If you plan to open a retail business, a point-of-sale (POS) system will be needed to complete sales, monitor inventory, and handle other aspects of your business. However, choosing a POS system can sometimes be challenging, because some are more intuitive to use than others or some provide you with more data than others.
POS systems can be mobile or fixed and they can have features that will help you run your company more efficiently.
The advantages of POS systems
We live in a world that is constantly changing. And while many businesses can operate with conventional payment methods, transactions, and tools, many others need digital technologies to connect them to particular systems and different devices.
One of the benefits of a POS system is that price tags are not required. Employees simply scan the barcode, which makes changing prices and applying discounts much more manageable.
Other important advantages are:
- Improved efficiency – because they can make the operations run more efficiently.
- Ease-of-use – because nowadays everything is digital and POS software is simple for employees to learn, which will result in reduced training time and will help them be more productive.
- Increased payment capabilities – because POS systems can accept various payment types such as EMV chip cards, contactless payments, mobile wallets.
- Reporting – POS systems have features that will allow you to keep an eye on sales, profits, and expenses. You will always have the data you need to make data-driven business decisions.
- Greater accuracy – they will minimize the risk of human error because they eliminate the need to enter data manually
- Simplified accounting – POS systems can help you print reports or even import data directly with your accounting software, which will result in more simplified operations.
- Faster service – POS systems provide a faster checkout process than cash registers, they will make the whole checkout experience enjoyable, and this way you will be assured that your customers will leave with a good impression of your brand.
To help you choose which POS system is suitable for the company, here is a quick outline of each.
Countertop POS systems
The countertop terminal is a traditional type of POS system. This technology is basically a computer that runs a customized program to manage your company’s operations.
A touchscreen monitor, cash register, and receipt printer are standard features of most countertop systems. Other devices, such as barcode scanners, customer display poles can be integrated.
For companies with specialized payment stations, a desktop POS system is ideal. It is the most solid option, so you should avoid purchasing one if you frequently reconfigure your layout. This system is ideal for a store with a fixed checkout area or a counter-service restaurant.
Mobile POS systems
Mobile POS services can process payments and also handle some inventory and client data. Most payment processors will send you the credit card reader for free. This is a proper POS choice if you do not manage a lot of inventory and you need to be mobile. Most will work with a portable receipt printer, or you can email receipts to your clients straight from the app.
A mobile POS system can be useful if you run a simple business and only need a way to offer digital payments.
This includes, for example, selling at farmers’ markets, roadside stands.
Besides, if you already have a countertop POS and want to enhance operational performance, you may want to consider a mobile POS system.
Tablet POS Systems
Nothing beats a tablet POS system in terms of adaptability. They function similarly to countertop devices but come in a portable, lightweight package.
Tablet point-of-sale systems generally include the same tools as desktop models. A cash drawer and printer, as well as other devices, can still be connected. However, this is not necessary. You can work on the go with just a tablet and a credit card reader if you want.
Tablet POS systems are becoming incredibly common because they require little initial investment and can frequently be used with a tablet that you already own. Many are compatible with advanced features such as barcode scanners, cash registers, and tablet stands. Some apps are quite simple, while others can manage various inventory cases and track employee time.
Self-service kiosks, which help in the self-checkout procedure, are becoming incredibly common in big-box stores and restaurants.
This type of POS system can also impact specific small businesses.
Self-service kiosks are typically better suited for larger stores that have the necessary space and can benefit from the increased efficiency and cost reduction that come with clients checking themselves out.
The type and size of your business will determine whether self-service kiosks are a smart option for you.
What to Look for in a POS
All-in-one POS systems
Some POS systems provide comprehensive features in a single application. You can not only accept payments from customers, but you can also receive specific insights into your business.
These POS systems are frequently fast, saving you time both when checking out a customer and when compiling your data. Because these systems are so powerful, they are frequently tailored to your specific business needs. A restaurant all-in-one POS system, for instance, will look and behave differently than a clothing store all-in-one POS system.
The potential disadvantage of these systems is that they can be expensive to operate monthly. If you are just starting up, you may want to consider another system.
Cloud-based POS systems
Cloud-based POS systems are typically apps that your company can use on any gadget. This is highly beneficial for a variety of businesses, including restaurants that want to offer table-side checkout and retailers that want to offer mobile checkout locations throughout the store.
If you’re accepting payments with non-traditional hardware, such as tablets or smartphones, you’ll need a cloud-based POS system.
EMV Chip Readers
EMV chip readers may not be important to customers, but they are critical to retailers. When a chip reader is used instead of the conventional swipe-to-pay system, retailers are better protected in the event of a fraudulent charge. If you’re in the market for a new POS system, one with a chip reader is perfect.
The terminal screen and any software applications you intend to use should be simple to use. This implies that, while some training may be required, using the system should be relatively simple. This will allow employees to operate the POS system confidently and with fewer errors than if the system was complicated and confusing.
How secure are POS systems?
Modern devices are extremely secure as long as you keep your system up-to-date. On the most fundamental level, your POS can lock the cash drawer and prevent unauthorized login attempts. Similarly, incorporating your POS with payment partners enables you to safely recognize digital payments. To protect your customers from fraudulent activity, all debit and credit card information will be encrypted.
Furthermore, cloud-based POS systems help to protect the data. You never have to stress about fraud, damage, or data corruption because no data is stored locally. You can always access your data online, whenever you want.
Narrowing down your options based on the type of POS system will help decide which one is best for your needs. If you’re well-established and have a steady source of income, an all-in-one solution might be the best choice. If you’re just getting started, you should look into cloud-based POS systems. And, if you want to stay compliant while minimizing risk, you should restrict your search to POS systems with EMV chip readers.
The most significant change in POS systems in recent years has been the availability of low-cost alternatives for small businesses. Small businesses no longer have to spend all of their funds on a pricey POS system. While big companies may still require a significant initial investment, there are now more options available to help you better grow your business. You should be able to easily find the best POS option for your business once you’ve defined your needs and set your budget.