In-Store versus Online Shopping: Pros and Cons

stocked shelves in a retail store for instore shopping, a hand holding a mobile device for online shopping

Before e-commerce became widely known and accepted, going into stores to get consumers products like shoes, bags, groceries, etc., was an accepted norm. While some considered it fun and interesting, others considered it a chore, something they just tick off their to-do list. However, with the advance in technology and innovations that brought about online shopping, we have multiple options to pick from. So which do you prefer – in-store or online shopping? Here are the pros and cons of each.

Pros of In-Store Shopping

  1. Better Prices: Buying in-store can help you get the best price because you have an opportunity to bargain and get deals that fit your budget.
  2. Opportunity to Socialize: Shopping in-store can afford you the opportunity to meet new people and create a new experience with friends. You get the opportunity to request other’s opinions on what you’re about to buy.
  3. Traction: You can see and feel the quality of the material you’re about to buy up-close. You also can test out different sizes before deciding on the one perfect for you. There’s some sort of thrill that comes with trying products out before buying.
  4. You get your products immediately: This eliminates the apprehension that comes with expecting an item to be delivered to you. 
  5. No Shipping Fee: You avoid shipping fees when you shop in-store, although some stores offer free shipping for some products.

Cons of In-Store Shopping

  1. It consumes time most especially if you have to enter multiple stores to compare prices.
  2. Finding the right store for what you are looking for can be a hassle.
  3. You might not find your size at local stores and might have to go back.

Pros of Shopping Online 

  1. Convenience: You can shop at any time, this is because the internet never sleeps, you can make orders wherever and whenever you want.
  2. Ordering for Friends and Family: When you order online, you can have gifts delivered directly to its recipient. This eliminates the need of you wrapping and then sending through a courier or the post office. 
  3. Saves Time: All you have to do is click through different e-commerce stores to look for what you need.
  4. Shopping Cart: You can put things you intend buying for later into your shopping cart.
  5. Wider varieties: Shopping online gives you a wider variety of things and sellers to be sure you get the best price and quality. 

Cons of Shopping Online

  1. Shopping on an unsecured website can open you to fraud. 
  2. Sometimes, what you see is usually not what you get.
  3. It might take a long time for your products to get delivered to you.

Online and Offline shopping both have their advantages and disadvantages. Note that shopping preferences can change depending on a person’s situation at the moment. For example, a person that works at a place that barely affords them time for themselves would prefer to shop online, compared to someone who works remotely. In-store or online shopping? Pick a style that suits you best and find a way to work around its pitfalls.

What to look out for when Purchasing a POS System

pos system - cash point having an embedded touchscreen, pos receipt printer, scanner, cash drawer and keyboard

Thanks to the increasing need to improve customer flexibility and the overall need to improve customers’ experience at every stage of a business transaction, the need for purchasing a POS (Point Of Sales) system is on the rise.

Trying to get a good quality product comes with some sort of apprehension. The process of checking websites for reviews or asking friends about their experience can be exhausting. You often wish there is a way you can easily find out everything you need to know about the best product that can meet your exact needs at a certain time.

Are you a business owner? Do you recognize the importance of quality and excellent service? Are you trying to ease your Sales and Inventory Management processes? Are you thinking of getting the right Point-Of-Sales (POS) device? this article is designed for you. 

What is a Point of Sale system (POS)?

 A Point of sales system is a combination of both hardware and software that provides you with the necessary tools to track your sales and inventory. It is like a hub where everything that revolves around sales is contained. Thus, a POS system holds a pivotal role in your business

Components of a Point of Sale system

For a POS system to function properly, you need both the software and hardware to work cohesively. Below are the major components you should look out for when purchasing a POS system.

                                                                                                                         

Hardware

1.  The pos touchscreen terminal: 

six touchscreen terminals - pos system

A touchscreen terminal is an input device that allows its user input information and react to what is displayed using a stylus pen or finger. Touch screen systems are very pivotal to retail and hospitality businesses. Employees can touch a part of the touch screen instead of using a mouse, saving time and reducing clutter in the POS area. This is most useful in restaurants where images of the menu items can be displayed on the sales screen for easy identification. Hence, reducing errors usually made when picking items and also fastens the sales process.   

2. Cash drawer: This is a mechanical or electrical compartment used for storing cash and other valuables, It slides in and out of its lockable box and is secured by a spring-loaded catch. When a transaction that involves cash is completed, the drawer opens automatically. It can be set-up this way also for receipts from card transactions.

pos system - cash drawer

3. The Receipt printer: Receipt printers are an important part of a point of sale (POS) system. They are used in retail environments to print credit card slips and customer receipts. In restaurants, it can be used to print ordering slips in the bar and kitchen. It helps with keeping a good track of each sale and for pos reconciliations. this way you can properly handle the accounting of a business.

STAR TSP100 pos receipt printer

4.  Scanner: Scanners plays a predominant role in the efficient operation of your business. This device reads barcodes and enters product information directly to your item list. It helps in simplifying the sales process and reducing check out time.

pos system barcode scanner - honeywell fusion scanner

Software

The functionality of your business is largely dependent on the kind of software you use. Point-Of-Sales software helps with inventory tracking, customer loyalty management, sales monitoring, employee management and so much more. This is why more people regard it as sales and inventory management software. 

They are customized for various types of businesses. For example, we have the ICG front rest for the Hospitality Industry and the ICG front retail for retail businesses. When purchasing a POS system, these are the things you should look out for in the pos software component:

Ø Comprehensive data storage

Ø Allows for mobile support

Ø Extra features (Plug-ins e.g. SMS and e-commerce)

Ø Flexibility (Ability to tweak its configuration, customization)

Ø Training and support on POS software

Ø Cloud-based Service

Ø User-friendly

A superb point of sales system is a marriage between the software and hardware systems. Investing in a suitable system would not only push your business to be better by bringing in new customers but also help you manage your process and reduce your stress level. There are different brands of POS out there, which may vary slightly in functionality but generally, a good POS should have all that was listed above.

Is Point of Sales System an Investment or an Expense?


For a growing business, longevity and expansion are always a primary focus. Having a structured system that helps improve sales and customers’ experience is very paramount for business owners. The use of the Point of Sales system is especially recommended for retail and hospitality businesses to achieve this.

It is logical for businesses to make a priority list of the cost needed to purchase tools and resources. When prioritizing costs, viewing everything as an expense can result in some tools being pushed to the bottom of the priority list. This “everything is an expense” mindset can create more expenses for a business rather than cut down costs. The reason is that once every cost is viewed as an expense, decisions made will be based on a survival mode rather than a growth model. The key is to know and understand the difference between what is an expense to the business and what is an investment in the business. Businesses gain more in weighing each cost using a Return On Investment (ROI) model applicable to each.

What is the ROI of a Point of Sales (POS) System?

A Point of Sales (POS) System is an integration of both hardware and software. The POS System provides essential tools to track, measure and manage sales and inventory operations. Thus the ROI of a Point of Sales system is based on its impact on revenue or profit. In determining the ROI of a POS System,

1) look at the features of the particular point of sales system being offered and

2) check how it aids achieving the primary goal of increased revenue and profit

picture of a retail store with several point of sales systems

What makes a Point of Sales system an investment?

1. Inventory and Supplier Management

The inventory processes in a Point of Sales Software help track stock in warehouses. This provides statistical information that helps with production, supplier management, inventory control, stock variances, minimum and maximum stock levels, etc.

2. Accurate Reporting for Business Decisions

A POS system is very important to all businesses because it structures processes thus minimizing human errors. Point of Sales (POS) systems provide accurate reporting on inventories, shows you the top-selling/least selling products, gross profit, taxes, sales activity, highest selling location/cashier, trial balance, income statement, etc. By knowing what sells best, what items are most profitable, what seasons, day or time of the week have the most traffic, etc., businesses can make decisions that help improve their product offerings and service delivery.

3. Employee Management

Time and Attendance function,user-defined rights, and privileges, top seller, audit control are features that help streamline processes to limit fraud and excesses.

4. Ability to handle multiple branches

In the past, a business owner with multiple chain stores would find it hard getting accurate reports from various branches. But with a good POS software like the ICG software, businesses can manage multiple locations, and multi-companies remotely. With just a click you know how well each store is doing without having to be there physically. Also, a business looking to expand would be better off investing in a point of sales solution that is scalable and extendable as the business grows.  The solution should have the capacity to include add-ons or extra modules as needed.

5. Customer Relationship Management

Improving the customer experience through the quality and speed of service offered is one thing businesses in the retail and hospitality sector do not overlook. If a customer had to wait too long on a queue to pay for their purchase they would most likely leave dissatisfied and be less inclined to come back a second time. This is the reason investing in a Point of Sales System is important. It helps reduce wait time and unnecessary queues. With Point of Sales solutions, reward consistent customers through loyalty benefits and promos. This helps retain current customers and grow sales.

 

In conclusion, though POS systems come at a cost, it helps control expenses. Using statistical information from the POS system, businesses can plan their inventory and sales strategy for overall growth and profit. By understanding what sells best, what items are most profitable, what seasons, day or time of the week have the most traffic. A POS system is a valuable investment in technology because it takes a certain amount of strain off your shoulder. It may seem a little costly at first… eventually, it helps save so much more. Considering the outweighing benefits, whether a cloud or an on-premise solution, it is definitely worth it.