Best Practices for Converting your Point of Sale Data

A lot can go wrong with converting your data…

After much research and POS product demonstrations, you’re excited that you have made your decision and purchased a new point of sale and retail management system. But you are not so excited about this dreaded data conversion you’re about to do. More than likely, your data records are messy, incomplete and long overdue for major clean-up. If this is true, then you already know that a fiasco awaits ahead.

tips and tricks for data conversion

These large gaps and incorrect data can create problems and potential delays with implementing your new POS system, and you’re probably feeling disheartened and ill-equipped. Does this sound familiar?

Well, we here at CAM Commerce don’t want you to feel anxious, but instead, continue to be excited about your new POS system. So here are some tips and tricks for your upcoming data conversion.

Create a POS Data Conversion Plan

The Great Wall, Mt. Rushmore, the Eifel Tower, and your future data conversion. What do these all have in common? They were are all accomplished by planning. Start with these three questions.

Ask yourself first, what do you want to accomplish with this project?

To do this, you’ll need to start with knowing what data to move or keep. In regards to how much data to save, we suggest converting the sales history, product, and customer data from the past two years.

What is your timeline for this project?

This conversion needs have projected goals and when those goals should be completed. You’re more likely to succeed on time if you’re ensuring that steps of the projects are progressing and finished.

Make sure to add any variables from your actual business to your conversion timeline. It wouldn’t be wise to plan a massive data conversion that is manipulating and extrapolating your records if you’re in the middle of your peak sales season.

Finally, is there any POS data restrictions and regulations that need to be known by the retail management provider?

Mostly, make sure to plan out some rules to play by. If you have certain specifications for your retail data conversion, make sure to state and enforce them.

For example, if you need all literal values to be reinstated again as literal values after transformation/cleaning, then specify that. If not, you may not be happy with the results of your conversion simply because your specifications were either not known or enforced beforehand.

First… Scrub Your Retail Data (and then scrub again!)

Okay, so you have a plan in place. Next, you need to scrub all of your POS data to see if there is any data that is incomplete, improperly formatted or duplicated, along with any duplicated customer records, etc. All of this will need to be cleaned up and corrected.
This cleaning up can be quite daunting and an enormous task. So, often times, retail software providers will offer a service for data scrubbing and cleaning, to take the burden off of you, the retailer.

Recommendations for scrubbing your data:

Keep products that:

  • Are attached to converted sales history
  • Have on hand values (if physical inventory is done regularly)
  • Are on current purchase orders and receiving
  • Are new products recently created but not attached to a document
  • Use an open field that can be exported to flag items to keep/delete (for very selective cleaning)

Keep customers that:

  • Are attached to converted sales history
  • Have valid data like email addresses (for email promotions)
  • Use an open field that can be exported to flag items to keep/delete (for very selective cleaning)

Keep vendors that:

  • You currently buy from moving forward

Then… Test, Test, and Test Again

Your point of sale system went through its own quality assurance when its developers constructed it, but that doesn’t mean that it is explicitly programmed for your retail business. This is why it is important to do testing.

Testing your new POS system will ensure everything is working, based on how your store operates, and can eliminate those comprehensively detailed debacles before you securely integrate it as a technological pillar of your business.

Don’t Forget to Back-up Your POS Data As You Go

Sometimes you have done everything correctly, and your entire plan will still wholly fail. You may have scrubbed and reformatted your data to be exactly what you needed, converted and secured all of your data into its new home, all to be lost because of a system crash. It is crucial that you have regularly scheduled data back-ups, even daily. Even during your POS implementation process, you should always back up your database at every critical point. You will save yourself the feeling of defeat and know that if your system crashes, you only need to start two steps back and not fifty steps back at the starting line.

Key Takeaways For Your Successful Data Conversion

Data conversion doesn’t have to be as scary as you think.

  • Make a good plan with goals. Nothing great was ever built merely by accident.
  • Scrub and clean your data. If you don’t have the time and energy it takes to properly clean your data, you can hire your retail software provider to do it. But your data needs to be clean nonetheless, before you start fresh in a new POS system.
  • Test out your POS system and ensure that it is going to integrate entirely and perform well with your business.
  • Finally, back up at every critical point you can. Data conversion can be seen as climbing a mountain. It’d be best to make sure that if you fall, you don’t fall too far and are tethered somewhere along your descent.

Following these guidelines are going to make your upcoming data conversion a lot easier and hopefully give you a little more peace of mind. Happy data-converting!


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