If you’re looking for gym or spa EPOS, you might be here because:
- you’re mainly looking for primary business management software for your gym or spa.
- you’re mainly looking for a means of accepting payment and you already have primary business management software.
- you want an “EPOS” (till) for a mini shop or cafe, which is peripheral to your main business.
This article will examine all three scenarios – but we’ll divide what gets described as an “EPOS” into front-end till features and back-office business management features.
EPOS “till” features for your gym or spa
A) Selling via EPOS software
If you want to take card payments in exchange for goods or services in your store, you need a POS system.
EPOS software (including free EPOS software) is designed for your staff to sell items or services. In our systems, these software brands are downloadable as apps to tablets – nearly always in iOS, and often in Windows or Android.
Things like returns or partial returns, discounts, receipt printing or emailing, and even parked orders, are common among EPOS software brands. You can also investigate the data coming through your till – which items are the most popular? Are there any trends month on month?
Learn about front-of-house EPOS features
EPOS software is distinct from payment processing, even though some payment processors produce free EPOS software. (So it’s possible to get both of these combined, but it’s best to think of them as distinct.)
Think of it like this. EPOS software is software for your business or till; payment processing is an arrangement with a bank. We’d advise you to choose your spa EPOS software first, and then proceed to payments.
B) Payment Processing
We normally think of in-store payment processing as having three decision points. The first decision point is whether you want your payment to be integrated with your EPOS software. If your payment processing is integrated with your EPOS, your staff member building a basket and pressing “buy” will cue the correct price on the card reader, ready for the customer to pay. (Without integrated payments, you would have to manually write out the payment value for each purchase – like you often get in restaurants.)
The second decision is whether you want pay-as-you-go or contract payments. Pay-as-you-go processors are more convenient – there’s no contract, and the card reader works out of the box. You also buy rather than rent the card reader, and you don’t have to fill in any paperwork.
Traditional or contract payments are often cheaper, but this depends on a few factors. Businesses with larger average purchase sizes (e.g. a swiss watch shop) are likely to be disproportionately better off with traditional processors than those with smaller average purchase sizes (e.g. a coffee shop). We’d say that if you’re selling gym equipment, you’re likely to be better off with a traditional processor; if you’re selling cups of tea, a pay-as-you-go vendor is likely to be the cheapest solution for you.
We’ve got a crack team dedicated to working out the cheapest payment processing available in every scenario, including this one. If you’re prepped to take cards in your store, take five minutes to talk to us about the different choices for you available.
If you’re primarily interested in the till rather than the complexer back-office function, “reporting” may be the area into which it’s prudent to put the most thought. “Reporting” is the term that gets used to describe the suite of business intelligence tools that come with most modern tills to process the data that comes through them. Reporting varies from system to system by the level of precision things like data selection tools, and how many custom lenses you’re able to view the data through.
Reporting analyses only the data which comes through the till – if you’re selling cups of tea, then you will be able to discern the trends towards chamomile and away from green tea. You might be able to view things like attachment rates – and perceive that if you sell spin classes, day gym passes for the same day surge and are bought disproportionately by the same people.
You can integrate with accounting software for the mathsier stuff. If you’re using multiple systems to sell your passes (such as via an online platform) it’s useful to aggregate your data – and you can see what’s selling well online versus in-store.
Primary Business Management features for my gym or spa
This part of the article is going to examine more complex features which you might want in your gym or spa – in particular, software which will help you manage the business. Reporting around elements of your business which don’t run through the till would fall into this category; as would things like your marketing and e-commerce funnel, which will be a bigger part of your thinking than many of the shops we deal with.
With gyms and spas, some of the main requirements of the software you want for your store will fall outside of a traditional remit of a point-of-sale (EPOS).
This doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of choices available – there are – just that we’re getting into the fringes of what gets described as a point-of-sale system, and what doesn’t. EPOS is a huge category of software which mainly serves the neighbouring world of shops and restaurants. A lot of the business management features designed in the world of EPOS are primarily written for them, because there are more of them. Generic EPOS designed for anyone also tends to be a little cheaper than specialist gym or spa software.
With that in mind: sometimes, it will make sense to find business management software which has been purpose-built for gyms or spas. A subset of those will have “till features” thrown in; or you may choose to get separate till software and integrate it if you have a till on the side as part of your set-up.
Sometimes, it will make sense to reappropriate generic EPOS software as your gym EPOS from a business management perspective. For example, iZettle Pro is really targeted at restaurants but can work in gyms, and might be a bit cheaper.
Additionally, some gyms and spas will require software ecosystems where several softwares talk to each other and do different things – and EPOS software might play a large or a small role in it.
As a rule of thumb, the gym and spa specialist stuff will be more expensive. If you’re a small outfit with fewer specific requirements, you may well be happy with generalist software which you can loosely fit to your gym. If you have a specific thing you want the software to do, you may be better off getting something which is broadly the right fit and then integrating a unique second bit of software to do that one task – in the example, see Booxi, which is designed for scheduling an appointment. The best set-up for you would depend on the details of how you want your business to run.
As you may know, MIND BODY is one dominant software brand on the gym and spa landscape precisely because it is purpose-built with features we’ll describe shortly. If you like MIND BODY, that’s great. If you think MIND BODY isn’t for you, we’ll talk about ways of adapting other software for gym or spa business processes.
Gym & Spa Software Requirements Beyond EPOS
To recap, EPOS systems are traditionally concerned with the buying and selling of goods and services. They can cue items on a card reader ready to pay; and if you do have products you wish to sell at your gym, they will help you manage things like an inventory of those products. They can also usually integrate with other software verticals like accounting, e-commerce, and service booking. (Read a full feature breakdown of a normal EPOS).
There are two big capabilities that you may need in your store software which traditional EPOS systems don’t normally serve. They are membership/access management; and service booking. Both of these can be integrated with good EPOS software and sometimes come as features in business management software designed for gyms or spas.
Membership and access management
Membership and access management is concerned with the keeping of customers on a database, printing out some kind of access key, and permitting them to access a site or sites based on their credentials in that database.
As systems get better, you can distinguish between more tiers of access; and you can manage the keys centrally to a greater extent. For example, at the top end, you could build a credit-based system in which users are allocated certain numbers of credits, in which different “rooms” or services use up different numbers of credits; where credits are tracked in real-time, and where someone’s behaviour data feeds into an online marketing funnel. (You’ve bought eight-day passes to this gym – is it time to consider buying a membership?)
To make it more complex still, that level of sophistication is likely to include an online dimension – whereby customers can go online, access their account, and adjust their levels of credit with their saved debit cards. The set-up described here incurs on questions which touch every part of your software ecosystem: your business management/payment processing / CRM / e-commerce software / and only payment processor.
Service booking is software designed to book services. At the very simple end, you could do this through EPOS software – you could get a traditional cheap EPOS, insert your services as “products”, turn off the inventory features, and tap “massage” on a normal POS at a set price. That would enable you to take payment for that service, and analyse what services are doing well or poorly. Better software would also be able to allocate for services (“products”) with a lot of attributes. E.g. a “45-minute” / “hot stone” / massage conducted by “Brian”, who might have a different hourly price to Jane, is easy to ring through.
However, the set-up described wouldn’t link to a calendar. Specialist software could enable you to integrate staff calendars with automated service booking on the customer end – if your customer wants a massage tomorrow from Jane at three o’clock and you would like that to automatically appear on Jane’s calendar, that’s possible to do – but not with EPOS software.
Recurring payments are something that traditional payment processors aren’t usually set-up to handle. However, there’s a lot of online processors that are capable of this. If you have a membership, this is really more of a question which would relate to online payments as part of your e-commerce software. E-commerce is a huge topic all of its own, so this is outside the scope of this article.
If you’re still confused about how to go about choosing an EPOS system, or you just want some recommendations, give us a call and we can talk through all the software on the market.