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Chapter 3 of 5

Selling from a store


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Retail guides > Starting a retail business > Selling (how to process sales)

Selling from a store

You won’t be in retail for long unless you’re selling stuff. Learn how to make it easy for customers to buy from you, and see what else a good sales process can do for your business.

What is point of sale?

Your point-of-sale (or POS) system is whatever you use to ring up a sale. In the old days, it was a cash register. These days, it’s more likely to be a mobile device like a tablet.

At the very least, it should allow you to:

point of sale
receipt
card reader
business account books

 

If you also issue invoices, check out our complete guide to invoicing.

Plenty of businesses start out with a cash drawer, sales logbook, and a calculator. There’s nothing wrong with that. In those first months, it’s whatever works. But aim to build a quality POS system before long. It can deliver real benefits for your customers, your business, and you. 

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Why POS matters to customers

The easier it is for a customer to spend money, the better. They want to get served quickly (no queues) and pay conveniently. We asked the POS experts at Vend to give us some pointers.

For a smooth checkout experience, consider:

  • accepting multiple payment types: modern POS systems generally accept cards, but there are other options to consider (more below)
  • issuing paperless receipts: hard-copies are a pain to keep track of and aren’t very green
  • going to them with a mobile checkout (or even offering self-checkout): you can run most modern POS systems through any wifi-enabled device

Accepting multiple payment types

Today’s consumers use more than just cash or cards. There are mobile payments, gift cards, and even alternative payment methods like lay-by and ‘buy now, pay later’. Think about what your customers want. You may lose sales if you’re not providing it. 

For example, high-priced items are more likely to sell if you offer ‘buy now, pay later’, while younger consumers like to make mobile payments.

Fees for accepting payments

Accepting certain types of payments will cost your business money. The companies that process the transactions for you generally take a cut of each sale. It works out to about 2% to 4% for processing cards or automated clearing-house payments.

Don’t forget to enter these charges into your general ledger as a business cost. Preferably assign each one to a specific transaction, so you can calculate the true profit on those sales. Online accounting software can do this for you.

How POS process helps you manage the business

A good point of sale system doesn’t just ring up sales and take payments. It records key details of each sale, such as the date, value, and product/s sold. 

This information allows you to see:

what's selling
what's to reorder
what's profitable
business income

Making POS easier on you

A digital POS system will capture the key data on each sale. It can also copy that information to all the places you need the information – such as your sales report, inventory ordering system, and business accounts. It will save you a ton of back-office work.

Selling is about more than the sale

As you can see, point of sale is not just a way to charge customers. It’s a vital cog in the management of your business, and potentially avoids a big bottleneck for your business – because it can help cut back on a lot of bookkeeping. That’s why it pays to look for automated systems that can both speed up your sales process, and take care of all the admin for you.

Plus you can use a good POS to capture customer details and build a relationship that goes beyond the one-time transaction.

Chapter 4: Selling online

Selling while you sleep is the dream, and that’s just what ecommerce promises to do for you. But does it work? Is it worth trying? And how exactly do you go about selling online?

Read chapter 4

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