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Businesses come in an enormous variety of sizes, shapes, and concepts — and so do their point of sale (POS) needs.

Priorities and requirements for your specialty business can differ widely from other types of retail and restaurant businesses, like department stores, discount outlets or the typical fast casual or quick service restaurant, which makes it difficult for a POS software application to be a one–size-fits-all solution. So how do you find the best fit for your business? Consider deploying a specialty retail POS system, designed with your type of business in mind.

Here are some things to look for when exploring your options.

When you’re ready to upgrade to a new POS system, don’t start by looking at the technology that’s available. First, evaluate your business. Define your application needs and consider your working environment. What are you selling, and where? Is your venue indoor or outdoor? Temporary or permanent? Mobile? A stadium concessions stand will have different needs than a pet store or pottery shop, which will also be different than a festival booth or a sporting goods shop. Answers to these questions will help point you in the right direction when you’re ready to shop for a POS system:

Applications and Environment

Does your POS hardware need to be rugged?

Does your POS system need to withstand high-volume use? Will it be exposed to dust, dirt, and will it need to withstand vibrations or impacts? Outdoor venues and mobile applications especially require hardware that is built to withstand harsh weather conditions such as temperature extremes and precipitation and the increased potential for drops and spills.

Do you need self-service kiosks?

Self-ordering solutions can bust lines and improve order accuracy, since customers can enter and check their own specifications. Ticket sizes also tend to increase with self-service, as upselling features are automatic.

What about payment options?

Fast, convenient customer service is a universal need for all types of retailers, but other requirements may need to be more specialized. The Miami Open international tennis tournament, for example, needed a POS system that could accept special meal cards issued to players and volunteers for use at any of the various food venues available. In addition to accepting cash and credit cards, your customers may prefer to pay with mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, which requires near field communication (NFC) technology. You also need a payment card reader that’s EMV-compliant for the best card-present security and protection from liability for chargebacks. Or you may need to use card readers that pair with a tablet via Bluetooth.

Will you need a 4G router?

Venues such as food trucks or festival booths at remote outdoor locations (or even some remote indoor locations) may not have wired internet access. In those cases, you’ll need your own router to keep operations up and running.

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