The last several years have seen a lot of new retail POS systems hit the market. Targeted at basic retail these systems tend to be very inexpensive and are sometimes even presented as being free, though in reality they are being paid for with hidden fees in the form of higher credit card clearing fees.
Some florists have been tempted to try these systems out but quickly remembered something they had known all along:
The flowers business is not like regular retail!
These new pared-down “minimum viable product” POS systems are great for small retailers in certain situations – like a mall kiosk, or a craft show, but they just do not cut it for real florists.
What Makes Floral So Different From Regular Retail?
Florists do everything a typical retailer does but they also…
Run A Manufacturing Business/Restaurant
Almost everything sold in a flower shop is prepared from scratch. How many other retailers can say that? In addition to running a store the typical florist is also doing on–demand manufacturing like a manufacturer or food prep like a restaurant.
Run A Same Day Courier Service
How many other retailers are also running a courier business and expediting same day delivery?
Deal With Order Relay
How often do you go to a regular retailer and expect that they can instantly arrange to have a gift delivered by another retailer in another city on the same day? Or receive, prepare and deliver an order they receive from another retailer?
And All With A Highly Perishable Product!
Just to make all of the above more difficult florists deal with a delicate, highly perishable product!
What Does This Mean When Choosing a POS System For Your Retail Flower Shop?
Most retailers have it pretty easy. They need a POS system that lets them ring in and report on sales, process credit cards and issue receipts, maybe do some inventory management and track employee hours. The bare bones systems can do that.
But florists also need software and features that helps them handle all of what makes the flower business so unique…
Most retailers have to worry about little more than printing receipt slips but florists are constantly switching between printers and paper sources as they print receipts, enclosure cards, tickets, bar code labels and more. The need a system that automates printing so they don’t have to manually select printers and click through dialog boxes.
Advanced Sales Tax Reporting
Unlike typical retailers who don’t have to think about tax florists are often dealing with items (food, fruit baskets, sometimes wine/alcohol) and customers (retailers, churches, non-profits that are tax exempt, and they need reports that make their sales tax returns easy.
Customer vs Recipient
Most retail assumes that the person being the goods is the person that will end up with the goods. In retail floral that is almost never the case – the person buying the flowers is usually not the person receiving the flowers. Florists need software that was built with this understanding from the ground up.
In general most retail assumes “as soon as possible” but that is not the case in floral. People often want to place their orders in advance and florists need a way to organize that.
Remember how you are running a manufacturing business? You need a system that helps you organize and manage production, not just print receipts.
Florists are not just different from regular retailers in that they have to make deliveries – with rising fuel costs and a shrinking labor market they need tools that let them optimize delivery routes and a mobile app the allows their drivers to capture signatures and send delivery confirmations from the road.
Typical retail POS systems don’t handle enclosure cards or work tickets. Florists need a system that does.
Those are just a few examples of the special features needed to run a flower shop profitably and efficiently but there are many, many more.
And once florists see what a real POS/shop management system designed and built exclusively for the retail flower business can do they understand it’s the best investment they can make.