Management and reporting are very time consuming processes without the assistance of a good system. POS systems tend to be looked at only in the scope of their ability to process transactions. However, it is important to note that a good POS system will integrate your management tools just as well as your in-store sales requirements. Things like inventory, purchasing, the price book, employee performance, end of shift and day reports, and employee access levels on your POS are defining characteristics that you should look for in the software you purchase. These capabilities must be met in order to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your business.
Having a back-office set up linked with your gas POS makes it easy to generate reports and handle all your management needs. This frees up time to work on other aspects of your business and uses time more efficiently than the manual alternative. It has to be easy to use and understand so you can get the most out of whatever system you install. Getting bogged down with paperwork and management responsibilities is a thing of the past with technology capable of doing those in half the time.
Payment options and compliance
You must also look for something that supports different transaction methods. Cash is no longer king in the majority of Canada. Debit purchases surpassed cash by over 1.5 billion transactions in 2019 alone. Consumers are trending toward the use of contactless payment and mobile wallets. Whatever POS you choose should be compliant with PCI and EMV to ensure the safety of you and your customers. Keeping up with this change in consumer behaviour is critical in maintaining a successful business. Consumers want to use their preferred method of payment and they aren’t willing to compromise on it.
Charge account integration is also a huge factor to consider with the POS you choose for your gas station. Corporate and fleet clients can be a large revenue stream so it’s very important to provide options for these clients. Being able to easily find records and charge accounts will help you keep track of them and let your employees use them appropriately. The right POS will mean cutting down on the time you spend reconciling these accounts. It will do most of the work for you.
Support from the POS provider
Last but definitely not least is choosing a POS that gives you peace of mind. Technology will always need maintenance and upgrades as time goes on so it’s crucial to work with a gas station POS provider that has great customer service. Downtime caused by upgrades or malfunctions can cost thousands and effectively leave your customers dissatisfied. Not being able to operate properly has affected approximately 72% of retailers due to lost sales. That isn’t even factoring the blow to your business’ brand and reputation. Because the gas industry is heavily reliant on ‘rushes’ of customers, downtime at an inappropriate time can be disastrous.
Making sure you have a support system to get you back up and running in the shortest time is essential. You should look for reliable companies that offer 24/7 support for their products. Things break, but having that extra layer of support when you need it makes a huge difference.
Choosing a good point of sale system is a crucial part of helping your business succeed. You need to factor your currents needs and those you expect to have in the future to make the right choice. Before purchasing any system, do some research into your alternatives. Try to find the one that will last you a long time rather than fix your problem immediately but not satisfactorily.