5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your C-Store Point-of-Sale System
A powerful point-of-sale (POS) system benefits convenience store retailers in a number of ways. From recording transactions to authorizing fuel dispensers, the POS solution acts as a hub for the store’s information and operations. But modern POS systems don’t stop there. Cutting-edge, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions go beyond the POS basics to deliver meaningful, measurable value to the business.
If you run a best-in-class POS system, make sure you’re taking advantage of these five capabilities.
1. Remote software updates
Traditional, on-premises POS systems required time-consuming, in-person maintenance to stay up to date. Whenever an update was required, the retailer had to call a service technician and schedule a visit to the store, where the tech would manually load the new software via a CD -- and charge the c-store several hundred dollars for the effort. SaaS solutions eliminate the need for site visits with remote updates that can be run any time, from anywhere. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars and shutting down operations during peak sales hours, c-store retailers can run the update at night and prevent store downtime. Because updates can be run immediately after release, the store gains immediate access to new functionality and bug fixes. That means better system performance, faster, at lower cost.
2. Remote fuel price changes
Software updates aren’t the only functionality that can be executed remotely with a strong POS system. Leading solutions enable fuel retailers to change the price of fuel instantly from a connected device. C-store owners no longer need to rely on spreadsheets and phone calls to change prices; they can make changes directly in the system and know definitively that the price was changed. This capability allows retailers to react to market changes more quickly and efficiently to drive more business and out-price the competition. If you’re researching POS solutions, look for flexibility in fuel price management. Top systems enable remote price changes in the system itself as well as via an integration with third-party applications. Other features to look for include full integration with fuel dispensers and price signs, the option to send the price change immediately or schedule it for a later date, and the ability to change all prices at once.
3. Flow rate reporting
For every customer who complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. This statistic is particularly relevant to c-store owners, who may rely on customers to go out of their way and come into the store to alert an employee that a pump is running slowly. Few people take on this inconvenience -- which means retailers without effective flow monitoring risk seriously impacting customer satisfaction. Today’s POS systems address this challenge by monitoring the flow rate for each grade of fuel and each dispenser. The system notifies the retailer if the dispenser is operating as expected or if the flow rate has deteriorated, so c-store owners can react before it becomes a problem. Flow rate reporting also enables better decision-making around fuel filter replacements. Instead of waiting for flow rate to slow down and harm your customer experience, or replacing filters too often at higher cost to prevent slow flow, flow rate reporting from your POS system provides the data you need to strike the right balance between speed and spend.
4. Standardized configurations
C-store retailers with multiple locations understand the challenges of synchronizing and standardizing POS systems across a broad network. An effective POS solution should solve these challenges in a number of ways, including standardizing speed key configuration, managing your employee database remotely, and navigating tax requirements. These capabilities result in significant business benefits. Standardized speed keys increase customer throughput, and a cloud-based solution makes it easy to implement them without visiting every location. Employee management in the cloud means you can instantly add, delete, and change employees as well as share employees across stores for cross-training, improving security and efficiency. And the ability to update tax requirements remotely ensures that tax amounts remain accurate and you remain in compliance by simply pushing a button.
5. Powerful reporting
Every business needs accurate, up-to-date information to run successfully. C-stores are no different, but many have fallen behind the times, relying on once-daily print-outs and faxes to make critical business decisions.
An optimal POS solution transforms reporting with real-time or near real-time access to all of your store’s data. Immediately access every transaction, inside and outside the store, as soon as it happens. Review historical data to uncover trends and insights about how your business is performing. Easily deliver information to auditors or customers, all from one centralized location. Leading systems enable these capabilities with an online electronic journal that records every single key press on the POS system or dispenser, providing comprehensive real-time information and notifications instead of relying on outdated and/or disparate back office systems.
Your point-of-sale system plays a key role in the success of your convenience store. Make sure that you’re making the most of it by taking advantage of everything that a modern, SaaS solution can do.
Ryan is a leading authority on cloud-based software solutions focused on the downstream petroleum and retail fueling industry. Through constant collaboration with retailers large and small, engineers, and industry experts he has generated a thorough understanding of fuel retailers’ needs. He has several years of experience building and marketing point of sale, payment, and remote management solutions for Gilbarco-Veeder Root and Insite360.