A POS system has both software and hardware components, which should be taken into consideration when a purchase of a system is made. With respect to software, there are two options. The first option is on-premises POS. In this case, the software is hosted on a server that is located within the retailer or restaurant’s physical or virtual network. The POS system buyer is required to purchase one or more licences, update their own software regularly, dedicate IT personnel, and pay for hardware upfront. The second option is the cloud POS. A cloud point-of-sale system allows the POS buyer to access software on the internet from any device. Software updates are typically pushed to the software publisher regularly, with little or no intervention from the buyer. Few employees need to be involved in the management of the software since no servers are maintained on-site. For these reasons cloud POS typically has a much lower upfront cost.
When deciding what to look for in a POS, we believe that ease of integration and flexibility is key. It is essential to ensure that your preferred POS vendor works with a payment processor or payment gateway of your choice so that you keep costs under control.
POS hardware that you will need includes a barcode scanner, a credit card reader, a receipt and kitchen printer, and a cash drawer.
The monitor displays the product database and enables other functions, such as allowing employees to clock in, view sales reports, and display the ordering workflow.
The barcode scanner automates the checkout process, by pulling the product info from the barcode attached to every product and adding it to the checkout total. Barcode scanners can also be integrated with inventory management to ensure that adequate supplies are available to support the operation of the retail store or kitchen.
The credit card reader is typically provided by the payment processor or payment gateway. Credit card readers charge the amounts specified by the POS or can charge amounts manually depending on the level of integration between both.
The cash drawer, despite the growing popularity of credit card use and other forms of payment, remains central to the retail or restaurant operation.
POS System Features
The most common POS software features involve sales reporting, inventory management.
Your typical POS software should have the following sales reporting functionalities. It should generate detailed sales reports (based on product, hour, employee, the total cost of items sold, net profit, profit percentage, gross margin). It should also provide quick snapshots and charts of your store’s sales performance.
With respect to inventory Management, one of the most important functions of a POS inventory system is to keep track of all products and ensure the adequate supplies are promptly ordered for an effective operation of your store or restaurant. It is certainly a big disappointment when your most popular line item is out of the sale because you missed the right date for rebuilding your stock.
Your POS system should enable you to scan and count products digitally, manage your stock by creating product variations, identify pieces of inventory with a unique serial number, track inventory levels across multiple locations, enable seamless ordering such as automatically setting custom reorders of best-sellers and consolidating purchases and orders in a single order.
A POS should have a customer relationship management (CRM) module to track all customer data. It should also help you in attaching a sale/transaction to a customer, keeping track of your customers’ purchase history, capturing customer information such as name, age, birthday, phone number, and email address, using email marketing to stay in touch and supporting loyalty programs.