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Published September 21st, 2016 by

Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying A Floral POS System

The retail flower business requires specialized POS software. Here are the most common pitfalls to avoid when buying POS software for your flower shop.

Ecommerce Options

Most florists have ecommerce websites, and they want the orders from those websites to come right into their POS systems. Be careful – some vendors will force you to buy their websites, leaving you stuck with a POS/website combination that doesn’t give you any flexibility.

 

Website Pretending To Be POS

A few years ago vendors that weren’t having much success selling ecommerce websites for florists had an epiphany…. they could call those websites POS systems and fool some florists. It’s easy to spot these systems – you are basically entering orders into your website on behalf of your customer. Reporting is usually weak, there is no printer automation, very few back end features, etc. Don’t settle for this when there are real POS systems out there for you.

 

Credit Card Processing

Many POS systems force you to process your credit cards through a specific merchant services provider. There is a good reason – that so is charging you a higher rate and kicking it back to the POS vendor. This extra is charged on the gross value of all your credit card transactions and can cost even small shops hundreds of dollars er month. You need a system that lets you choose, and change, merchant services providers as you please.

 

Hardware

There was a time when computer hardware was hard to find and it made sense for software vendors to provide it. Those days are long gone and if a software vendor is forcing you to buy hardware you can assume it’s because they are charging well over market value. Choose a system that lets you use any hardware, preferably hardware you already have.

Contracts

If a POS system requires you to sign a long term contract you need to run in the other direction. When was the last time you had to sign a contract for any other software. If a vendor is the least bit confident in their product they know you will stay with it because you want to. If they need a contract they likely know you won’t and they need to lock you in. Don’t fall for it.

 

Wire Service Entanglements

Wire service systems assume wire service membership – you can’t quit the wire service and keep using the POS. Unless you are truly happy with the wire service, the membership fees, the directory advertising charges, the selection guides etc. and have every intention of staying with them for years you need an independent system.

 

Not Enough Security

With great power comes great responsibility! POS systems contain a lot of data and you want to be able to strictly control what each user can do, see and export. For example – you likely don’t junior employs to see all your sales figures, or look up what other people get paid, or export customer lists, change settings, etc. If a POS system does not have a secure login system for each user and granular control over what they can do it just isn’t good enough.

 

Ugly Enclosure Cards

Your enclosure cards might be your single most important piece of branding… long after the flowers have died those cards are often kept as keepsakes, and referred to when ordering flowers for someone else. They have to look good! Make sure your POS system lets you customize the font, size and style to create attractive cards that reflect the personality of your store and the nature of the situation.

 

Printer Automation

A flower order typically involves printing to one or more printers and or paper sources. For example the worksheet usually prints on letter sized paper and the enclosure card on special card stock. The receipt sometimes goes to a receipt slip printer, other times a letter size printer (so it can be mailed). A real floral POS system will fully automatically choose the correct printer, but many actually require you to click through endless print dialog boxes selecting printers. This is something many florists have realized to their horror on Valentine’s Day. Don’t make this mistake – if a POS system does not automate printing it’s not good enough for a real florist.

No Multiple Orders

In the flower business customers often want to place multiple orders as part of one sale. A husband orders Mother’s Day flowers for his wife, mother, and mother-in-law, or a real estate agent orders flowers for multiple clients. These customers also expect a single payment and a single receipt…. they don’t want to start a new sale and make separate payment for each order… but most POS systems make you do exactly that! Don’t fall for it – if a system makes you enter each order separately, or talks about a convoluted “merging” process it means just one thing: it was made by people that don’t truly understand the flower industry and it’s not suitable for a real florist.

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