Software is a critical piece of any modern business. If your current system has been in place for many years, you may be thinking about a change. But how do you choose a new software partner? Use this guide to help you get started and stay focused. Written by SMRT GM Rick Mugno, former owner of Liberty Computer Systems and a 35-year veteran of the dry cleaning industry.

The early stage

Before you request a product demo, think about where you want your business to go and what is most important to you. 

  • Is efficiency your top priority? 
  • Do you plan to expand your operations? 
  • Are you starting or growing your route business? 
  • How do you communicate with customers and is that working? 
  • What is your tagging process and do you want to change it? 

Be prepared. Make a list of things you need and like about your current system and also compile a list of features you wish you had.

As you start the process of looking for a new system, stay open-minded. Understand that over the years there have been technological advances that may change the way you are used to doing things. But trust that in the long run, they will make your business more efficient.

A good rule of thumb is to find 2-3 companies to request a demo with. You can find options with a simple Google Search, trade publications, or by searching posts about DC POS systems in Facebook groups. Talk to other DCs and find out which system they use and what the pros/cons are. And definitely check reviews on Capterra, Google, etc., and rule out any that have red flags or are not keeping up with the latest technology and security protocols.

The demo stage 

Once you get to the demo, ensure the owner or decision maker is present along with a store manager or key employee with experience with your current POS. 

Focus on the daily functions because they are the most important. Do not waste time talking about that one item last year that came in and caused issues during processing! There are always going to be exceptions that will have to be dealt with when they occur.

During the demo, here are a few topics to cover:

  • Is your existing hardware compatible with the new system?
  • What is the implementation process like? 
  • Will all or part of your data be transferred over?
  • What is the cost to convert systems? Request a detailed quote.

Making a decision

You’ve talked to a few companies and now must choose one. Before you decide, ask for references, preferably ones that converted from your current POS. Ask them about their experiences and most importantly how the support after the installation has been. If you are on social media, check for chatter about your top options. 

Here are some other important things to think about before inking a deal:

  • Do you connect with your salesperson? They will be involved with your business even after you are up and running.
  • What does support look like before, during, and after implementation? If you don’t hear great things about the support team, will you feel comfortable putting your business in their hands?
  • Ease of use: How easy is it to do the things you do a couple of hundred times a day, like detailing and order processing, customer pickup, and delivery routes? Remember you will be training new employees frequently and you want that to be as easy as possible.
  • Reporting: What numbers do you look at daily? Can the POS software you are looking at show you these numbers quickly and clearly?

Finally, be prepared for some bumps in the road during the conversion process. There is a lot that goes into adopting a new system. But, the first test of the company you choose will be their ability to handle those bumps quickly and efficiently and to leave you confident that you’ve made the right choice. Good luck to you!

If SMRT is on your short list of software options, you are invited to schedule a demo with one of our experienced sales people and learn how our software can support your business.