Over the past five years, the number of liquor store businesses in the U.S. has steadily grown by 0.9 percent. It’s no wonder that the market is thriving. Beer, wine and liquor stores offer customers a wider selection of alcoholic drinks than convenience stores, drug stores or big box stores do, and they typically do so in a conveniently-sized location.
Imagine having to navigate a vast big-box store only to find a limited selection of alcohol that doesn’t include your favorite drink. You don’t have to worry about that when you stop into your local liquor store. Whether you are gearing up for a celebration or a quiet night in, you can stop by your local liquor store and find the beer, wine or liquor to complete the experience.
If you’re one of the more than 156,000 Americans who works at a liquor store — especially if you are an owner or manager — you probably have a sense of how important your store is to your community. Like all small business owners, you should take pride in the work you do and constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve a customer’s experience in your store. You can do that with a point of sale (POS) system.
In this post, we’ll learn more about POS systems and how to choose the right one for your liquor store. The right POS system can help you make your store an even better place for people to shop for their favorite drinks.
Why Your Liquor Store Needs a Modern POS System
If you’re just looking for a new bar code scanner or cash register for your liquor store, consider a complete POS system instead. Point of sale refers to the checkout process at your store. When a consumer makes a purchase, you need a way to facilitate the transaction. In the past, cashiers used manual cash registers and handwritten receipts, but today, consumers expect an efficient checkout experience that takes full advantage of modern technology.
A POS system uses integrated hardware and software to modernize and streamline the checkout experience for both consumers and employees, and gives managers and owners a suite of helpful tools. All-in-one POS systems come with all the components you need for checkout, including a register terminal screen, a customer-facing screen, cash register drawer, bar code scanner, card reader and receipt printer.
Liquor stores need efficient and modern point of sale systems for many reasons, but mainly because a POS system:
- Speeds up checkout time
- Helps cashiers be accurate with pricing and taxes
- Enables you to take a variety of payment types
- Tracks data from every purchase
- Helps you make more informed business decisions
What POS Features Are Important for Liquor Stores?
Now that we’ve taken a moment to look at what a POS system can offer a business generally, let’s look more specifically at which features liquor store owners should look for when shopping for a POS system. After all, there are many different systems on the market, so you want to choose the one that best fits your needs.
When comparing POS systems, look for one that delivers these five features since they’re especially important for liquor stores:
1. Sales Tracking
Tracking your sales allows you to take the temperature of how your store is currently doing and reveals how your sales performance evolves over time. This can help you see what’s working and what’s not so you can successfully grow your business. For example, you may see that sales are too low during certain periods for it to be worth staying open while other hours during the day are busy and warrant more employees being on the schedule.
Without a POS system, tracking sales is a complicated and laborious process, but with a POS system, the software does the work for you. It stores the data and delivers it in an easy-to-understand format. Once you’ve had your POS long enough, you can compare sales from this April to sales from last April or this year’s total to last year’s total to get a wide-angle perspective of how your business is doing.
2. Inventory Management
Managing inventory is critical to the success of your business. The best modern POS systems offer inventory tracking so you don’t need another software program for it. Since POS systems are equipped with a database that recognizes all the items your store carries, they can note when a product is sold and can track how many you have left in stock. They can even let you know when it’s time to reorder a product when you’re running low.
Tracking your inventory is the only way to make informed decisions about which products you should carry. The inventory management tool on a POS can make it clear which products are selling well and which may need to be eliminated from your product line. Try replacing unpopular products with new products and use the inventory tracking tool to see how these new SKUs do. Did you know that traditional drinks like mead are experiencing a resurgence in popularity? With inventory management software, you can introduce trendy or more niche products like this and then evaluate their performance.
3. Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs can help keep satisfied customers coming back to your store again and again. One report found that some consumers spend up to 99 percent more with brands where they have a loyalty account. Some small businesses have a loyalty program in place, but it involves stamping or punching holes into a loyalty card. This method is better than nothing, but it’s by no means ideal.
When you choose a POS system that has a loyalty program already built in, you can take advantage of the technology and enjoy a completely automated rewards experience. No dealing with lost cards, delays during checkout or confusion. When it comes to loyalty programs, customers who have engaged with loyalty technology note that it has made a drastic improvement in their member experience.
4. Store Promotions
It’s no secret that store promotions are a great way to encourage people to shop in general. In a liquor store, special discounts may encourage people to try something new and walk out with more than just their ordinary purchase. People tend to become more adventurous when they see a sale price on an item, so they just might pick up a bottle of that cookies and cream whiskey or dill pickle vodka if the price is right. Store promotions can also encourage them to stock up on their favorite products now if they’re on sale.
When choosing a POS system, make sure it allows you to program in any temporary promotions or discounts you choose to feature. Your POS should automatically reflect the discounted price when you scan an item that’s on sale. If you want a discount to apply only after a customer purchases a certain number of products, your POS should be able to do that too. The right POS can take all the guesswork out of applying promotions at checkout.
5. Age Verification Reminders
Your cashiers are legally obligated to check every customer’s ID to confirm that they are legal drinking age before selling them alcohol. Even though it’s a requirement, it can be easy for cashiers to forget to take the time to check, especially if a person appears to be well over the age of 21. New employees may be especially susceptible to forgetting to check ID, which could compromise your business’s security right away.
Your POS system can help. Look for a POS system that allows you to denote which product categories require age verification. When one of these items is scanned, the POS should pop up with a reminder to the cashier to verify the customer’s age. It’s a simple feature, but it can be an extremely helpful reminder to all employees.
How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Liquor Store
Now you know what features to look for when you’re shopping for a POS system, but other considerations should also factor into your decision. When choosing a POS system, consider your business’s unique needs. With many different POS systems on the market, you want to identify the one that will help your business the most. A helpful way to think through some of the qualities you need from a POS is to ask yourself some questions about your business and your preferences. Here are five questions to get you started:
1. How Many Locations Do I Run?
Do you need a POS system that can connect your sales from multiple stores? If you currently operate multiple locations, or even if you think you might open up a second location in the future, make sure you choose a POS system now that can synchronize your data across locations. This will save you from having to manually combine data or somehow attempt to integrate different systems together.
2. Do I Want Remote Access?
Another question to ask yourself is whether you want to have access to your data when you’re not at the store. If so, opt for a cloud-based system. With a cloud-based terminal POS, your data is stored in the cloud instead of in a hard drive, allowing you to access it through a mobile app or website when you’re at home, out of town or in a different store location. You may even be able to input new information or make changes from the app.
3. What’s My Budget?
Another important question to ask yourself is how much you can afford to spend on your liquor store POS system. Perhaps the expense of a POS system is what has held you back from buying one sooner. When considering your budget, remember that a POS is an investment that is likely to help your business grow and succeed. It may cost a bit up front, but it will be well worth it. Still, budgetary limitations are a reality. Another advantage of the cloud-based terminal system is that it entails a lower upfront cost with an ongoing monthly or annual fee for support from the POS company.
4. How Do My Customers Pay?
You may remember the days when people either paid with cash or a check, but today, there are many more forms of payment going around, including credit and debit cards and, more recently, mobile wallet apps. Mobile methods of payment like Apple Pay and Android Pay are innovative methods of payment that aren’t just popular with young people. In fact, the typical user of mobile wallet apps is between 30 and 44 years old. If you want to be equipped to accept a variety of payment types, then look for a POS that can handle cash, cards, mobile payments and more.
5. Do I Want a Customer-Facing Screen?
While it’s standard for POS systems to include a register terminal for the cashier, they may not include a screen for the customer. If you want customers to be able to see their items and prices as they’re rung up along with their final total, then look for a POS with a customer-facing display screen. It’s a great bonus if you can display store promotions or news on the screen, as well, since this visual information can help keep customers engaged during checkout.
End Your Search With the POS+ From National Retail Solutions
If you’re searching for the best POS system on the market, your search should end with the POS+, an all-in-one POS system from National Retail Solutions (NRS). Our POS system is comprised of high-quality hardware and cutting-edge software, making it the perfect solution for small businesses all over the U.S. Liquor store owners will especially appreciate that the POS+ offers all of the helpful features we’ve discussed in this post.
One thing you and your employees are sure to notice right away is that the POS+ is exceptionally user-friendly, as liquor store point of sale software — or any POS software — should be. The touchscreen terminal is easy to navigate, with clear images and text.
Even though the system appears simplistic, there is so much you can do with the POS+. Create and manage your inventory, track sales performance, enter in promotions and more. When you purchase a POS+, you also get access to the BR Club, a customer loyalty program that independent retailers all over the country use to encourage repeat business.
The POS+ from NRS is the best value on the market, so you can make your investment in a POS system with confidence. In addition to getting you set up with all the components in the beginning, NRS continues to offer ongoing support. Just like a fine wine, your software will get better with age because NRS will automatically update it periodically. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and improve as technology progresses.
You can learn more about our liquor store POS system on our website. If you’re interested in equipping your liquor store with a POS system, contact us today for a free quote. Cheers to a better checkout experience and more strategic management!