So you've chosen your POS (Point of Sale) terminal and equipment, but what about installation?
Regardless of whether you are a new user, or merely upgrading your existing system, you will still need to follow guidelines to ensure this is done correctly. Always check you have the appropriate operating system, for example Windows 98, 2000 etc.
How to Install a POS System - At a Glance
- The POS software will need to be installed onto a main PC, from which each terminal can be monitered
- The software will usually come on a CD which can be inserted into the PC
- Follow the on-screen instructions to download the POS software
- The final steps will incude connecting your hardware, such as card terminals, POS terminals and printers
- Once the initial set-up is complete you will be able to take card payments
- You can then look into additial features, such as inventory control, customer information and employee access
Installation for New Users
Depending on your business needs, the installer will be given the option of administrator, terminal or administrator and terminal installation. It is advisable to have administrator rights on the main POS terminal.
POS equipment is distributed with a downloadable CD inclusive of software required for your business PC. Insert the CD into the PC and follow the prompts to install the software as instructed.
Before you start to use the software some basic set up tasks need to be completed, for instance; transferring basic information, entering your license code and linking the POS database to the software provider.
Next you will need to connect your hardware to the business computer. Peripherals including scanner, printer and cash drawer should be connected via the available USB ports.
Microsoft Windows wizard will detect this hardware and installation software is downloadable from the CD provided. Within your installation instructions there will also be a barcode to scan if you are attaching your scanner via a USB port.
Access to features of your POS machine will now be available enabling your business to process credit card payments.
Upgrading Your POS
Check guidelines in your manual before upgrading as some POS software providers require previous software to be deleted before installation and others upgrade first and then delete.
But remember, before installation you will need to update and backup any data. If you are changing to a different software provider, a data backup and transfer of data is necessary to avoid loss of details prior to deleting any information and software.
Setting up a POS Network
Setting Up Inventory Control
In order for your business to produce meaningful management reports it is advised to create departments within the POS system which follow the logical divisions in your business.
So a grocery store might have; frozen, dairy, meat and so on. It is considered best practice to have no more than twelve departments otherwise your reports can become unwieldy. Once this is done you can then group items within their respective departments.
A POS network can be a powerful information gathering tool when it comes to your customers. It allows you to know who is buying what, therefore you can target your marketing towards the appropriate customers.
When setting up the POS network you will need to give some consideration to how you want to categorize your customers. You will need a unique identifier for each customer; cell phones are often good way of doing this.
Then you will need to consider what information you need about your customer, the obvious things might be address and email but other useful information could include clothing size or the age of any children.
You will need to motivate the customers to give you the information - perhaps by offering a discount or information about future sales.
All POS systems include some limitation as to what users can do on the network. You will need to decide what level of access and functionality you are going to give to your clerks.
For instance, who should be allowed to give discounts, make price changes and view inventory levels? Also will clerks share a cash till or have a specific one that they are responsible for balancing at the end of the shift?
What Payment Types will you Accept?
Most POS systems will allow customers the basic payment options of check, cash and credit card. Some will also let you have payment options for gift cards or run loyalty card programs.
If you have special payment needs such as accepting more than one currency or accepting food stamps, then you will need to configure your system to accept these. Payment methods are constantly evolving so you may also want to look into accepting contactless payments and Google Wallet.