The cash register began life as a simple adding machine in 1879. Designed by James Ritty and John Birch, its purpose was a basic one. By forcing employees to ring up every purchase and alerting the manager to each sale with a bell, they were the perfect way to minimise the risk of employee theft.
Times might have changed, but there’s no denying that the humble cash register remains synonymous with retail and in turn, cellar doors. Of course features have been added, such as receipts, EFTPOS integration and barcode scanners, but the fundamentals remain the same.
The problem is though that the world of business has changed. In 2018, it is harder than ever before to sell wine DTC and smart winery owners have been wondering if there might be another option that suits how they do business now.
While of course there are many questions you need to ask, the three basic ones below are a great start to see if your business could benefit from more than a traditional cash register.
Do you sell in more than one physical location?
Some wineries are lucky enough that they simply have the one cellar door location that produces all of the sales. Others have multiple locations and regularly attend events. Where you sell your wine can have a significant impact on whether a cash register is suitable for you.
Do you find it difficult to integrate different elements of your business?
Like the physical locations, many wineries also have different channels for sales. If you have an e-commerce site or run multiple wine clubs, your cash register may not easily integrate with these systems, which can be an issue.
Do you wish you understood your business and its customers better?
Similarly, some winery owners are so hands on in their business that they have a solid understanding of who their customers are as well as their purchase habits. Alternatively, others are disinterested in business reports and there are even those rare few that sell out of all their wine each season. If this isn’t you, investing in something beyond a cash register may be beneficial.
If you answered yes to any of these, a Point of Sale System (or POS) may have some huge advantages for your winery.
So what is POS?
Consider POS a cash register that’s got a software upgrade to give it the features that businesses need in 2018.
The first real example of a POS system was introduced into our favourite fast food chain McDonalds in 1974. With standalone cash registers not adequate for a busy restaurant, this early version allowed for the integration of 8 different machines as well as unique controls for store managers. From there, the technology has only continued to grow.
While there are significant differences between a POS system and traditional cash registers, it boils down to a few simple ideas
Most POS is Mobile
In 2018, many POS systems on the market are designed to work on tablets and mobile phones. This has two major benefits. Firstly, they are not limited to a single location and can go where you go. Secondly, it opens up the possibility of each staff member having a POS system on them, allowing them to get out from behind the counter and interact with customers, all while easily able to process sales without the risk of queues.
All POS is smart
The greatest advantage of a modern POS system is that it allows for the easy capture of data. This can be either customer data – for example, email addresses and purchase history – or it can be business insights such as busiest days of the week, most popular products etc.
Traditionally, it has been hard to capture this data in a meaningful way and wineries have had to do without the insights it can offer. However, when used properly, the data that your POS collects can help you to understand where your time is best spent in your business to allow it to grow.
POS is ongoing
Most POS is not static. Unlike cash registers where you will need to buy a new one to upgrade features, the vast majority of modern POS exists on the cloud. This allows companies to roll out new features as they are built, with limited involvement from their clients. While there is normally a month cost involved, being constantly up to date can have huge benefits for your business.
WithWine has an innovative POS app that allows you to easily increase repeat sales, grow customer engagement and minimise the time you waste on repetitive tasks.