Two customers at a bar top with drinks talking to a man behind the counter.

How to pick the right POS system for your winery

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Key features to consider when utilizing POS software in the wine industry

Wine businesses are on the rise, particularly in key markets around the United States. As more customers seek opportunities to enjoy a day at a winery to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting, stroll through the vineyards, or join friends for wine and great conversation, it is necessary that wine businesses have robust customer relationship management (CRM) systems for increased customer engagement.

Additionally, wine businesses need tools to support ecommerce integration, sales, inventory, and back office needs, among others. As such, winery businesses should consider the implementation of a point of sale (POS) system.

What are winery POS systems?

A POS system for a winery, wine shop, or wine business is specifically designed for use in wine business operations. Winery software can manage key metrics related to sales, securely hold customer data, implement customer loyalty programs (especially related to club membership), and complete payment processing for customers.

POS systems designed with wineries in mind offer full-scale functionality to capture and process the most important data that a winery needs. Typically, POS systems in wineries are cloud-based and are functional on a variety of devices. For customers, this means that orders can be processed with speed and efficiency.

As POS systems have become more popular across various retail and food industries, mobile capabilities have become the preferred method for POS solutions. This means that checkout features and the overall management system can be operated through a mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad, tablet, or Android device. Additionally, features on POS systems have marketing tools, inventory tracking and inventory control capabilities, online reservation integrations, and analytics related to online sales, online ordering, and purchase history.

Depending on what your company needs, different POS systems offer various tools and features to support your business operations. Having the right POS system is essential; the best POS system for your business will support you in meeting your financial bottom-line while providing the best possible customer experience.

This article will review the most important features to look for when choosing the right winery POS system for your business. Let’s look at them now.

What are the best winery POS system features to look for?

The first part of the process to secure a POS solution that meets your business needs is to outline why you need the POS system in the first place. What are your most important needs? What metrics do you want to report on? How can technology fill the gaps in your current operating system? Once you have a better sense of these priorities, you can then know what to look for in a POS system.

Other factors that you will need to keep in mind during your search is the size of your winery (the bigger the winery, the more features you may need), the budget you have to purchase a POS system (pricing can vary from system to system), and the training needs you have once you adopt a system. Some employees may be more tech savvy and therefore won't need as much time to integrate the POS tool in their day-to-day workflows.

The most important features that are common (and significant in winery POS systems) are outlined below.

  • Sales Monitoring. One of the biggest advantages to implementing innovative POS systems at your winery is the ability to report on and analyze sales data. For wineries, this is a feature that allows you to identify customer trends (for example, customers who prefer certain types of wines during different times of the year). Moreover, some POS systems are able to forecast sales metrics, enabling businesses to plan for overall business goals on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
  • Employee Management. Ideally, your POS system will not have a per-user fee. Instead, the POS plan will offer unlimited user access. POS systems are also able to support wine business owners in tracking employees’ working hours and managing staff performance, which can help drive increased productivity and the potential for staff incentives.
  • Mobility. POS software for wineries should be as mobile as possible. This way, POS software can be accessed during check out, in a tasting room, or online if customers want to buy wine remotely. When POS software is mobile, employees can spend more of their time and focus on customer engagement, thereby resulting in a positive wine experience.
  • Smart Upsells. Upselling is a sales technique where a seller invites the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons to generate more revenue. POS solutions that automatically remind employees of potential upsells can support your business by gaining more members and encouraging customers to purchase additional wine. For exclusive members, POS systems can generate member-specific notes for employees to review prior to helping customers. Not only does this increase the chance for upsells, but it also ensures that the winery maintains a reputation for high-quality customer experiences.
  • Coupon Application. Many POS systems come with a barcode reader so that coupons can be entered for discounts. For a winery that maintains high levels of wine members, running coupons through the system may be a common occurrence. The POS system can automatically calculate the discount and total for the employee to share with the customer.
  • Tip Preferences. Wineries are all about making sure customers have memorable experiences in wine tasting, usually at a vineyard or wine tasting room. Employees working in these areas of the business will often make recommendations to customers and ensure that they are satisfied with their wine selection. As a result of the great customer experience, customers may be more inclined to leave a tip. The best POS systems provide multiple tiers of tip options for the customer to select at the end of their day at the winery.
  • Inventory Management. For businesses that manually track inventory, there is a high risk for mistakes or errors. POS systems that support inventory management will help eliminate possible mistakes and save a significant amount of time for employees. Some POS systems can hold a stock-keeping unit (SKU) transaction history that will then update stock on hand for employees to review. POS operators can then be alerted when a new order needs to take place in order to maintain inventory levels. With larger wineries that may have multiple retail locations or tasting rooms, the ability to track and move inventory quickly and efficiently is of utmost importance. In fact, inventory management is one of the most important ways to save money at your winery business.
  • DTC Integrations. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) is a model that is booming for wine businesses. Overall wine sales are jumping by multiple percentage points due to the quick, easy, and efficient option for wine to be shipped directly to the customer. As this model gains traction and more wineries take part in providing their product this way, it is critical that wineries have the tools necessary to streamline backend processes. For example, your POS system can provide ecommerce integrations where customers can select the wine they would like to have shipped to their home. The POS system can process the order, alert staff, and notify the customer once the order has been received, filled, and shipped.

Real-time value

Adopting a POS system at your winery can have an immediate positive impact on your business. From day one, your system can store important information like wine club management, inventory levels, and sales trends that will help with future business decisions and strategies. Your POS system can be an all-in-one solution that helps your business grow, expand, and meet customer demand.

It is important to know that not all winery POS systems are the same or provide the same service. Consider what you need from these technological solutions and then use the key features above to find the right fit for your winery. Once you get started, you will soon realize the powerful value that POS systems can bring to your business in real-time.


Next steps

Are you ready to implement the best winery POS system at your winery? Are you ready to streamline data, metrics, and the customer experience with an easy-to-use and intuitive software system?

Heartland is ready to help.

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.