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A point-of-sale software system, frequently called a POS, can help you manage everything from your staff’s hours to your inventory. There are hundreds of point-of-sale tools out there — all with various features and functionalities — but the one thing they all have in common is that they were designed to make life as a salon or spa owner easier. One major benefit of a point-of-sale system is that along with helping you run your business more efficiently, it increases your data security and reduces your risk of fraud.

Let’s walk through what a POS system is, how to choose a secure one, and how that selection can ultimately benefit your business.

 

Firstly, what is a POS system?

A point-of-sale system is a salon management tool — a type of software that you install or use through an app or website. It’s used by you and your staff on the back end to help make your business run more efficiently and effectively on the front end.

The majority of POS systems are designed to offer their own benefits and integrate with software you may already use so that they become a total solution. For instance, you may purchase a POS that enables you to track your sales, calculate staffing hours, and manage a client loyalty program. It may not have the functionality to help you book appointments and send appointment reminders, but it will likely integrate with the marketing and reservations software you use that does have those capabilities. There are POS systems with all those capabilities, but be aware that their price tag may be much higher.

 

How does a POS help with my salon’s security?

There are lots of ways having a point-of-sale system can help with your security — beginning with protecting against theft. By helping you track both sales and inventory, you can crosscheck everything, receive cash drawer balance reports, make sure your books are balanced and unauthorized discounts aren’t being given, and ensure cash isn’t disappearing.

The ability to use NFC (near-field communication, or credit cards with tapping functionality) and chip-based credit cards is another major benefit of a point-of-sale system. Ensuring that credit card fraud isn’t happening at your salon is beneficial to your business for avoiding lawsuits and headaches with banks, but also an important way to make customers feel more secure.

POS systems also have audit functionality, which is helpful if you have multiple employees using the software. They typically track things like voided sales and inventory/price changes, so you’ll know if someone was either using the system improperly or trying to access it illegally.

Almost all salon management systems have individual clearances for each employee, so you’ll know who is logging into the system, and when. You can also limit the access of newer or more junior employees to ensure staff members who don’t need to be in the POS system aren’t allowed access.

Another major benefit of point-of-sale systems nowadays is mobile functionality, which allows you and your techs to walk around the salon with mobile or tablet devices. This deters theft by decreasing the likelihood of a shopper walking out with product — or leaving the salon without paying.

 

How do I know if my data is secure?

A great question, and something that all users of POS systems need to take seriously. Putting all of the information about your business into one place can feel worrisome for business owners, and that’s understandable. The best way to mitigate your concern is by asking a lot of questions upfront of your POS provider.

You may end up opting for a cloud-based system, which stores all of your information on a server/database outside of your salon, rather than directly on the computers and registers you keep onsite. It also means you don’t have to purchase any servers or hard drives for storage purposes. By choosing a cloud-based POS system company, you’re letting that company take care of your data. These companies take security very seriously, and in many cases will ensure your data is highly encrypted and secured.

When shopping for any type of POS, you should ask questions about the security of that system. The first one: Does this POS system meet all security and compliance requirements? Have the company explain to you all the precautions they take with their data, so you understand how they’re storing your information — and your customers’ information, too.

The majority of security concerns related to POS systems typically involve these three issues: insecure remote access, outdated or unpatched software, and weak password practices. When selecting your POS solution, ask the company representative to explain to you what that company does to ensure these issues are addressed so that your business data stays safe.

Originally posted on NAILS Magazine