If you’re a wine, spirit, or a specialist beverage shop it’s important to get the right EPOS system. The EPOS marketplace is forever expanding and all the different features available can leave many merchants confused. Drop us a line today and our industry experts will walk you through all your options.
Below, we’ve covered the EPOS feature essentials for your wine or spirit store, which will vary depending on your size and offering. A tailored EPOS system takes the pain out of stock management and helps you use your reports to make informed business decisions. If you have questions or you think one of the set-ups could work for you, give us a call!
EPOS Features to watch out for – for wine shops
Beyond the normal functions of an EPOS system for retail, there are some features which are specifically pertinent and alcohol shops it would be useful to ask about when talking to an EPOS software provider.
Front of House
The responsibility not to sell alcohol to underage persons lies with you and your employees. EPOS software helps you to stay within the law by providing a built in ID check that will remind staff to ask for proof of age when selling wine or spirits.
Quick access menu
For efficient sales at the counter, you’ll want a quick menu where you can add discounts and modifiers easily.
Fine wines can escalate in price. Ensure that your refunds and discounts concerning your valuable stock are reserved for those authorized – such as the store manager – by setting up staff permissions on your EPOS.
If you’re a chain wine merchant, you’ll want your staff to easily stock check across stores. If a customer requests a bottle of wine X, but it’s at the other store, some systems will allow you to apply for a transfer, too.
Identify what sells and what doesn’t with comprehensive analytics. The sales of each of your products will likely differ across the year; for example, you might notice a peak in sales of a certain kind of wine at Christmas. Drive sales by adequately stocking and promoting this particular product. You can apply multiple lenses to your reports depending on which factors you’d like to test.
Stock management will be supremely important as you’ll often have stock changing and you’ll need to keep abreast of what wines you have on the shelves (and for how long).
Real-time stock taking
Set up product and category data with prices, tax, stock and description. Quality control will be essential here too, and will affect the saleability of your stock: are all your wines in date and under the right temperature/ humidity level? The law states that if a customer buys wine that is already oxidised or “corked”, they’re entitled to a refund from the retailer for up to 5 years – so make sure you update all your stock numbers if a batch comes back or becomes unsaleable. Keep an eye on stock shrinkage by manually stock taking and then updating your sheets.
Cloud-based EPOS software can store vast amounts of inventory data in the cloud that’s constantly updated (What is the cloud?). Depending on integrations, cloud software will synchronise with your online store and accounting software.
Recording imports from suppliers
Simply by having a robust and well-structured inventory, you’ll be able to accurately record dates of shipments and streamline stock imports from your suppliers. Manage your products, customers and suppliers from one central database that stores your entire history. And, track supplier accounts by their contact details and the products delivered to you, as well as pack sizes and barcodes. Can you import products by CSV files?
Stock alerts and suggestions
Inventory management will alert you to low stock levels and suggest you reorder to par stock (your normal suggested stock level) at the touch of a button. Advanced EPOS systems may be set up to order new stock automatically. You might also want to be able to add products on the front-end of an EPOS so new deliveries and new stock can be added to the system quickly.
In any POS system, you should be able to quickly navigate to your wines/beers/spirits by clicking the “inventory” tab. This should give you a fast look at the state of your inventory at the minute.
With Delivery Platforms
If you sell alcohol via Deliveroo, some softwares – and not others – will enable you to integrate your data with certain delivery platform interfaces, so you can keep track of your stock properly, do reporting properly, and generally understand your business correctly. Because of the number of integrations available, this could be via something called “middleware”, which is software that’s designed only to plug software A into software B.
Check out our EPOS systems for takeaway page to understand which POS providers are compatible with which middleware and delivery platforms.
With E-commerce software
If you sell wines online, you may choose to integrate your EPOS with your E-commerce platform. Most obviously, this would enable you to pull from the same inventory figures with both softwares; but also has a lot of application in reporting and marketing. Check whether an out-the-box integration is available, or consider using the same provider for both (airPOS or Shopify, for example).
You’ll typically hear the word “omnichannel” being used to refer to the retail trend by which your customers use more than one channel during their shopping journey. Your social media presence, your brick-and-mortar store, and your e-commerce site are synchronised as one. This benefits you as well as your shopper, letting your customers shop your wines 24/7 and leading to increased consumer spending.
Middle range systems will let your wine-buyers “click and collect” instore. With click and collect, independent retailers have the perfect way to differentiate themselves from online wholesalers and deliver both convenience and experience.
Complex EPOS systems, such as Lightspeed Retail, will let you order stock directly from your EPOS, create special orders and reserve stock for customers in the system. Along with that, they can support personalised marketing funnels for individualised bonuses and points.
With accounting software
The EPOS systems we sell on this site are usually integrated with either Xero, Quickbooks, or both – so bear that in mind if you’re a user of accounting software. An integration here would mean that the accounting software would continually be updated with what’s bought and sold in your wine shop.
With Inventory Management
As you get bigger, you might find that it’s tough to manage your inventory with the tools in an EPOS system. When you have three or four sites it might be worth thinking about inventory management software in addition to an EPOS system. This is particularly true if you include perishable goods in your inventory. Wine, on the other hand, only gets better with age ;).
Marketing and loyalty
Boost your brand name with a loyalty programme. This can take many forms including:
A good way of making your customers’ purchase more memorable, as you can customise the receipt to display your brand name, opening hours and promotions. The contact details you collect hold tons of marketing promise, which we’re going to explore below.
We know that investing in your existing customers can reap very healthy rewards for your business. You might opt for a customer retention strategy as basic as a stamped ticket.
It might be that your loyalty card allows shoppers to earn points. Staff can enter the customer’s ID number or scan a loyalty card so points from a purchase are instantly added to the customers’ account.
Integrated customer profiles
Can you add information about your customer to your CRM? Some EPOS have CRM modules, which will let you set up accounts, but this capacity is likely to be limited. Integrate your EPOS system with your specialised Customer Relationship Management software, for more sophisticated tasks. For example, you may want to have all your previous correspondence with a customer on file – so if they bring up a dispute, all the evidence is there and searchable by name.
More than just a ‘shop’ – offer wine tastings and a small bar
To compete with the larger wine retailers and supermarkets, a key tactic that many small wine shops are adopting is hosting events. For example, you might arrange a ticketed “wine school” or wine tasting event. Or you might dedicate repurpose some space of your shop as a small bar.
Supermarkets typically cannot offer the welcoming advice and expertise that your wine staff can provide – so maximise upon this advantage by increasing the opportunities available for your staff to interact with customers.
With the customer data collected from your EPOS – name and email, for example – you can send out targeted promotions and invite your VIP customers to your events. Read up on GDPR before you begin, as there are rules around what you do with this data (i.e you need customers’ opt-in consent before you send them emails).
Example Set-Ups for Wine Shops
Here’s one example of a basic POS set-up for wine shops. Shopify POS and Airpos are two leading brands which are templated, simple, and easy to use.
They probably provide less flexibility than premium POS in exchange for a greater level of intuitiveness.Both Shopify POS and Airpos also make e-commerce easy, where you buy and pay for their e-comm service at the same time.
However, while airpos is a POS company first and an e-commerce platform second; Shopify POS is an e-commerce platform first and a POS company second. Which is more important to your business? We find that generally where companies produce a core product and then ancillary modules, the core product will be the best one.
We’d also note that Shopify POS payments can be a little on the pricier end – unlike Airpos, you need to go with Shopify’s providers or pay an additional fee, so Shopify may work out as expensive.
Big Store Set-Up
Bigger and more complex stores may wish to choose between Lightspeed Retail and Vend POS.
Both are great systems; we’d say that Lightspeed Retail is generally a little complexer and has a few more functions than Vend. But Vend is designed to be really easy to use; and has a superb library of information.
You can see that here, Lightspeed is plugged into Magneto e-commerce, which is an open source platform. (That means you need to hire a developer to look at it; but that it’s generally more flexible than Shopify and you can sort out payments on your own terms.)
Remember, unless you choose “free POS”, which is generally provided by payment processors, you’ll need to choose a payment processor in addition to EPOS software. We generally recommend that you choose your EPOS software first and come to payments second. The reason for this is that if you want integrated payments (explained shortly) you need to choose a processor from that software’s shortlist.
We generally think of payment decisions as having three decision points.
Decision Point 1: Pay as you go or contract?
Pay as you go processors (via the card readers in the right of the above image) confer a lot of extra convenience to their users versus contract processors. So some people choose them even in circumstances where they’re more expensive.
The principal advantage is that you’re not tied to a contract. You buy a reader rather than renting one, which works out cheaper. Best of all, there’s no contract, so you can start and stop processing whenever you like.
PAYG processors all have “headline rates” which are flat at around 1.75% for all card types, although these can reduce if you process enough. In contrast, contract processors have complex rates which are disclosed through a bidding process. Call us to understand which is likely to be cheaper for you; or read our advice here.
Decision point 2: integrated or not?
If you choose integrated payments, then when you tap the product, the price of the item will queue automatically on the card reader. (This is in contrast to what happens in restaurants, for example, where you would enter the correct amount into your card reader.) The big benefit of integration is that it makes your POS faster as you don’t have to type everything out twice.
If you chose a PAYG processor, it’s really easy – we can check for you whether each processor has an out-the-box integration with your POS set up.
If you chose a contract reader, you need something called a payment application which is software that sits on the terminal and communicates between terminal and your software. This maybe something which is ready-built.
Decision point 3: which is cheapest?
Once you’ve decided that you need, for example, a traditional processor and you don’t need to integrate with your EPOS; or you want a pay-as-you-go processor which does; call us. The remaining question is which is the cheapest option out there.
If you’re choosing traditional, read our advice on how to get the cheapest contracts.
If you’re opting for PAYG, read our advice on which of these works out cheapest.
Call us today!
Can your EPOS grow and scale with your business? Does your EPOS fully understand your business, marketplace and consumer base? Choosing the right EPOS system for your store can be challenging but very rewarding. We’ve got a team on hand to help – give us a call for free here.