For years business owner we’re used to hearing “Ka-ching!” when their cash register made with every sale. The more “ka-ching” they heard, the better their day was going. Now days it ware still hearing cash register that make the “Ka-ching” noise. A lot has change from those days.
Fortunately, this isn’t a bad thing. That’s because the vast majority of store owners have replaced their old registers with modern POS systems instead. Far from just ringing up sales, these machines are capable of carrying out tasks that empower store owners to reach new levels of success.
POS System are really just standard-issue computers that run software designed to facilitate a store’s necessary operations at the point of sale (also commonly referred to as the point of purchase) refers to wherever transactions take place within a store. For the vast majority of retail locations, the point of sale occurs at a designated counter or checkout area.
Therefore, the most basic purpose a point-of-sale terminal serves is simply allowing a customer to pay for their items. Nowadays, this means reading their credit or debit card, confirming the purchase is authorized and then triggering the printing of a receipt.
However, point-of-sale terminals are generally expected to do much more. Most stores count on their terminals to play a major role in managing their inventories. For example, a florist may depend on their point-of-sale terminal to tell them if an arrangement is still onsite, out for delivery, or has already been delivered. In the past, confirming the arrangement’s location would have involved a manual process that may have even included calling the driver to check on its status. Point-of-sale terminals feed this kind of information into a system that makes it available with just a few clicks.
How POS terminals work
A store may have one or numerous POS terminals, depending on their needs. Each of these terminals consists of a credit-card swiper, receipt printer, and usually some kind of cash drawer. The terminals are all connected to the same server, which provides a central database for collecting information about all the transactions that occur in a single store. Many store owners will also connect a barcode scanner. There is almost that can be added to a point-of-sale terminal in order to meet a store’s unique needs.
Once the POS system is set up meaning it has been activated and “loaded” with the UPCs or other codes for the store’s inventory – the cashier merely has to scan an item for its data to be recorded in the main server. The terminal then sends the price to the system’s display. It will continue adding to the total as more items are scanned.
At the same time, it’s sending other important data points to the server. Aside from updating the store’s internal inventory, it’s also recording which employee number is ringing up these sales.
This is extremely important information for the storeowner. If items go missing during a certain shift, they’ll want to know who was working the register, as they may be one of the guilty parties. Likewise, if the same mistake keeps getting made, knowing who is responsible will allow for the necessary training opportunity.
1. Consideration to make before buying a POS System
As we mentioned above, no two point-of-sale terminals are exactly the same. While the aforementioned benefits are available in any device, you’ll still have a number of options to consider when comparing your many options. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the best possible decision.
Cloud vs on-premises
1. Unless your store has unique needs that completely preclude the option, consider beginning with a cloud base system
2. The benefits are twofold.
3. First, you can use a simple tablet for your actual terminal, which leads to additional savings.
4. Second, cloud-based options generally come with a free trial. You can download it onto your tablet and give it a test-drive before investing any money in it. This also means you can test several before making a final decision.
5. That’s a big advantage if you think your store may have unique needs that will
require some of those costly bells and whistles but aren’t yet sure.
2. Contracts and terms
Rigid, long-term contracts (most of which require payment up front) can put you in a bind if a solution turns out to be a poor fit for your business. Not to mention: today’s retail environment requires merchants to adapt to changes quickly, and having an ironclad contract could curb agility and growth
3. Pricing As we mentioned in our article on the 7 costly mistakes when choosing a point of sales system it’s fine to go for a cost-effective POS, but make sure you aren’t compromising important features in the process. A cheap and low-quality POS system may lack the critical features and functionalities required to run a competitive retail business. Choosing the cheapest option may save you a bit of cash, but the time you spend coming up with workarounds and making up for the system’s shortcomings could end up costing you more in the long run.
Create a list of the core features you need (or might need), and then look into solutions that meet your “must-have” requirements. That way, you’re not making compromises when it comes to the significant components of your POS. Recognize that you may need to spend a bit more for a top-notch system — so set a realistic budget, and view your POS system as an investment that’ll help your business grow and stay competitive.
The initial investment will be far less, but you’ll still need to look at fees for:
- Individual Transactions
- Monthly Subscriptions
Some systems will have these fees. Some won’t. Be sure to check so you know exactly
what your costs will be.
Adding a POS terminal to your store
As you can see, while a point-of-sale terminal will definitely simplify your business, you have a lot to think about before picking one. That said, you should still be very excited about the promise of a POS system. Once yours is set up and running, you can expect greater convenience, capabilities, and profit, while lowering overhead , that’s a tough combination to beat!