If you have the term POS system being mentioned in business meetings and on the blogs, it’s probably because it’s important. In a world where every business wishes they could lower their costs of operations, point-of-sale machines are the saviors.
What is a POS System?
A POS system is a collection of hardware devices and computer software used to accept payments, record sales and manage inventory. The best systems also track employee hours and print receipts. Some also help customers take orders and assist managers in processing payrolls.
More than a dozen companies provide the software needed to run POS systems while you are tasked with the work of buying the hardware parts. Depending on your business, several iPads could be enough to accept payments and track employee hours. A big retailer may, however, need computers, cash registers, credit card payment devices and receipt printers.
What businesses use POS Systems?
Most businesses in the retail industry can benefit from a POS system. The purpose of the machines is to accept payments and keep accurate sales records- -which is what every business would want. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, coffee shops pharmacies, and clothing stores are some of the most common businesses where you will find POS systems.
Each business gets a customized system when they work with the right provider. A coffee shop could get a system with a menu of all the items they sell. It also includes accepted payment methods and reward systems where repeat customers get points with every sale. The last bit is optional but it can help drive your sales up by rewarding loyalty.
Types of POS Systems
- Desktop POS System
With this system, the POS software is installed on desktop computers or laptops. Traditionally, all POS machines worked with computers and stored data on expensive servers. The retail business paid for everything, including server maintenance.
These days, desktop POS systems work both online or offline. A restaurant that wants to save on costs and store its data on the cloud. That way, they avoid buying servers and other expensive equipment needed to run offline POS systems.
You need more than a desktop computer to have a complete POS system. If you plan to accept credit card payments, you must have a card reader. You’ll also need cash registers and printers. Basically, the computer’s job is to host the software.
- Mobile POS System
In a similar way to mobile POS systems, the mobile device only plays one role in the POS ecosystem. Whether it’s an android tablet or an iPhone, the device hosts the software used to take orders and accept payments.
A cash register is still required to keep cash and print receipts. A card reader and a barcode reader may also be needed depending on the services offered. Unlike with desktops, rarely do mobile POS machines not store their data online.
As they are commonly known, M-POS systems came to revolutionize the industry with mobile POS systems. They are easy to carry around and can be placed around the tables to allow customers to make payments independently.
POS buying Tips
If you are to make it in the competitive modern retail industry, you’ll have to buy a POS system. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to buy a good POS. Ensure you make the right decision by following these tips:
- Find out what it Offers
POS systems sometimes target different industries and work on different platforms. Read about the providers, where they are cloud-based, mobile or desktop based. Learn whether they target specific businesses like bars or their services are generalized.
Basic POS providers are designed for payment processing alone. Look for a service with more features like inventory management and customer report management. Keep in mind that not all features may benefit your business- -be keen to find services that will help your business.
- Read Customer Reviews
The easiest way to find out the most popular systems among customers is to read their reviews. Shopkeep, for instance, ranks among the best rated Mobile POS systems among iPad users.
Most of the modern POS providers work on a month by month basis. The costs can be expensive depending on the brand and services offered. Find a provider that fulfills your needs, has good customer approval ratings and is affordable.
Benefits of Using POS Systems
POS systems offer a lot of benefits to any retail business that uses them. Below are some of them:
- Accepting Payments
POS systems are designed to accept payments from customers and recording successful sales. A good system will process all kinds of modern payments. From cash to credit cards, PayPal to bitcoins, POS machines aren’t limited to what they can accept.
Except for cash, you need to have a payment processing partner to make accepting payments a success. With debit and credit payments, get a credit card processor. With PayPal, ensure you have their payment gateway. The same applies to bitcoins and the more recent payment technology called Near Field Communication.
- Inventory Management
As sales are made at the front office, POS systems take not of products being removed from the stores. They adjust the records and send copies to store managers who can then make more purchases. Conventionally, the inventory managers did the job of tracking stock and re-purchasing items. With POS machines, their job is made easier and they are able to track inventory more efficiently.
- Better Customer Services
Besides saving their time by not subjecting them to long queues, POS systems can also print and email receipts to customers. In a bar or restaurant, they can interact with the iPad POS and make orders without bothering the waiters. Chefs get altered and deliver the orders.
From the records tracked by the software, the business can also learn more about their customers. With the consent, you can address customers by their names the next time you email them something. They can also record their likes and dislikes and help improve how they deliver services to such customers.
POS systems are on the rise around the world. In restaurants and bars, grocery stores and e-commerce businesses, they are the unsung heroes that help increase sales. The systems work on both mobile and desktop devices. They are Internet-connected and provide a wide range of services.