A woman using her iPhone to check out at a coffee shop surrounded by icons representing efficiency and integration.

The 11 best POS systems for small businesses in 2023

The best POS system for small businesses is Cin7 Core, as it allows businesses to personalize shopping experiences through customer data and create loyalty programs and rewards tailored for customers — all in an easy-to-use mobile app.

In 2023, your point of sale (POS) system must do more than just process customer transactions. In this competitive landscape of product selling, small businesses set themselves apart by bundling inventory tracking, customer loyalty programs, live support, and more — all in a singular and easy-to-use system.

The best POS systems streamline processes for small businesses and create an easy checkout process for customers. Ninety-one percent of consumers prefer to buy from small businesses, but only when those businesses make the shopping experience convenient. A strong point-of-sale system is a win-win for small businesses and consumers.

But how do you know what POS system is best for you? Well, it requires some research. POS systems are often designed to meet specific industry needs, so looking for specific features in each system before investing in software is important.

In this post, we’ll break down the 11 best POS systems for small businesses, who they’re best for, and some features you should look for when browsing different software.

1. Cin7 Core 

A screenshot showing the Cin7 Core page.

Cin7 Core is the best POS system for small businesses because it integrates point of sale with inventory management, allowing businesses the ability to avoid stock-outs and gain real-time insight into inventory at all retail locations and warehouses.

Designed to work with existing systems like cash registers and receipt printers, Cin7 Core is easy to integrate and leverages automation to streamline processes, such as triggering new production orders as soon as finished goods sell.

Cin7 Core POS is also available through an Apple and Android app, so you can easily grow and manage your business anywhere. Customers can make purchases through the app, which automatically sends sales details to Cin7 Core’s inventory management system for each transaction. With this process automated for you through an app, small businesses can boost ROI without ever missing a beat.

A CTA for Cin7 Core’s POS app for iPhone. A CTA for Cin7 Core’s POS app for Android.

Best for: Small businesses looking to connect inventory management with a point of sale system from anywhere with an easy-to-use app. Cin7 Core connects processes so the inventory lifecycle runs smoothly and uninterrupted.

Key features: 

  • Mobile app for iPhone and Android
  • Automated stock transfers and product replenishment
  • Multi-location stock visibility
  • Customer rewards and loyalty programs

Price: $325/month for Standard plan

Request a demo of Cin7 Core today or start your free trial now.

2. Square POS

Square offers several POS systems tailored specifically for different industries and business needs, such as retail, restaurants, appointments, and scheduling.

Square also has many different hardware options that can streamline processes for brick-and-mortar locations, like registers, terminals, and chip readers for contactless checkout. It also integrates with Inventory Management Software solutions such as Cin7 Core and Cin7 Omni

Best for: Retail

Key features: 

  • Scheduling capabilities
  • Various hardware
  • Built-in payments
  • Payroll management

Price: $29/per month for Plus plan

3. Clover POS

Clover works to integrate POS with other business processes by including many built-in solutions within their tool, like inventory management, employee management, payment processing, and more.

With a customizable system, Clover works to deliver a POS tailored to your business needs, providing you with the right mix of hardware and software you need to grow your company. While it falls short in integrating most inventory tracking features, the tool is a solid choice for product sellers looking to integrate and streamline repetitive processes.

Best for: In-person payments 

Key features: 

  • Customizable tool
  • Various POS hardware
  • Automated invoicing
  • Payment processing

Price: Varies by industry

4. Lightspeed

Like Cin7, Lightspeed approaches POS with integrated inventory management in mind. Lightspeed’s POS system automatically generates data dashboards and reports so you can make more informed decisions about your business and products.

With small business inventory management connected to your POS system, you can see stock across locations and stay on top of cycle counts. While Lightspeed offers some integrations, many come at an additional cost.

Best for: Multi-location retailers

Key features: 

  • Automatically generated data dashboards
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Customizable reports
  • Automated sales tracking for multiple locations

Price: $199/month for Standard plan

5. Toast 

Toast’s POS system is designed specifically for restaurants, and the company offers several different solutions for different restaurant types, such as casual dining, fine dining, takeout, bars, and more.

Toast provides restaurants with the hardware they need to make the checkout process easy for customers. Through self-order kiosks, handheld devices, and other hardware, Toast works to create a seamless checkout process for any restaurant.

Best for: Restaurants and bars

Key features: 

  • Features designed for different restaurant types
  • Variety of hardware
  • Payroll management
  • Online ordering

Price: $69/month for Core plan

6. GoDaddy POS

GoDaddy prides its POS system on low transaction fees, an easy-to-use dashboard for tracking and managing sales, and accepting contactless payments, like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Through the GoDaddy Mobile app, customers can also take advantage of contactless pay for in-person transactions — so you can sell more products on the go. While GoDaddy’s POS lacks the tailored services of some competitors, the low transaction fees and ease of use make it a solid option for smaller product sellers, especially those selling products at popups or events.

Best for: Product sellers looking for low transaction fees

Key features: 

  • Low transaction fees
  • Dual screens on terminals
  • Contactless payments

Price: Varies by hardware 

7. Shopify 

Shopify’s POS system is an especially good option for product sellers who already use the Shopify platform.

Allowing you omnichannel shopping on social media, digital marketplaces, and more, Shopify’s POS makes it especially easy for Shopify customers to expand their businesses and sell more products. By housing many products within the Shopify suite of tools, Shopify simplifies growing a small business.

Best for: Existing Shopify customers

Key features: 

  • Omnichannel shopping
  • Inventory data
  • Staff management
  • Customer management

Price: $89/month for retail plan

Explore Cin7’s Shopify integration 

8. eHopper POS

Geared specifically towards restaurants and small retailers, eHopper’s all-in-one POS system features payment processing, a self-serve kiosk, a loyalty app, and more.

For restaurants, eHopper’s POS allows you floor plan management, online ordering, employee management, and other helpful tools for managing the day-to-day process of your restaurant. Through QR code ordering, eHopper can also help restaurants speed up ordering and payment.

Best for: Casual restaurants

Key features: 

  • Table management
  • Online ordering
  • Stock monitoring
  • Contactless ordering
  • Self-ordering kiosk

Price: $30/month for omnichannel plan

9. TouchBistro

TouchBistro is another POS system designed specifically for restaurants, with POS systems for various restaurant types ranging from coffee shops to breweries, wineries, and more.

With a wide range of features, including menu management, tableside ordering, and more, TouchBistro makes it easy for restaurants to streamline operations. Focused on optimizing the guest experience, TouchBistro can be a beneficial choice for young restaurants looking to build customer loyalty.

Best for: Restaurant guest experience

Key features: 

  • Menu management
  • Tableside ordering
  • Staff management
  • Reporting, and analytics.

Price: $69/month

10. Stripe 

One of the major appeals of Stripe is its emphasis on security, as the software uses machine learning to protect customers from fraud.

Beyond the security features, Stripe’s numerous integrations make for an improved customer experience. With a focus on conversion rate, Stripe is a solid choice for retailers looking for a new POS system to support them in increasing sales.

Best for: Fraud protection

Key features: 

  • Machine learning capabilities to protect against fraud
  • Integrations with global card networks
  • One-click payments

Price: Varies by card and currency

11. Revel Systems 

Revel systems provides companies with whatever hardware they need to ensure a smooth checkout, from kiosks to barcode scanners, iPads, and more.

With various stands and devices, Revel Systems provides in-person businesses with the tools they need to operate successfully. However, it only provides services for in-person checkout, limiting the number of product sellers they can work with.

Best for: Pre-configured hardware

Key features: 

  • Pre-configured hardware packages
  • Hardware stands

Price: $99/month per terminal

How to select a POS system for your small business 

When selecting the best POS system for your small business, it’s essential to look at a variety of factors, so you know you’re choosing the right one for your specific business needs. Here are a few key factors to consider:

A list of elements to consider when buying a POS system with corresponding icons for each.

1. Consider the price 

Your sales volume should heavily dictate the system that you choose, as high monthly fees often correlate with low payment processing fees in most POS systems.

As a result, if your sales numbers are high, you should look for a plan with low processing fees. You should also consider the hardware price you need when budgeting for your POS system.

2. Compare customer support 

POS systems are generally intuitive, but you’ll still want regular support, so you never lose customers.

24/7 support is important so you can always be accessible to your customers. You should also look to have more than one means of support, such as having both live chat online and phone support.

3. Research required hardware 

Your business model will determine what hardware you need with your POS system. Brick-and-mortar stores, for example, can take advantage of comprehensive POS systems but will need some hardware — like terminals or card readers.

If you’re a growing business, consider your need for hardware down the road, and ensure you include it in your budget.

4. Look for industry-specific features 

The features and hardware you need will largely depend on your industry. For example, if you’re a grocer, you’ll need specific hardware like barcode scanners, receipt printers, terminals, and more. You’ll also need support selling highly-regulated items like liquor and tobacco.

POS systems for restaurants also need specific features, like easy online ordering, payroll scheduling, and more.

5. Prioritize your needs

In 2023, POS systems come equipped with a large library of features, but before committing to the most comprehensive software, make sure you’re evaluating your needs.

If you need a wide array of features, opting for the most comprehensive tool will likely give you the most bang for your buck. However, if your business only needs a few features, you can likely opt for less advanced software so you don’t pay for features you don’t need.

What should a POS system include? 

While some features make the most sense for certain industries, a few are relatively universal. A few key features to prioritize in your POS system include:

A checklist of necessary features in POS systems next to a woman operating a terminal in a store.

 

  • Inventory management: Inventory and order tracking is a vital part of any POS system, so make sure you’re choosing a POS system with baked-in inventory performance.


  • Necessary hardware: Without the hardware that your business needs to easily process payments, you won’t be able to maximize the value of your POS system.


  • Sound security features: As you’re dealing with customer payment information, you must take security into account and ask about your POS system’s security features.
  • Customer support: 24/7 support can make a major difference in your POS system, so customers never go without help. Onboarding new businesses onto your POS system can also build loyalty and trust from the start.
  • Robust reporting: The best POS systems for small businesses will generate sales and inventory reports based on your business’s performance, so you can make informed decisions about prioritizing products and growing your company.

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions about selecting the best POS for your small business? Here are a few common questions and answers about selecting a POS system.

How much does a POS cost for a small business? 

A POS system can cost as little as zero dollars and as much as $800 per month, depending on your chosen plan.

You can often get a simple POS plan for free or a more advanced plan for $100-$200 a month. If you opt for a comprehensive inventory management system with built-in POS, you’ll likely pay a bit more, but it may be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for growth-focused businesses.

Explore what connected inventory performance can do for your business. 

How much does the average POS system cost per month? 

On average, a simple POS system will cost between $0 and $200 per month, depending on the number of features and the comprehensiveness of the tool.

While more comprehensive software will cost more, it may be the most cost-effective solution, so you don’t have to invest in different tools for your other inventory needs.

What are the risks of a POS system? 

The biggest risk associated with POS systems is the chance customer information gets hacked. As a result, it’s smart to invest in a tool with very sound security features and also follow best practices for protecting your POS system from hackers.

Is it safe to use a POS system? 

A POS system is safe to use if you invest in strong security and follow a few best practices. When you invest in a POS system, you should always:

  • Update regularly: Ensure your software is up to date.
  • Encrypt transactions: All transaction information should be encrypted, so outsiders can’t access it.
    • Train team members: Confirm team members are aware of common scams on POS systems, like card skimming or chargeback fraud.

Which POS service is the best? 

The best POS systems for a small business will streamline the purchasing process and help you gain and retain customers, but they will also help you grow your business.

When you invest in POS within a larger suite of inventory management features, you can enjoy the benefits of connected inventory performance, inventory management, e-commerce integrations, accounting, reporting, and more — all in the same place.

Cin7 Core gives small businesses the freedom to automate and grow easily, gaining loyal customers along the way.

Start your Cin7 Core trial today and download the Core POS app on Apple or Android

Posted in POS
Two coffee shop employees managing retail inventory on a laptop.

Retail inventory management: 15 best practices for 2024

Retail inventory management refers to the systems and processes used by retailers to ensure stock levels meet customer demand. The goal is to have enough inventory to meet customer demand while optimizing your warehouse for profitability.

Every retailer wishes they could see into the future. Imagine knowing exactly how many items to carry to meet customer demand. Unfortunately, this is impossible without a magic crystal ball. The good news is that every retailer shares the same concern. The answer to this problem is retail inventory management. This is different from inventory management, which covers the entire supply chain.

The retail inventory management process has two main concerns: Retailers need enough stock to meet demand, and they must manage the stock efficiently. Basically, you don’t want too much or too little inventory. Depending on the size of the retail business, there can be multiple retail and warehouse locations to consider.

No matter what you sell, retail inventory management is the key to profitability and customer satisfaction. Research shows that sales can grow by an average of 6% when companies correct their retail inventory errors. The same study revealed that 60% of inventory records are inaccurate. Businesses can make improvements by following best practices, so let’s explore the best practices for retail inventory management.

An illustration with the definition of retail inventory management.

What is retail inventory management?

Retail inventory management refers to the systems and processes used by retailers to ensure stock levels meet customer demand without wasting storage space. The goal is to have just enough inventory to satisfy customers while optimizing storage and ordering for profitability. Many businesses use inventory management software to stay efficient and competitive.

Retail management is more than just inventory management but inventory plays a huge role for obvious reasons. Businesses can’t survive without the inventory available for customers to buy. Modern businesses can manage inventory for multiple locations, including online stores, and proper retail inventory management is key to customer satisfaction.

Types of retail inventory

Retail inventory accounts for more than the finished goods a business sells, it also includes items for on-site repair and maintenance services. Knowing what types of inventory you have is an important part of the management process.

There are many types of retail inventory, such as:

  • Raw materials
  • Unfinished (work in progress)
  • Finished
  • MRO (maintenance, repair and operations)
  • Packing
  • Excess
  • Safety stock

Many retailers can have in-house manufacturing, especially small businesses. Woodworkers, jewelers, and microbreweries often have multiple types of in-store retail inventory.

For example, a craft beer company can store raw materials (hops and barley), work in progress (fermenting beer), finished goods (bottled products), packing materials (bottles, cans, boxes), and more. The Winery use inventory management to leverage retail data and streamline operations.

Retail inventory management best practices

The complexity of retail inventory management increases with scale. Establishing best practices early will set you up for success, whether your business is big or small. Consider how each best practice below can apply to your organization.

1. Evaluate your systems

Evaluate your retail inventory management system at a macro level before diving into specific issues. A total system audit can provide up-to-date information on your inventory, vendors, and more. You can use this data to update your current retail inventory management system or populate a new system.

A thorough system evaluation can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your current retail inventory management processes. It’s helpful to know where you struggle the most so you can choose the best system for your needs. For example, a business struggling to meet seasonal demand might want a platform with advanced reporting analytics.

2. Set goals

Establishing KPIs is important for tracking performance, monitoring issues, and meeting important business goals. KPIs help businesses communicate with stakeholders, set quarterly goals, and keep themselves accountable. KPIs should be S.M.A.R.T., which means they represent business goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Establish S.M.A.R.T. retail inventory management KPIs, like:

  • Supplier lead time
  • Supplier defect rate
  • Holding costs
  • Inventory shrinkage rate
  • Stockout rate
  • Demand forecast accuracy

3. Analyze your sales

Hindsight is 20/20. This is especially true for retail inventory management, but only if you keep accurate data. You can learn a lot by analyzing past sales and spotting trends, and demand forecasting will help your business make informed inventory management decisions.

Look for trends in:

  • Seasonal demand
  • Customer favorites
  • Unpopular items

Sales data can be useful for strategic planning and pricing. For example, strategically timed in-store offers can help clear out valuable storage space when demand dwindles for seasonal items. With sales analysis, you can pinpoint the most optimal time to do this.

4. Be proactive with forecasting

You wouldn’t plan a picnic without checking the weather. And you shouldn’t order inventory without forecasting demand. Proactive forecasting is about looking ahead so you can make smart inventory decisions. This way, you can order the ideal inventory to keep customers happy while maximizing storage space.

Just like forecasting the weather, you want reliable data. Spreadsheets and file folders aren’t enough to stay competitive in the modern business landscape. Choose a platform with advanced reporting capabilities to put your data to work and make better decisions.

5. Prioritize the customer

The customer is always right. By keeping your customers top of mind, you can feel confident that you are making the right business decisions. Maximizing profits is important but should never detract from the customer experience. Customers are delighted when they can buy what they want but will never be impressed by your optimal storage space.

Retail inventory management can ensure customers always get what they want, even if you don’t have it in store. Outlets with multiple locations can pull available stock from other stores. Dropshippers can use vendor information stored within their inventory management system to ship items directly to customers.

A list of retail inventory management best practices.

6. Document your products

Thoroughly documenting your inventory and vendor details is the first step in retail inventory management. But don’t set it, and forget it. Up-to-date documentation is a key part of accurate forecasting.

Your retail inventory documentation should include details such as:

  • Product name
  • Product code
  • Retail price and cost
  • Wholesale price
  • Vendor information
  • Minimum stock amount
  • Reorder level
  • Supply days or estimated time of delivery

Log your products with as much detail as possible. Even photos can help sales staff impress customers and move inventory. Consider every department’s needs and create processes for updating inventory details. You can share this up-to-date information across systems for order fulfillment, point of sale, and more.

7. Build strong relationships with suppliers

No system is perfect, and errors happen. Strong supplier relationships make addressing things like delayed orders, missing or damaged items, stock outages, or missing payments easy.

Communication is key to a solid relationship. Suppliers appreciate when you update them, and a positive relationship can improve communication and create trust. A relationship built on trust will help you negotiate prices with suppliers. Retailers need suppliers, so consider these relationships as part of your retail inventory management process.

8. Choose your inventory technique 

Choose the inventory technique that best suits your business. It’s important to consider things like the stability of your cash flow, cost fluctuations, and your business’s location.

Examples of popular inventory management techniques include:

  • ABC Analysis categorizes inventory by its level of importance. A is the most important, followed by B, and then C.
  • 80/20 states that 20% of your inventory drives 80% of your profits. This method helps businesses prioritize inventory in relation to profitability.
  • FSN classifies inventory as fast-moving, slow-moving, or non-moving. This can be useful for planning orders and organizing storage.
  • XYZ categorizes inventory by demand variability. X items have the most consistent variability and are therefore easy to forecast.

9. Create a functional warehouse layout

Functional warehouse layouts allow clear visibility, smooth transfer of goods, and easy access to inventory and equipment. This helps make order fulfillment fast and easy.

Some examples of warehouse layout designs include:

  • U-shaped
  • I-shaped
  • L-shaped

Read up on warehouse layout best practices to make the most of your space. A well-organized warehouse helps improve retail inventory management. Functional warehouses let employees focus on important things like receiving inventory and updating tracking information.

10. Be strategic when storing inventory 

Warehouses can improve functionality when you store goods logically based on their type or category. Clear categorization can help you store important goods for easy picking, while you may store less important goods in harder-to-reach areas.

Best practices for storing inventory:

  • Make popular items easy to access
  • Keep heavy items close to the floor
  • Track storage with inventory management software
  • Categorize inventory for optimal storage and retrieval

Storing inventory with no strategy can chew up profits because it slows down everything. Items become hard to retrieve or, even worse, impossible to find without a thorough audit. You want a system that ensures all products are retrievable and in good condition.

11. Eliminate deadstock

Deadstock should be eliminated immediately. Holding inventory costs (also known as inventory carrying costs) typically equal 15%–30% of the inventory’s total value. It can feel like a loss to sell deadstock at a low price, but there is little benefit to inventory that takes up valuable storage space.

You can get rid of deadstock in a few ways:

  • Put deadstock items on sale
  • Bundle deadstock with popular items
  • Check with suppliers about returns
  • Do a free giveaway
  • Donate deadstock
Why is inventory management important in retail

12. Plan ahead for surplus stock

Surplus stock is a necessary part of giving customers a great experience. Better to have too much stock than too little. And to avoid deadstock, planning for surplus stock is important.

Seasonal forecasting can give you a clear picture of demand, including when it begins to slow down. Account for these times and get creative about moving your surplus stock.

Think of strategic ways to move stock and keep customers excited:

  • Promote a big sale ahead of time
  • Create fun in-store displays of surplus stock
  • Encourage sales to move surplus stock with KPIs and rewards
  • Promote specific surplus items on social media

13. Track moving inventory 

Tracking in-transit inventory supports accurate forecasting and budgeting. Understanding the length of time between ordering and receiving inventory is important. The more data you have, the better your ability to plan.

Tracking moving inventory is also important for relationship management. Suppliers and retailers both share concerns over inventory transportation. Customers will also appreciate knowing where an item is and when to expect it. Inventory tracking this way can put customers at ease and stop them from going to another retailer.

14. Schedule regular inventory audits

For best results, you should audit inventory once every quarter. This need can vary depending on your industry and how fast stock moves. Every business should perform a thorough inventory audit at least once a year for accurate data as part of their retail management process.

When you properly account for inventory, you can optimize storage and increase profit opportunities. Inventory audits also reveal damaged, out of date, and recalled goods. Remove these items because you can’t sell them. You can account for deadstock and subsequently put it on sale to create more storage space for on-demand items.

15. Automate retail inventory management with software

Automation can improve accuracy, streamline processes, and provide actionable data for your business. Automated retail inventory management software can help you handle production and management with automated dashboards, reports, and reminders. Integration abilities can even sync inventory data across all your stores and devices.

Almost 46% of small and medium-sized businesses track their inventory manually or don’t track it at all. Retail inventory management software can save you lots of time but also help you make smart, data-driven business decisions.

Retailers, wholesalers, and online sellers use products like Cin7 Core for:

  • Inventory management
  • Point of sale
  • B2B Portal
  • Commerce integration
  • Accounting efficiency
  • Robust reporting

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Alongside best practices, we want to answer some frequently asked questions about retail inventory management.

How do you keep inventory in retail?

You can monitor inventory levels in retail stores with a system called retail inventory management. Inventory gets counted when it arrives at the store and when customers buy it.

Businesses also need to perform inventory audits regularly to ensure their counts are accurate. Audits will account for inventory that is missing, damaged, or recalled.

What is the retail inventory method?

Accountants use the retail inventory method to estimate the value of a business’s current inventory over a specific period. The process is simple, but the results are only an estimate. Businesses use this method to avoid a costly manual process.

What are the benefits of retail inventory management?

The main benefits of retail inventory management are:

  • A clear view of inventory levels
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased profits
  • Reduced deadstock
  • Improved use of storage space
  • Powerful data for business insights

What tools to use for retail inventory management?

Retail inventory management software provides tools for:

  • Retail inventory management
  • Point of sale (POS)
  • B2B e-commerce
  • Warehouse management
  • Reporting and forecasting
  • Third-party logistics (3PL)
  • Direct Electronic Data Interchange (Direct EDI)

What is the best retail inventory management software?

The best retail inventory management software can scale alongside your business as it grows. Switching platforms can be time-consuming and create room for error, so you’ll want to consider where your business will be in the future.

Your software should also provide features that help your business grow. Choose a solution that supports your ability to streamline operations, increase sales, lower operating costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

If you are a small or medium-sized business that wants to increase sales and be more efficient, book a demo of Cin7 today. Let us help you reach your business goals quicker and easier.

A quick and easy guide to good retail management

When shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for in a store, they leave happy. And when they leave happy, the store management is happy because the chances are those customers will come back again, or better yet, give a good recommendation to one of their friends.

It takes a lot of work and planning to get to this point, of course. The store has to have the right look and be open and inviting, and merchandise has to be displayed appealingly. The inventory also has to be managed well. This means having enough of an item in stock to be able to replace it quickly in the store when it’s sold – because it looks better if everything is well-stocked – and having enough of it in storage to be able to do this. This means ordering more, knowing when to do this, and doing it early enough to cover lead times – the length of time it’ll take a supplier to turn purchase orders around. The umbrella term for all these activities is retail management. In this blog, we’re going to break down the areas that make up retail management and look at them in detail.

Understanding the importance of retail management

The word retailer comes from the Old French retaillour or retailleor, and it translates as someone who sells items in small quantities. This interpretation pretty much stands today: store owners stock goods in limited amounts, and their customers usually buy items in ones and twos.

You may be wondering why we’re going into etymology. Well, it’s to give an understanding of the scope of the businesses we’re talking about. And when you get your mind around that, we can delve into the challenges and decisions that are specific to retail stores.

The central challenge of a retailer is to give their customers a good experience, to let them know they’re welcome, understood, and appreciated. It’s how you get them to come back. This experience runs from creating a look that reflects the interests of the shoppers to streamlining the checkout. For instance, a book store will have subtle color tones, be crammed with books, have quiet areas to check out reading material, and could be playing easy-listening classical music in the background. A shop selling clothing to young people, on the other hand, mayl use bright colors to decorate their interior, should have the right mood lighting, and may be playing Top-Ten music hits very loudly.

Differences aside, there are aspects that all retail establishments have in common. First among these is internal organization. When a customer walks into a store, they should very quickly be able to work out where everything is. In our bookstore example, the works will be categorized by genre, each one having its own section; and within that each book will be placed on a shelf alphabetically. In the clothing store, it’s garment type – jeans will be on one rack, coats on another – and to make everything even easier to find, each rack will have its clothing grouped by size.

The second thing all stores have in common is salespeople. There’s an art in choosing the right sales people, but more on that later.

The third characteristic shared by retail is the checkout. paying. Nowadays, there are several options for this: cash, card, or online via an app on a cell. It should be a smooth, simple process.

Taken together, all these facets add up to what’s called retail management, and when it’s done well, it’s good retail management.

The process of retail management

If you own or manage a retail store, you’re responsible for everything that goes into the running of it, from getting the right inventory to giving customers a good experience to handling employees. We’re going to break your job description down into its component areas and take a close look at each one.

#1 Planning

Like any endeavor, the first step in any retail enterprise is to plan it out. This covers everything from interior design and layout to choosing what goods to get from suppliers.

We’ve already covered design, so let’s get down to layout. As described in our examples, depending on the kind of items you’re selling, a potential customer has to feel comfortable in your space. If you’re selling tech, that means spacing out your devices and lighting them brightly to invite those entering your store to “play” with each one; if you have a thrift shop, you’ll want your items to be thrown together in batches to appeal to your customers’ bargain-hunting instincts. It’s all part of driving foot traffic to your establishment.

Irrespective of the kind of items you’re selling, you have to give careful consideration to where you place your checkout. You’ll want your shoppers to be able to see it easily, but you won’t want it to block the free flow of customers. For these reasons, it’s probably not a good idea to place it near the entrance. Similarly, if you run a clothing store, you shouldn’t put it near the changing rooms – that would not only block access, it could look like a brazen grab for a sale and put customers off.

Keeping the interior of the store clean and tidy is also important. It’s part of making your walk-ins feel they’re welcome.

Another major consideration when working out layout is shoplifting. Arranging items so that your employees can see as many of the areas as possible is a good way of preventing this. If shoplifting becomes a serious problem, however, surveillance cameras should be installed.

#2  Choosing suppliers

When you’ve worked out your layout, you need to get your products in. You’ll probably know what kind of store you’re opening when you sign a lease for the space, so buying comes down to finding suppliers and setting up accounts with them. Then it’s a matter of working out your markups, guesstimating returns, and researching your competition. Purchasing inventory is such a crucial part of store management.

When you’re looking around for suppliers, you should be checking out the following:

  • Their selling price – best to go with someone who offers the lowest price,
  • Whether they can deliver to your store,
  • Length of time it will take them to deliver items to you – their lead time – this has to be taken into account when reordering,
  • Their after-sales service,
  • Their return policy,
  • Terms of their invoices – specifically length of time they give you to pay, and
  • How much credit they’ll give you.

It’s a good idea to find several suppliers to work with. This way, if one doesn’t have what you want or can’t deliver, you have a fallback.

Then it’s a matter of working out your markups, guesstimating returns, and researching your competition.

#3 Receiving, storing, and displaying

First thing when a shipment comes in from a supplier is to check the goods against your purchase order and their invoice to make sure you’ve received everything you’re being charged for, and you should inspect each item for quality. If anything is damaged or incorrect, you send it back.

Next comes storage. If you have a small shop, this could be a back room; but if your business is larger, say something like a box store, you’re going to need a bigger space, a much bigger space, something that’s more like a warehouse.

When it comes to displaying items in your store, several matters should be taken into account. Things that are more likely to catch a customer’s eye should be right up front, near the entrance.If some of the things you sell are heavy, they should be on shelves that are near the floor, not on high levels; items that are similar should be grouped together; and small items that could be last-minute purchases, like socks or small packets of candy, should be next to the checkout.

The placement of any discounts you’re running is also important when trying to encourage sales.  These should always be clearly labeled, preferable on their area of the shelving as well as individually on the product. Essentially, you’re building goodwill with your customers, and if an item they pick up—thinking it’s discounted—turns out not to be, they’re going to be upset. For some types of things, like clothing, however, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated area for all discounted items.

Of course, as a retailer selling in ones and twos, you’re probably going to be stocking a lot of different items in different colors and sizes. This makes keeping track of everything  a challenge. Technology can come to the rescue here, technology like Cin7’s inventory management software. Cin7 tracks inventory in real-time, letting you know exactly what you have and how much of it you hold. It can also automate your purchase orders, registering when your stock is low enough to warrant reorder and taking care of it. 

#4 Hiring and managing employees

This is important because a salesperson can make or break your retail business. Number one when checking out prospective hires is that they should like people. They have to have bright personalities and show a degree of patience. In short, they should enjoy interacting with customers, be happy to help them find what they want and be willing and able to answer any questions. Plus, they should be able to calmly listen to complaints and be willing to resolve issues. It also helps if they have knowledge of your business category. Thus, if you have a hardware store, you’ll want salespeople who know a lot about home improvement; if you have a beauty store, you’ll want salespeople who love and are up-to-date on things like make-up trends.

Your sales staff should also be adept at using your checkout, otherwise known as your point of sale system. Depending on the size of your store, you may have an employee dedicated to taking customer payments, so it’s important they be well-versed in whatever system you use.

And for you as a retail manager, once you’ve selected the right people to work for you, it’s your responsibility to keep a subtle eye on them to make sure they’re not taking advantage, and to resolve conflicts and grievances they may have. If your staff is content in the workplace, it’s reflected in the way your business performs.

#5 Service and sales

As indicated in the section directly above, your sales staff should be able to give your customers a gentle nudge when they’re undecided about whether to buy or not. That, essentially, is what a good sales person is defined by.

To make your customer experience complete, a smooth checkout is the cherry on the cake. While a point of sale (POS) can be defined as an old-time cash register, today much more sophisticated, online-based systems are the norm. In addition to adding up the cost of items, if several are purchased, these modern-day systems can scan barcodes and process different payment types, from cash to credit cards and cell-phone apps. They can also store your customer’s information – useful if there are returns or you want to send them marketing materials – and keep track of your inventory.

Cin7’s POS can do all this and more.

 

Optimize your retail operations with Cin7

To sum up, when a retail store is run well, customers have a good experience and walk out happy with the item they want, and your staff are content and put in that extra effort for you.

Then there’s control of your inventory, getting the right stock in and ensuring you have enough of it at all times to satisfy demand. That’s where Cin7 can be helpful. Cin7’s cloud-based software gives you a bird’s eye view of all your inventory, and can produce data to keep you on top of what items are selling best. Cin7 can also create loyalty programs and, as discussed, streamline your checkout.

If you want to learn more about Cin7 and how it can bring improvements to your retail business,  call one of our experts today and book a demo.

Retailers prefer inventory management software that they can customize — here’s why

According to Statista, global retail sales totalled approximately $23.74 trillion USD in 2020 and are projected to reach $31.7 trillion USD by 2025. That’s a lot of buying and selling of goods, but more importantly, it represents a lot of inventory, a massive amount of inventory. All that inventory has to be managed, and the best way to do this is by using software that’s designed for the job. If you’re a retailer looking to upgrade your system, you should take a look at Cin7. There are many reasons to consider Cin7, but one of the most important is its flexibility — its ability to be adapted to fit your company’s needs while operating within your digital network.

 

What is retail inventory management?

Inventory management entails determining the quantity of goods or materials a company needs to have on hand to satisfy customer demand. For retail businesses, this is a more complicated process than it is for manufacturing ones. Which is why the software that retailers choose for managing their inventory needs to be able to perform at a high level. In other words, the software has to have the ability to be configured so that it can perform increasingly complex operations. Let’s take a look at the main ways retailers can benefit from inventory management software that has advanced configuration options.

The ability to customize the number of staff who can use the system

Inventory management software usually puts limits on the number of staff who can access the system. This is fine for smaller retailers, but for larger ones that may have multiple outlets, flexibility is key. Cin7 offers a Small Business Plan that gives access to two users, and an Advanced Plan that allows up to eight. But our software can increase that number to whatever your company needs. We call this our Enterprise Plan.

Keeping oversight on stock when using 3PL and being able to handle multiple EDI systems

Third-party logistics (3PL) basically means outsourcing. It’s when a retailer hires another company – a third party – to take care of its fulfillment. The business arrangement may even extend to warehousing. 3PL is especially useful for retailers that sell on multiple online and offline channels. Since manually tracking your inventory on numerous 3PL platforms and outlets is an enormous challenge, it’s important to have software that can do the job. Cin7 has a specific 3PL management feature that helps you administer your inventory stored in any third-party locations from your device. It not only helps you in optimizing your inventory but also speeds up the administrative tasks.

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the process by which information stored in a computer system is electronically transferred to another computer system. EDI converts the information into a standardized format that can be read by different computer systems.

With the help of EDI, organizations can talk to each other over a standardized set of communication protocols. This helps avoid any inaccuracies that may arise while communicating via non-standardized formats.

Integrated warehouse management

Warehousing is one of the most complicated parts of a retail business. Sometimes a business handles products that need to be stored in different conditions within one space; other times the quantity of goods and size of the business calls for several of these holding areas, which could be in completely different locations. For instance, when a grocery store organizes its warehousing, the food has to be kept at specific temperature and humidity levels. Cin7’s inventory management system can organize all of that. For businesses that have multiple storage locations to oversee, Cin7 can be configured to keep track of the inventory in each one, giving you complete oversight.

Dedicated support and implementation

Cin7’s inventory management system and its Advanced Configuration Plan come with full support. We offer strong customer service to answer any questions you have and resolve any software issues you encounter. This kind of care can be the difference between having your inventory management system run OK and having it run really well.

Customer satisfaction

The main aim of an ecommerce retailer is to provide quality goods on time. If either of these things don’t happen, the business is likely to get a bad reputation and could lose its customers. A reliable inventory management system can prevent this from happening. It will make sure your items are delivered when promised, and it will prevent any out-of-date items from being sent out in the first place. With customer reviews being a mainstay of online sales, having a software system that can organize your business processes to ensure happy customers will not only keep them coming back to you, it will attract new ones.

 

Final note

Cin7’s advanced configuration for its inventory management system can be of great benefit to any business owner, but it is especially helpful for retailers. Its compartmentalized framework of features, which allows you to select only those you need, and the ability to have these features work together and within your computer network, can increase your profits and improve your customer satisfaction.  If you want to know more about Cin7’s Advanced Configuration Plan, call one of our experts today and request a consultation.

5 things to look for in a retail point-of-sale (POS) system

Customers expect to make purchases quickly and easily. An efficient point-of-sale (POS) system lets you provide multiple options to your customers to make their shopping experience seamless.

What makes a good POS system?

#1 Wide choice of payment options

From credit and debit cards to buy now, pay later (BNPL), as well as wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, there are many easy payment options for customers today.

Your POS system should provide a range of payment options so customers can conveniently pay in the manner that best suits them. The benefit for you is that if you give customers the freedom to pay by the method of their choosing, they tend to shop more frequently and buy more.

 

#2 Omnichannel integration and management

Customers interact with your products through multiple channels, such as websites, social media, and mobile apps. A POS system that integrates these channels and provides omnichannel support creates a unified experience for the customer. Providing omnichannel support means you can handle orders coming from multiple channels, devices and platforms.

 

#3 Mobility

If the customer doesn’t come to you, go to the customer. Mobility is one of the most important features of a POS system, as it enables you to take payments on-the-go.

The best example of a mobile POS can be seen at some restaurants today that have quick response (QR) codes right at the table. Customers can view the menu, order food and even pay the bill by simply scanning the code with their smartphone. It provides a quick and easy experience for customers, as they don’t have to wait in line to pay the bill.

All of this is possible if your POS system is capable of handling mobility.

 

#4 Third-party software integrations

Third-party integrations give you access to a wide range of services from within your POS system. If your POS system offers integrations with all the major third-party software, you can easily share data across all the platforms and don’t have to go through the hassles of manual updates.

Services such as customer relationship management (CMR) and a human resource management system (HRMS), when integrated into your POS system, become an incredibly powerful tool. They can manage customer experience data, run loyalty programs and even monitor individual personnel performance from the POS system.

 

#5 Promotions and discounts

Nothing hypes a product like a steep discount. Customers absolutely love a deal, and running promotions is a sure way to sell more products.

As you set out to create appealing offers for your loyal customers, your POS system should help you by telling you which product is selling less, so you can create a promotion.

A POS system should also let you create a variety of promotions on the desired item(s) by creating bundles. When you create a bundle (such as a “Buy Two, Get One” offer on socks), the POS system should be able to sell it seamlessly.

Sales will be reflected in the inventory count immediately and help you keep track of how your promotion is faring.

Cin7 POS for your retail business

If you’re looking for a robust POS system for your business, look no further than Cin7. Our solution has all the POS functionalities required to streamline product sales. Additionally,  Cin7’s POS system automatically updates inventory levels in real time.

Cin7’s POS is designed for omnichannel sales. It allows you to transfer orders to other locations as well as ship directly from the store.

Book a demo with Cin7 to learn how we can help you deliver a stellar retail experience.

Posted in POS