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How to Choose the Right POS Software for Your Small Business

A great POS software is essential for your small business. The right system can manage your spa or salon’s billing, inventory, guest experience, and more.

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If the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that the world is changing and the businesses that can keep up are the ones that last. Staying ahead of the curve means investing in the right technology to gain a competitive advantage and grow your bottom line.

New business models and emerging technologies are redefining consumer payment expectations.  Cashless payments have also taken precedence since the start of the pandemic. So, a streamlined POS system that can accept credit and debit card payments and includes sales tracking has become non-negotiable for beauty & wellness businesses.

POS software plays a role in almost every aspect of your company and can capture a lot of information about your daily activities. That data is a gold mine for understanding your business, helping you to increase revenue, improve efficiency, and create a better overall guest experience. Your POS system is also the first and last piece of technology your guests interact with during their time with you, making it critical that your system is up to scratch.  

With the right system, you can manage your spa or salon's billing, staffing, inventory, marketing, and more. Read on to find how to select the best POS software for your needs.

What is a POS System?

A POS, or Point of Sale, system is a combination of software and hardware used to manage your spa or salon operations. Think of it as your business command center: it’s the area where all business operations take place. Guests hand over their spending dollars and, in return, receive a product or service that is of value to them. Whether it's a salon service like a cut or color or the latest hair product, everything should pass through your POS system.  

A women approaching a salon front desk

The best POS systems simplify daily tasks and even generate additional revenue for your business. They make you and your team more productive and save you time, and as a small business owner, time is money.

Market research by Intuit reveals that an independent retailer with a revenue of $300,000 can cut costs by an average of $30,000 a year by investing in a new POS system.

A POS system is essential to small businesses for two reasons. First, it controls billing. Revenue losses due to human error can be prevented with billing POS software that records every dollar sold. You can also see your best-selling products and services and where the opportunities for improvement lie. These insights are invaluable for small business owners who may not have access to a vast team of decision-makers and rely on the data that's in front of them to make decisions.  

Second, POS systems help businesses to manage inventory. Imagine the chaos of not knowing how many products you sold in a day. You might check your retail shelves, only to notice significant discrepancies or find that you're burning through top items quicker than you can replenish them. Your POS system can help you avoid this by updating your inventory in real-time whenever you make a sale.  

Learn how other small business owners have solved their major pain points with our all-in-one POS software.

What is POS Software?

While Point of Sale can refer to physical hardware like a cash register, when people refer to a POS system, they typically refer to a combination of hardware and a digital solution or software that makes it all possible. Your software is the engine driving the whole system forward. It is the make or break for your business operations.

Your POS system software might work as an on-premise solution or cloud-based software. Here is a quick breakdown of the difference:  

On-premise: This refers to software that isn't connected to the internet. All information is kept on a closed system within your spa or salon and is typically maintained by an IT person or business manager. The downside is that if a problem occurs and the system isn't backed up correctly, you risk losing data. Getting an IT person to fix it each time also adds unwanted expenses.

Cloud-based: This type of software relies on the internet. It is typically a SaaS (Software as Service) that your business pays a monthly or annual fee to access. If there are any issues with the software, they are resolved by the provider, saving you the time and cost of hiring an IT person. As a bonus, your system is constantly backed up and can be accessed at anytime, anywhere.

In addition to cloud-based and on-premise options, there are paid and free options out there. Our take? You get what you pay for. While free software might appeal to a small business owner looking to save a few bucks, a paid system allows you to access all features and utilize the system to the best of your abilities.  

Hot Tip: Most paid software offers either a free trial period or a demo so that you can try before you buy. Test out a few to see what best fits your needs.  

5 Features of POS Software to Consider Before Buying

An excellent POS software does more than act as a digital cash register. It should make it easier and simpler to manage your business operations. Here are a few features to add to your list when selecting a software solution for your salon or spa.

1. Billing and Payments

Women holding magnetic card at salon front desk

An effective POS billing software moves beyond the front desk with mobile POS software that's ready whenever and wherever your guests are. As a beauty and wellness business, look for billing software that enables you to add chairside upgrades or retail products to a guest's invoice with only a few taps on a tablet or phone.  

A billing POS software that integrates beautifully with your system provides guests and staff with a rich, seamless experience. It offers your guests convenience by allowing them to store cards on file or using a single merchant payment for payments made in-store, online, or through a branded app.  

Your guests aren't the only ones who will thank you. Your accounting person or team will also appreciate the complete transparency and predictability that billing software offers. With a system that provides a predictable fee per transaction, you can eliminate unwanted surprises and ensure you don't get stuck with extra charges for refunds, authorizations, or failed payments.

2. Streamlined Inventory Management

Imagine doing your monthly reconciliation, only to notice that the numbers aren’t quite adding up. Humans aren’t perfect - there’s always the potential for error. To avoid pilferage, look for a system with convenient auto-reconciliation so you can catch mistakes quickly and ensure everything is tracked properly.

Add an extra layer of security with a system that automatically applies discounts and package benefits to prevent misuse. Even better: if your POS system can record petty expenses and track invoices, there’s less risk of theft or unintentional miscalculations.  

Business owner checking her online presence during the pandemic

If you’ve ever spent long hours on monthly reconciliation, you’ll appreciate a POS system that does heavy lifting for you. Some software solutions, such as ours, also include a mobile app and integrated scanner that makes your inventory audit fast, error-free, and user friendly. Thanks to technology, you can reduce costs and identify areas of shrinkage by comparing actual stock levels against expected.  

"Zenoti has added real strategic benefit as a partner. They were the only cloud-based system to meet our retail product needs and the back-end inventory management." - Chris Scott, Founder of skoah  

3. Ease of Use for Employees

The right POS software gives your employees everything they need at their fingertips. Save employee time and reduce stress by letting them search for invoices by booking source, accept multiple payment modes, add additional services like gift cards or memberships, and split commissions between multiple service providers, all with the click of a button. These features not only optimize employee performance, but free up their time to focus on creating an unparalleled guest experience.

Having great features isn’t always enough. Nowadays, user interface is everything. The ideal POS software will have a clutter-free interface that’s easy to navigate and doesn’t require intensive training. Look for POS software with easy-to-scroll dropdown menus for membership and package benefits. This allows your staff to make more sales in fewer steps, resulting in more revenue for you and better commissions for them. Everyone wins!  

4. Elevated Guest Experience

Customize your guest experience with POS software that offers a personal touch. Access guest service history, details and preferences at the tap of a screen with mobile POS. With these insights in hand, your staff can create a highly personalized experience for each guest that walks through your doors.  

Additionally, salon and spa POS software like ours seamlessly integrates your POS system with our Customer Mobile App and Zenoti Mobile. With integrated payments, you can ensure that your payment experience matches up to the exceptional service you offer. If you’ve ever waited in line as the person in front of you struggles with various payment methods, you know how frustrating an inefficient POS system can be. Replace long waits at finicky payment terminals with an elevated, touchless experience that your guests will appreciate.

Consumers are 3.5 times more likely to purchase more from a brand after a positive customer experience.  

5. Mobile Capabilities  

Your cell phone likely goes everywhere with you and your POS system can too! Leave the traditional desk in 2021 with mobile POS software that’s ready whenever and wherever you and your guests are.  

An effective mobile POS software should simplify everyday tasks like booking and allow you to add additional services or retail products with ease. It should enable guests to pay for appointments and products directly from their mobile device, saving them time and elevating your salon or spa’s overall experience. This frees more staff from the front desk and makes transactions quick and efficient.

With a mobile POS software, like Zenoti Mobile, you can check guests in or out, add chair upgrades or retail products to guest invoices, and much more, with a few taps on a tablet.  

Check out even more features to consider for your spa management software here.  

New Year, New POS Software

Business owner looking at tablet in salon

As technology continues to advance and the world moves faster, POS software ensures that you're maximizing your efficiency and productivity. The best software should go beyond your front desk and allow for a level of convenience and care that you can't put a price on. It's an investment that leads to more revenue saved and an all-around better guest experience.  

If you're looking for a cloud-based POS system for your small business, look no further. Our cloud-based POS software is made for ambitious beauty and wellness businesses. From online booking to self-check-in, from e-paying to leaving reviews, the modern, touchless experience we help you give your guests is simply magical.

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Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.
Cullie Poseria
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Fitness
Coming from a healthcare family, growing up as a competitive athlete, and being trained as a filmmaker, and MBA, Cullie brings diverse experience to her storytelling and digital business-to-business product marketing. Her writing focuses on sharing trends and insights from her experience in software, entertainment, wellness, and fitness.
Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.

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