Business tips

Types of POS systems.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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For merchants of all sizes, a proper point of sale (POS) system will serve as the hub of their entire business operations. So much more than just the place where transactions take place, the combination of software and hardware that comprise a POS system is responsible for streamlining a number of important business functions. Considering how important your POS solution will be to your current and future success, it is in your best interests to understand the different types of POS equipment available to you. That way, you can ensure that you invest in the solution that is right for your current needs, while offering you maximum flexibility for the future. 

A word about enhanced POS capabilities.

Considering the numerous bells and whistles that 21st-century POS solutions possess, it’s no wonder that they are supplanting standard, countertop cash registers in most retail businesses. In addition to tallying sales, printing out receipts, seamlessly processing returns, and helping you arrive at a reliable daily revenue figure, your POS equipment can serve as the driving force behind many other  important internal functions. These include the following:

Inventory management. 

Your POS software can be your silent assistant, tracking stock counts and alerting you when items run short. It can also clue you in as to what is not selling so you can scale back your purchasing and adjust your inventory accordingly. 

Employee management. 

Your POS solution eliminates many of the human resources headaches you may now be experiencing by allowing you to easily create unique profiles for each worker, generate and email schedules, and monitor time tracking to eliminate errors.

Report generation. 

Your POS software is equipped to turn out invaluable, analytics-based reports filled with helpful insights on virtually every aspect of your operations. This includes everything from simplified customer, employee, and inventory management, to forecasting sales trends and reducing chargebacks. Once you know what is selling, who is selling it, and which products are flying off the shelves or are stagnating, you’ll be in a much better position to make crucial growth and development decisions.

Interfacing with third-party software. 

As feature-rich as your POS may be, it still needs to integrate with outside software that you may already use, including your accounting and bookkeeping programs. Good POS equipment will have no difficulty meshing with these vital programs. That way all your important data will be housed in one place. 

Payment processing. 

In spite of the additional functionality that your POS will bring to your business, do not forget that one of its most important functions is to seamlessly transact payments. The more payment methods your system allows you to accept, the better. The most important are credit and debit cards, EBT payments, checks, coupons, NFC contactless payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and mobile payments. 

It is important to note that regardless of whether you’re planning to accept all of these payment forms right now, you’ll still want a system that has the flexibility to allow you to do so in the future.

Maximum portability. 

With smaller,  more mobile POS solutions, you can accept payments on the go. Even if you never leave the confines of your brick-and-mortar premises, this streamlined equipment can help you speed up your checkout via line busting, while empowering your associates to accept payments from anywhere on the floor.

As you can see, the modern POS system offers numerous benefits. The only question that remains is which type to choose.

Conventional POS systems.

When you think of accepting credit cards, the first image that may come to your mind is that of the old-school POS terminal that looks similar to a desktop computer or a touchscreen monitor. These systems are usually supported by a server located on the premises, which can be quite costly and are usually only accessible from your property.

Cloud-based systems.

Today’s cloud technology enables you to enjoy all the benefits of the traditional POS without the hassle and liability that come with maintaining your own infrastructure. Instead, your data is stored in secure off-site centers that are overseen by a third-party vendor. These arrangements provide you with affordable, safe, and reliable access to your sensitive information from anywhere and at any time. Furthermore, systems are updated frequently and a good vendor will provide ongoing customer support should problems arise.

Mobile POS solutions.

This type of POS solution provides all of the features of a stationary POS system, while delivering added functionality and portability. Mobile POS solutions can even consist of card readers that allow you to accept payments on today’s ubiquitous smartphones and tablets, including iPhones, iPads, and Android equipment. Mobile POS hardware is long-lasting, economical, and easy to obtain, making this type of POS quite attractive to many business owners.

Online POS.

Even the most well-established physical stores have discovered the advantages of simultaneously offering their goods and services online. Virtual terminal POS solutions are designed to provide a safe and easy-to-use means for buyers to input their payment information, secure in the knowledge that their data will be encrypted and kept out of the hands of fraudsters at every step of the process. With so-called virtual POS terminals, you manually input information provided to you over the phone or via email. Your online POS works just as your physical system would, securely transmitting the details to all of the relevant parties and providing emailed confirmation once the process is complete.

POS system equipment varies widely — and for good reason. What works for one business might be woefully inadequate for the one down the street. That is why it is so important that your payments partner understand your customers and products, as well as your current and future needs. Picking the right POS solution might just be one of the most important business decisions you make, so be deliberate and wise. In the end, you will realize the fruits of your efforts.