Whether it's a point of sale or retail management suite, retailers need some sort of system to help them run their business. Some retailers only need a solution that will help manage their daily in-store transactions whereas others need something more complex and robust.
First, let's go over the difference between a point of sale (POS) system and a retail management suite (RMS). A POS system is designed for in-store retailers to manage their daily transactions. POS systems can have add-on features including tipping, commission, gift cards, EMV credit card payments, and more. A retail management suite does all of the same things as a POS but also includes an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that helps manage all the additional assets of a retail business, including inventory, sales, accounting, and other back-end functions.
Retailers also want to beware of POS providers who claim to offer a full retail management suite. While many POS providers are upgrading their software to take care of additional business functions, it often creates more complexity at the store level and does not offer a true RMS. SuitePOS, built for NetSuite is a POS with an ERP system built in to offer a complete retail management suite.
Now that we know what makes a POS different from a retail management suite, it is time to decide which one is right for your business.
The biggest factor of whether your retail business needs a POS or RMS will be the size of your business. Do you run a small "mom and pop" shop or do you have multiple locations? In addition to business size and number of stores, you'll also want to consider your transaction volume when deciding between a POS or RMS.
Smaller businesses with only one or two small shops may only need a point of sale system. That being said, if those one or two shops are located in high-traffic areas, are always busy, or have lines out the door, an RMS could be more beneficial. A retail management suite becomes a necessity when the retailer does not have the time or resources to manage their point of sale separately from the rest of their business functions.
With that, retailers also need to consider the cost of a point of sale versus a retail management system. There are many POS systems out there that are offered for 'free', but include add-on costs for payment processing, accounting or finance services, inventory management costs, and more. While an RMS is typically more costly than a standard POS system, it allows retailers to run their entire business using one platform without add-on costs because everything is included.
It is also important to think ahead when choosing the right solution for your business. Your business may only be a "mom and pop" shop right now, but do you have plans to expand in a few years? Do you expect foot traffic to increase during particular periods of time? While small businesses tend to lean towards a standard POS when first opening shop, it is likely that the retailer will eventually need to buy add-on business management features and then have to upgrade their entire system in a few years time. Think long-term when selecting a solution for your business and it can help save money in the end.
Bottom line: The only person who can decide on the right solution for your retail business is you. To help make this decision, consider your business size and transaction volume, your budget, and where you see your business in five years.