When it comes down to your business, the answer to this question should be crystal clear. You rely on your vendor to help you operate your business on a day-to-day basis, during business hours and beyond. There should is no room for fluff when it comes to your point-of-sale software, just substance.
1- Reliable Products that are Never the Topic of Consistent Negative Discussions
Downtime in your shop not only hurts your bottom line, it damages your customer's perspective of how you run your store and how trustworthy your business truly is. You can't afford downtime, ever.
2- Stable Products Backed by Stable Companies
You shouldn't have to worry if your provider is going to be absorbed by a competitor, forcing you to scramble to make a costly business decision that could adversely affect your business for years to come. You rely on your software daily, you should never have to worry that there's an expiration date for your vendor.
3- The Ability to Grow and Listen to the Customer Base
eCommerce is becoming a necessity for small business owners to really expand their footprint and make themselves nationally- and in some cases internationally-known. Your provider needs to read market trends to see where the next wave is coming from to properly improve your system for the changing times.
4- The Ability to Execute and Innovate as a Company
Business transparency is a key differentiator in the vendor arena. A company that releases innovative products that work is so important. It is one thing to release a lot of products quickly but that's only beneficial if they work for you, are compliant and have been fully tested. Your vendor should have a solid business plan/road map and be willing to share updates consistently with its client base -- that is the sign of a company who has nothing to hide.
5- And above all.. Having a High Integrity Approach to Transacting Business from A-Z
From the first contact made with a representative of a company, you should feel like you've made the best choice for you and your business. Open lines of communication from all sides of the business are critical for smooth operation for everyone involved, the vendor, clients, extending all the way down the end users' experience.