Our guide to choosing your first EPoS system

Your first EPoS system - Retail IT

Choosing your first EPoS system can be daunting for a small retailers. Reconciling what you want ideally and what you can afford is harder and you may have had no experience of buying anything like this before.

Having spoken to retailers who wish they had asked certain questions during the process of selecting their first EPoS system, we thought it would be a good idea to share some of them here.


What is the contract minimum term and how does the renewal work?

If you are going down the software as a service route then you will have one contract with a minimum term. If you are buying software and paying for support you may have two or more, so check the minimum term on the support contract.

Renewals are where things can get a bit trickier. One would assume that once the minimum term is up then there would just be a notice period on the contract thereafter, but this is not always the case. Some have automatic 12 month renewals, so unless you cancel you are tied in to another year, which is not very flexible for a small business.

You can request changes to the terms and see how flexible they can be, just be aware and ask the right questions to get the changes you desire.


How do the software upgrades work?

You receive three kinds of upgrades generally speaking. Firstly, bug fixes for when something has gone wrong. You also have incremental upgrades for software versions. Say you have version 8, then as things move along you get on to 8.2, then 8.6, then 8.62 and so on. Finally you have major upgrades, moving from versions 8 to version 9 for example.

Find out what upgrades are included in your contract. All should include the bug fixes as they are only done when the software has an issue. Of the other two kinds some may only include the incremental upgrades meaning you have to pay for the major upgrade when it is needed. If you hold off making the upgrade eventually the provider may make “end of life”. This would leave you having to upgrade should you wish to grow your business.


Is it possible to write our own reports?

Reporting modules work in different ways. While some are easy to use, leaving you able to create reports on a whim, others aren’t so user friendly. The kind to be aware of are those where you need to ask your provider every time you needed a report written. This can be both expensive and time consuming.


What happens when the internet goes down?

With most systems now being based in the “Cloud” (accessed via your internet connection, not installed locally on the till) it is essential that your first EPoS system has a fallback for when the connection dies. If it doesn’t have an offline mode then you can be left without a working till during a busy trading period.


What support do I get?

Make sure what you get is clearly laid out. Some may offer only online support, others full phone based support or a choice of both. Make sure response times are clearly laid out so you know what to expect and if you aren’t sure ask for a reference.

We hope these points have been useful in helping you choose your first EPoS system.

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