Thinking of investing in or upgrading a POS system? Find out everything you need to know before you buy on this page
Not long ago, a point of sale (POS) system consisted of a manual cash register and a card machine. However, the hottening demands of the consumer industry meant point of sale systems needed to become faster, and cleverer. And they did.
Say hello to modern point of sale systems — a system that has taken the humble payment process, and turned it into a high-flying opportunity to grow and manage your business as effectively as possible.
So how has it caught on? Well, recent studies show that 72% of Canadian businesses now believe sales planning and forecasting to be the most important part of a POS solution – a process that has become so much easier thanks to EPOS data collection.
And that’s just the start – a modern POS system has a whole host of tricks up its sleeve that your business can benefit from. And with the POS market expected to triple in size to $3.73 billion by 2023, it’s looking like your business won’t be the only one benefiting.
So read on to find out why you should be investing in the latest POS systems.
Alternatively, find out how much a POS system will cost by using our quote comparison service. Just click here tell us a bit about your business, and we’ll match you with the best suppliers for your requirements, who’ll be in touch with tailored, no obligation prices – easy.
What is a Point of Sale System?
A point of sale system is a combination of software and hardware that works together to enable you to complete a transaction. The majority of point of sale systems will allow you to take card payments and cash payments, while providing you with the software tools to effectively manage every area of your business – from your staff to your inventory.
What is point of sale hardware?
Point of sale hardware typically consists of:
- A screen (usually a tablet)
- A receipt printer
- A card machine
- A cash drawer
- A barcode scanner
Most POS providers will supply you with a tailored package that contains all the hardware you need, but you can choose to purchase your POS hardware and software package separately if you want.
However, bear in mind that this is entirely dependant on the provider you choose. This is because some providers supply you with hardware that is only compatible with hardware made by the same brand, while other providers supply hardware that’s compatible with equipment from a range of suppliers.
Let’s find out how each piece of point of sale hardware can help your business on the road to success.
Tablet and tablet stand
POS software is usually hosted on a tablet, transforming it into the brains of your system. Most POS suppliers will supply you with a tablet and a tablet stand, which will ensure your check out area looks the part and acts the part.
Credit card machine
If you want to make money, you’ll need to embrace the ‘tap and go’ credit card culture. Just make sure that you purchase a card reader that’s compatible with your point of sale software (suppliers usually divulge that information on their site).
Make sure you don’t skip out the cash payments, though. A cash drawer is still an essential – and somewhere you can keep your receipts safe until it’s time to do the banking.
Although a lot of POS software will allow you to set up digital receipts (where you email the customer their receipt), you often have to pay more for the privilege. This means that receipt printers aren’t out just yet.
This handy piece of equipment will enable you to process transactions quicker. Rather than looking up an item on your system, simply scan the barcode and the item will pop up your screen – next customer please!
How Does a Point of Sale System Work?
How a point of sale system works depends entirely on the type of establishment you own. Many POS suppliers provide software that has been optimized for retail units, hospitality, or salons, ensuring you have all the tools you need to effectively run your particular business.
So how will a POS system work for you?
POS Systems for Hospitality
Modern POS systems allow you to do this by combining modern hardware with intelligent software that’s been built specifically for your industry.
You’ll be able to take orders at tables, upsell at every opportunity, and manage your inventory so food and drink never goes to waste.
- Provide staff with tablets for table service
- Set menu prompts so staff can upsell at every opportunity
- Set up self service kiosks to take pressure off counter staff
- Manage your inventory and set up auto-ordering
- Manage your staff, and accounts
- Set up customer loyalty schemes
- Integrate your POS system with delivery software
- Send orders straight through to the kitchen display
Top Hospitality POS Supplier
When it comes to the top POS suppliers, the clue’s in the name with TouchBistro. Designed by ex restaurant professionals, TouchBistro is the ultimate business partner, facilitating table service, staff management, inventory management, and more. Although a touch more expensive than other POS system suppliers, its iPad-compatible system is certainly worthwhile the expense.
POS Systems for Retail
The latest POS systems aren’t a one trick pony. You can also purchase ones that are primed for the retail industry.
Easily expand your check out area to more than one POS system, add compatible barcode scanners, and even incorporate a set of scales.
You can also integrate your POS system with ecommerce software, opening up a whole new sales channel.
- Easily add more checkout points
- Compatible with barcode scanners
- Manage your inventory and set up auto-ordering
- Input deals and offers
- Set up customer loyalty schemes
- Integrate with your ecommerce site
- Manage your team and finances
Top Retail POS Supplier
Lightspeed has tailored POS software for both the retail and hospitality industries, so you’ll always have the specific tools you need for your business. In addition to facilitating the point of sale process, Lightspeed’s ability to integrate with ecommerce stores means you don’t need to rely on footfall alone for your success.
POS for Salons
Salons are multi-dimensional businesses. Customers need to be able to book appointments, and you need to be able to sell products and create loyalty programmes, all while taking payments.
A modern POS system will make handling all of this a breeze, thanks to its sophisticated software and app integrations.
And to top it all off, its sleek, modern design will look great on your countertop.
- Easily add more checkout points
- Integrate with ecommerce stores
- Great aesthetics
- Intuitive to use and add to your treatments menu
- Portable terminals are ideal for treatment rooms
- Create customer loyalty programmes
Bar Renard – Montreal
Opening a new bar in Montreal’s gay district is no mean feat. It’s a busy, thriving community with lots of competition, and you need to make a great first impression to get people through the door.
During its first year of business, the number of patrons making their way to Bar Renard grew and grew. This meant owner, Marc-Antoine, needed to upgrade to a speedier POS system that would allow his team to process orders quickly, and enable his staff to maintain the personalized service that had made Bar Renard so popular.
Lightspeed’s POS systems are known to be industry-tailored and intuitive to use. This meant the team could train new staff quickly, while freeing up other members of staff to create a relaxed and personable atmosphere.
Marc-Antoine also wanted to spend less time in the back office analyzing sales figures, and more time front of house with its customers. This is where Lightspeed’s analytics came into play.
With the help of the POS system, Bar Renard’s staff could easily interpret sales data, meaning they could make more accurate decisions when it came to choosing stock, ordering stock, and when to promote deals and offers.
Why Invest in a POS System?
There are so many reasons why investing in a POS system outweighs simply buying a cheaper (and older) cash register. Here are the top five:
1. There’s huge potential for ROI
Whether you work in retail or hospitality, data is your friend. A POS system quietly collects data each time you tap in an order or scan through an item, providing you with valuable stats on how your customers interact with your business.
You can use this data to make clever business decisions, such as when to discount certain items, order in certain stock, or even change your menu. This means you’re always one step ahead of your consumers, and always ready to make the most out of each sale.
2. They massively speed up the sales process
Typing in the price of each item, or even using a clunky older generation POS system, can massively slow down the sales process. However, modern point of sale systems have been designed to make it as smooth as possible.
There’s intuitive menus for speedy item selection, quicker and smoother card payment processing, and with some POS systems compatible with barcode scanners, you’ll be emptying those shopping baskets in no time.
3. They look great
According to British retail consultant Mary Portas, aesthetics are having an increasing influence over the consumer buying decision. If someone who’s on the fence as they walk into a nicely decorated shop or deli comes face to face with an equally eye-pleasing checkout area, they could be swayed into making a purchase.
POS systems look sleek and modern on any countertop, which lets your customers know that you’re a forward-thinking business. And don’t forget that any menu images will be great quality, too. This means you can make your menu look appetizing, and hopefully tempt customers into purchasing more.
4. They enable you to better manage your staff
Before now, you’ve probably made do with putting everyone’s names on a paper rota and sticking it up on a wall. But thanks to POS systems, you no longer have to do that. The majority of modern point of sale systems feature a sophisticated staff management application which enables you to create digital rotas.
And there’s more. Thanks to individual staff accounts, you’ll be able to track who’s making the most sales, look at working hours, and even implement bonus schemes.
5. They allow you to get closer to your customer
Building a successful business isn’t just about getting your stock, menu, or decor right. It’s about building relationships with your customers, too.
The great thing about a POS system is that it integrates with CRM (customer relationship management) software. This means you can collect contact details from your customers and use that information to send alerts on offers and menu changes.
A POS system can also track what your account holders order, which means you can set up emails that target their buying habits. This will help you to pique interest and make more sales.
What Should You Do Next?
There’s a lot to think about when investing in a new POS system. You’ll need to consider the amount of hardware you need, the software package you require, and in a lot of cases, you’ll need to research merchant account providers, too. So where do you start?
Firstly, find out how much a POS system will cost. You can do that easily by reading our page on POS costs. Alternatively, cut to the chase and receive accurate quotes directly from suppliers.
We make is super easy for you to compare POS providers and their prices. All we need is a few details about your business, then we’ll send the best suppliers for your requirements your way.
It won’t be long before they get in touch with advice and prices that have been tailored to you – then, you’ll have all the information you need to make the best decision for your business. Our service is totally free – why not give it a try?