EPOS System Pricing Run-Around
Trying to find out how much an EPOS system costs can be an ordeal. The majority of electronic point of sale suppliers feel, for some reason, that the customer needs to be given the sale spiel before they are ready to see the price. This ends up as a lose-lose situation for both the potential customer and the supplier. The supplier feels he has a tyre-kicker when the customer walks away. The customer feels cheated because they had to listen to a spiel without knowing if the product or service was within their budget.
Conventional thinking, stemming from the cash register days, was that the supplier needed to educate the customer and carry out a return on investment exercise. They would explain all the bells and whistles first, with the belief that the customer would run a mile if they told them the price then if they were still interested explained the product.
Types of Electronic Point of Sale Systems – High-End or Low Cost?
Today the choice of electronic point of sale (EPOS) products and companies is wide and varied.
On one end of the spectrum are large, multi-national electronic point of sales companies like Citixsys, IBM, Fujitsu, and NCR. These companies typically target the 100+ store retailers and a system rollout can be measured in the hundreds of thousands of euros.
The other end is the entry level point of sale system which can start at €1,500 for a single electronic point of sale unit. An important note is that these are not PC-based and are the 2012 version of the traditional electronic cash register. Although basic enough in features, they can and do suffice in a single outlet where cash reconciliation is the most sophisticated feature required. You will see these in a single bar, coffee shop or in a simple retail environment.
Obviously, the EPOS offerings at different ends of the spectrum have vastly different options, quality, service and different target markets. This is reflected in the pricing and also reflected in what the solutions can achieve. The higher-end companies tend to approach the sales process from a consultative angle. They will investigate the customer’s business needs which they then match to the best EPOS solution based on those needs. The lower priced offerings purchase decisions are more apt to be based on price and also tend to rely on the customer to know the products features and benefits for themselves. The lower margin for the lower priced supplier does not afford them the ability to employ solution consultants and adopt that kind of sales methodology.
Point of Sale Software Pricing
Point of sale software comes in many flavours.
At one end, there is shareware and a recent entry to this low cost group is downloadable software which is paid for in advance on the net. These products can be sourced for as little as €200 per system. These software products are more suited to a small retailer who is also an IT hobbyist. Low on personal tech-support and hands-on installation services, some advanced IT skills are a requirement for this group.
There also exists the small 4-10 man company that has been authoring EPOS software for years. This group, however, is shrinking, as the costs of keeping up with the bigger players are proving prohibitive; in the world of cars think of Morgan, TVR, Noble and DeLorean. E-receipts, electronic funds transfer (EFT), loyalty programs, web store integration, etc. mean that, while most of this group are hanging on to their legacy clients for now, they realise that it is cost prohibitive to rewrite their products to interface with these new technologies. In all probability, the next time their clients go to market, they will be looking for systems that seamlessly integrate with the wider world and ever rapidly changing technologies.
Today’s point of sale software is like most mature software markets. There used to be lots of flavours but now there is a core of global players whom have the size and budgets to produce excellent software at competitive prices. An EPOS software license is going to average €500 with a back office license costing an average of €1500.
The bigger 100+ store rollouts can tend to get surprisingly good value for each of the licenses but the will require far more days than a smaller retailer for professional services including project management and training.
Retail Specialty, Vertical Market or Generic EPOS Software
Each vertical market (department store, garden centre, supermarket, off license, furniture store, etc.) can rightly claim that their industry has idiosyncrasies that are unique to them and that their EPOS software of choice should also be unique to their vertical market. This was certainly the case up until the last five years. Today, the best-of-breed global retail EPOS solutions have the breadth to cover most retail verticals. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see the top software products in a wide variety of retail outlets. This is due to the flexibility of the top products. They are designed so that the user can ultimately decide the process flow and not be straight jacketed into a structured workflow.
How Your Business Leverages Your Point of Sale Software will Impact the Value and the Price
Today, electronic point of sale software systems have a variety of uses:
• Point of sale calculator,
• Stock control package,
• VAT and debtors system,
• Customer relationship management (CRM )systems,
• Retail reporting system for management,
• Security system for staff,
• Promotions system for products,
• Labeling system and mini signage system,
• Deposit system,
• Delivery tracking system,
• Quotation system,
• Ticketing system.
Although all of the top EPOS products have a vast array of features, most leading edge products are also open via an application programing interface (API). This enables easy and robust interfaces to best in class add-ons. For example, a retailer may be using a large amount of spreadsheet data to calculate what their budgets are and what each buyer can spend on a certain range of products. A leading edge product would allow a best-of-breed open-to-buy product to seamlessly dovetail with the EPOS data so the need for maintaining error prone spreadsheets would not be necessary.
Product roadmaps are also offered by the best-of-breed software supplier. These roadmaps educate the customer as to what is coming down the tracks. Will the EPOS product integrate with Facebook or run on my iPad?
Again, the law of natural selection is withering the hundreds of EPOS systems down to the best-in-class global players. These companies invest a high percentage of their profits into making sure that their EPOS system forms a sound foundation to plug into various other products like business intelligence, e-receipts and web stores.
The options and uses of an electronic point of sale system are nearly endless in the hands of inventive users who can see the value. To fully leverage a point of sale software to grow your business, your staff needs to have access to reliable retail maintenance services for the pos hardware and software.
Additionally, EPOS software training for staff and POS installation is essential to leverage the full potential of the systems.
These services can range from €400 to €1,000 daily, depending on the how qualified and experienced the trainer/ installer is.
The Truth about EPOS System Pricing
The truth about buying an EPOS system is that they cost thousands of euros. As a rule of thumb, a customer should expect to pay between €4,000 – €5,500 per lane for a high quality product that will serve them well. Choosing the wrong electronic point of sale system could cost many times that amount if it does not meet the specific requirements of the business. In fact, it could turn into a liability that has very expensive and long-term effects.
As with all purchases, measure twice and cut once. Make sure you investigate the product and the company properly. Ask some questions:
What EPOS software do you need?
What EPOS software will you use and fully leverage? Marketing, reporting, inventory, etc.
What are your EPOS maintenance, support and training requirements?
Take the time to really understand how this purchase is going to add to your bottom line. And if it doesn’t then don’t buy it.