A POS system on the counter with shelves in the background.

How To Pick The Right POS System for Your Grocery Store

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A point of sale system that fits your grocery store niche

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in America, and along with this comes a competitive spirit as well. One such industry that is highly competitive is the grocery store industry, and a prime way of being a frontrunner in the grocery business is using the right point of sale (POS) system.

As a small business owner, have you considered what kind of POS software you need to stay competitive? The options are numerous, and it's easy to become overwhelmed at making a choice. So, let’s take a look at how to go about finding the perfect system for your grocery store.

The POS system you decide upon needs to fit the way you do business. It’s important to take the necessary time to do your research so you can make the best informed decision. A number of different POS features are needed for grocery stores to maintain their competitive edge. Let’s look at some now.

Tracking inventory

One of the most frustrating things for grocery store customers is to find out a favorite product of theirs is out of stock. Top-tier grocery store POS systems are able to keep your inventory numbers accurately and up-to-date, thereby reducing the risk that your customers will not only be disappointed, but possibly choose to shop at another store.

To stay competitive, inventory tracking should also help you see what products are the most popular. Knowledge of this helps you stay ahead of the competition and sell products you know your customers buy regularly. Along those lines, you'll want software that identifies the best suppliers available in your area who can deliver the products quickly and at the best price.

You'll have the ability to not only track inventory, but also create detailed and informative reports that you and your employees can all view through one digital system. Inventory reporting is essential since you're seeing what your customers buy the most, what items are the least purchased, and what you need to resupply and how often. The right POS will have real-time reporting so you can be assured that your grocery store avoids any delays.

Simplified accounting

You’ll want a POS system that allows for a more streamlined way to do your financial books and robust back office reporting so everyone at your small business is on the same page, while also avoiding confusion or duplicate work.

In addition, you’ll want a POS system with the ability to simplify your tax reporting that is both accurate and up-to-date on federal, state, and local tax laws. A system that helps you simplify the tax process alone is well worth the investment as you can remove the pressure from your back office on getting everything done on time and eliminating potential mistakes.

Unique checkout process experience

Perhaps part of your branding niche is to create unique checkout and ecommerce experiences that keep customers returning. Creating a memorable customer experience is what brings people back to businesses, including grocery stores. Sometimes it’s not so much about competitive prices as it is about the experience.

A POS system that improves customer engagement

Improving customer engagement is possible using the right POS technology. Here are some ways a POS system can help with improving customer engagement:

  • Gift cards

One good way to improve customer engagement is to find a system that allows you to use gift cards. Doing this allows your customers to use those cards on their favorite grocery products.

  • Loyalty rewards programs

Another great way to improve customer engagement is to give your customers reward points; and using the right POS technology can make this process seamless. Your staff can keep track of those loyalty points directly through the POS software using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program.

  • Fuel points

Fuel points help you save on fuel every time you shop. Depending on the grocery store, fuel savings begins to add up once a purchase threshold is met. Why not save money on fuel when you shop there anyway? Well, the right POS system can help you and your customers track this information.

  • E-coupons

E-coupons offer a convenient way to save money at the grocery store. The electronic coupons load directly onto your grocery store loyalty card, so there are no paper coupons to lose or forget. When you purchase the items and scan your store card, the eCoupon amount is automatically deducted from your total grocery charge.

  • Email marketing

Email marketing is also an effective way to engage with your customers. Reaching out to customers through email is one of the most effective things you can do as a small business. So, it would be wise to find a system with the capability to do customizable marketing emails for you.

Payment methods your grocery store customers prefer

Every customer prefers a specific way to pay. Those who prefer to pay with debit cards, for instance, may not have the capability to do so if your current POS system doesn't allow for it. The same goes for if someone wants to pay using digital wallets, including credit cards. Not everyone uses the same type of payment method, so seek out a POS system that allows your customers to pay using any type of payment method. Some methods your POS software should have include the following:

  • Any type of card

Debit cards, credit cards, and EMV chip cards should all be accepted when customers pay for their groceries, whether through a normal checkout line or self-checkout. Let customers have the ability to just swipe their card on a touchscreen and have their payments go through in an instant.

  • Digital wallet payments

More and more people are starting to use smart wallet payments. These include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, to name a few.

Not everyone wants to use older payment methods, like cash. They want the convenience of multiple choices of payment methods. Thanks to top POS systems, it's as simple as a swipe and go payment method.

  • Automated clearing house payments

Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are the ability for a customer to pay directly out of their bank account. Many people like to use this feature because it doesn’t involve credit cards and they don’t have to carry around cash.

You'll attract a new demographic of customers and bring more customer loyalty by allowing ACH payments. Most modern grocery POS software systems already have this feature.

  • The gift card system

You saw above how gift cards work. Imagine how you could improve customer engagement by finding a POS system that allows everyone to pay through gift cards.

Not only can customers redeem cards in your store, but they can also activate and reload them through your POS software at the cash register.

  • SNAP/EBT & WIC

With more customers using SNAP and WIC benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an effective grocery POS system will help attract these customers to your store.

Employee management

Maybe your current POS system is not functional enough to help you calculate overtime pay for your employees. Or, perhaps your grocery store is a small franchise with multiple locations and hundreds of employees.

Keeping track of everything required to run your small business is practically impossible and definitely more arduous with an outdated POS system. Find one that enables you to seamlessly calculate employee hours, including overtime, who’s working what shifts, and other employee management features.

Reliable security

POS systems are complex tools that connect to the cloud and across the internet. As such, you need to have a system with the ability to keep personal information safe and secure.

After all, employee information and customer data is stored in these systems, and any breach of this information could result in significant compliance violations and fines.

The best POS systems offer the most advanced credit card security in the industry and allow for safe transactions without the fear of data breach issues. The security system should have encryption methods to prevent someone from infiltrating credit card, debit card, or bank account numbers.

Make sure your system provides the most advanced security system possible and covers all bases. You'll want something that secures standalone payment devices, mobile devices, PIN pads, and wireless devices.

Look for these three security technologies:

  • EMV technology

To properly authenticate each card a customer is using to pay, you'll want EMV technology. It once stood for Europay/Mastercard/Visa, but now it's just a generic acronym to represent a technical standard for smart card payments, or EBT.

Any POS system not utilizing EMV technology is behind the times in today’s technologically-advanced world. Without it, you run the risk of not knowing if the card belongs to the person using it.

Consider EMV technology as a major form of security for you and your business’s well-being.

  • End-to-end encryption

The use of encryption technology is always evolving. A POS system needs to have the latest end-to-end encryption technology to keep ahead of potential online thieves. You’ll want any card reader to stay encrypted. Your customers will appreciate this extra level of security as well, and it will give them peace of mind.

  • Tokenization technology

Another important piece of security technology to look for is tokenization. With this feature, credit card data as it’s being entered is automatically replaced with tokens, thereby hiding all card information from online intruders. You can consider this another thorough form of encryption, guaranteeing no one is going to steal employee or customer card data.

Tax compliance

How many POS systems have you used recently that accurately calculate your sales taxes? Since 2018, big tax changes have been made, making any POS software older than five years virtually useless.

Search for something that helps you streamline the way you calculate your sales tax through an automatic system, alleviating stress on your accountants or back office staff. Your software should calculate what your sales taxes are at the state, federal, and local levels.

Now you can stay compliant with your taxes without facing any financial headaches due to penalties and fines.

A reliable support system

Does the POS system you're considering have 24/7 customer support? The use of POS systems can sometimes be complicated, and you need a service that gives you an open line of support whenever you need it. Those of you who run 24-hour grocery stores may need instant support for issues that arise in the middle of the night. If this is the case, a POS system that has 24/7 customer support is a must.

Lending options

Another growing option in POS systems is the ability to provide instant capital loans to grocery stores like yours. Operating expenses in grocery stores can be tremendous, and getting a capital loan from a bank is a tedious process.

Digital applications are a large part of most POS platforms since more and more borrowers are looking for an easy entry into the loan process. Additionally, many POS systems feature document management tools, giving borrowers the ability to submit necessary loan documents directly. Many of the best ones allow you to apply online in minutes and get results within a few days.

Now that we’ve looked into the various features present on a grocery store POS system, let’s look at where to find one.

Where should you go to find your POS system?

Here at Heartland, we've created the ultimate POS solution that gives you all of the above features and more. We've made our system easy to learn and use, thereby eliminating steep learning curves for your grocery store employees.

Best of all, we've made our POS system for every type of business category and department. We understand grocery stores have unique needs when it comes to handling payments, payroll, and HR solutions, and our POS system seamlessly handles all areas of your business.

Plus, you’ll love the mobility of our product. It allows you to handle payments wherever you go. For instance, if your grocery store delivers groceries, delivery workers can receive payments right on an iPad, Android phone, or other mobile device.

Visit us to learn more about the comprehensive features we offer for grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores across America.


Ready to work with a payroll partner who can help you find the right POS system for your grocery store?

Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at heartland.us.