I don’t have the answer for which Retail POS Solution you should choose, but I do have some extremely important tips.
1. Do not enter into a long term contract for your payment processor unless you have been in business for at least 3-5 years.
2. Do not choose a POS solution that has limited choices for who will do your credit card processing.
This is a true story. I contacted a specialty retail shoe store that I shop at to discuss their credit card processing. They are using http://www.ricssoftware.com/ which seems like an excellent solution for this merchant store. In fact, it seems like a great solution for any shoe retailer, their target audience. But no where does it mention, that I could find, that the customer has NO CHOICE about who their payment processor is. That’s right, no choice! RICS is only compatible with ONE merchant service provider.
I talked to RICS about who they use. It’s a quality company, but they don’t necessarily provide the best solution for the retailers. In fact, I’d bet that 50-70% of their retailer merchant accounts could save significantly on credit card processing with a different merchant service provider. I’m not guessing. I know that a certain portion of them are too small to realize any significant benefit. Most of the rest of them are on a price plan usually reserved for very small businesses, or new businesses.
New businesses always pay a premium for merchant card processing fees. That’s because they are higher risk than established businesses. The most stringent underwriters, those that you can get the best deals from, require two years healthy financial statements. Once your business is established you are in a better position to get a permanent solution for managing credit card costs. What do I mean by permanent? One that enables the merchant to see how they are qualifying for interchange levels and what interchange levels they are hitting. Without that transparency, you can’t even begin to manage your costs.
In summary, make sure you choose a retail POS solution that is OPEN and doesn’t lock you into a single vendor solution- whether it be hardware, merchant service provider, or some other service. The more flexibility you have, the easier it will be to grow and expand later without disruption to your business.