Every modern-day store, regardless of the size won’t be complete without a comprehensive point of sale (POS) system. It is considered to be ‘the heart’ of every retail business.
Reports show the market size of POS software reached $9.3 billion and is forecasted to reach $18.1 billion by 2027.
Cash registers also referred to as till or automated money handling system was the first point of sale (POS) system, which was invented in 1879 by James Ritty. These hefty devices were primarily used to record sales, store cash and sales documents, and provide receipts. With technological advancements, these devices evolved into a more aesthetic and multi-functional system that we know as the point of sale (POS) system. Since then, the purchase of wholesale cash registers got replaced by point of sale (POS) packages comprising a set of hardware and software combinations. The modern-day point of sale (POS) system is capable of performing multiple functions other than processing payments including quick and efficient transactions, inventory tracking and management, customer relationship management, employee management, and generating and analysing sales reports.
Every business entails numerous operations which require owning a robust point of sale (POS) system to oversee them. Choosing the right POS package is therefore extremely crucial. This article talks about point of sale (POS) systems and the components of a point of sale (POS) bundle.
What is a Point of Sale (POS) System?
A point of sale (POS) system is the place in a store where customers make payment for the selected products/services and the retailer/store executive issues a payment receipt, thereby completing the transaction, for example, the checkout counters at a store. To complete the entire selling and purchasing process businesses use a set of hardware and software components that help in streamlining the business operations effectively.
Point of sale (POS) systems vary based on your choice of technology, mode of payment, receipt printing method, etc. Traditional point of sale (POS) systems were usually fixed on the countertops and required a site server to work. So, most of the hardware components including the monitor, barcode scanner, receipt printer, and payment processor used to be set together in one place. There has been a significant shift in point of sale (POS) technologies when cloud-based storage and computing came into play.
Types of Point of Sale (POS) Systems
It is given that the primary function of a point of sale (POS) system is to process payments and manage sales. To pick the right point of sale (POS) system, it is essential to know about the different types of point of sale (POS) systems. The hardware configurations and type of software determine the functions of any point of sale (POS) solution.
The popular point of sale (POS) systems are:
- Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) System: These point of sale (POS) systems use portable devices like smartphones, tablets, or iPads to process payments, manage inventory, and store customer information. These solutions are perfect if you do not have huge inventory volumes to manage and you can conveniently carry out your business operations on the go. Most mobile point of sale (mPOS) packages come with a credit card reader and a portable receipt printer.
- Terminal Point of Sale (POS) System: The point of sale (POS) systems that you usually spot at the checkout counters of a store are the terminal point of sale (POS) systems. The functionality of these solutions depends on both the hardware and software components and is usually available in packages. Terminal point of sale (POS) systems offer 24/7 customer support throughout the year along with cloud backup.
- Online Point of Sale (POS) System: For online point of sale (POS) systems you can use your own electronic devices like desktops or tablets. The upfront cost for this type of solution is low and is capable of speeding up low-volume businesses
- Self-service Kiosk Point of Sale (POS) System: Designed to offer specialised solutions for specific purposes, these devices are commonly spotted in large retail stores and allow customers to check the availability and pricing of goods.
- Multichannel Point of Sale (POS) System: If you are selling your merchandise in more than one online or physical store, then this type of point of sale (POS) system is the perfect option for you. Since you can oversee all the stores from a single location, you can re-stock the in-demand products before they run out of stock. Also, this system integrates sales across the online store, social media pages, and storefronts.
- Open-source Point of Sale (POS) System: If you are looking for a point of sale (POS) system that allows you to customise the software so that it functions as per your requirement, then an open-source point of sale (POS) system is the perfect option for you. This type of point of sale (POS) system is expensive as compared to the other point of sale (POS) systems as you would require assistance from software engineers. However, these solutions are perfect for enterprise businesses and provide an exclusive point of sale (POS) needs.
Components of a Point of Sale (POS) System
Point of sale (POS) systems comprise two components – hardware and software.
- 1.POS Terminal: The point of sale (POS) terminal (usually a desktop, iPad, or tablet) is the device on which the point of sale (POS) software is installed. Earlier, checkout processes used to take place at a specific checkout counter but with the introduction of mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems, payment processing and checkouts take place from any location within the store. A stable internet connection and a sturdy device.
- 2.Barcode Scanner: These are the most essential hardware components of a point of sale (POS) system. As the name implies, these devices are used to scan barcodes from commodities and extract and display information related to them on the monitor. This not only speeds the transaction processes but also helps in checking inventory levels, availability of products, etc.
- 3.Payment Processor: Since cashless transactions are trending and extremely convenient, it is advisable to own a payment processor that is capable of supporting any mode of payment. This ensures contactless payments in a physical store and is convenient for customers too.
- 4.Cash Drawer: With digitisation on the rise, people mostly prefer contactless and cashless payments. But, there still are people who prefer cash payments. To store the cash and other receipts and bills safely, you require a secure place. This is where you need a cash drawer (either fliptop cash drawers or USB cash drawers).
- 5.Receipt Printer: These devices are used to print payment receipts for the customers and contain purchase-related information like date and time of purchase, place of purchase, product name, SKU number, price of the product, etc., for example, Epson TM-M30II Thermal Receipt Printer. There are two primary types of receipt printers- dot matrix receipt printers and thermal receipt printers.
Some of the other hardware components used by many businesses include-
- 1.Customer-facing Display: These monitors/displays are usually placed on the checkout counters and are used to display the amount the customer owes for the chosen product/service and the cost breakup. These devices are preferred by most businesses as they help in maintaining transparency with the customers, thereby providing better customer service.
- 2.Self-service Kiosks: These are self-order point of sale (POS) systems using which customers can place the order and pay for it on their own. This enables contactless customer service and customers can quickly and conveniently purchase the required products without having to wait in queues at checkout counters. Self-service kiosks help boost business operations efficiently.
- 3.Scale: If you
own a grocery store, a warehouse, or a laboratory, you would require weighing
scales. There are three types of weighing scales- strain gage load cells, force motor scales, and ultra-precision scales.
Referred to as the ‘backend’ of a point of sale (POS) system, the software components are used specifically for backend management and analytics. Ideally, the point of sale (POS) software is the operating system that integrates the hardware components and ensures that they work in sync to ensure seamless business operations. The store employees use the front-end interface and the back-end is accessed through a browser or app. Premium quality point of sale (POS) software allows users to operate and manage the entire business operations from a central location. On-site and cloud-based are the two methods to store data. On-site data is installed on your local server and requires you to purchase software licenses to use them whereas cloud-based storage, also known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is hosted online and allows you to access data from the browser from any location, at any time. Vend, Square POS, Shopify, and LightSpeed are some of the popular point of sale (POS) software.
Popular Point of Sale (POS) Bundles in Australia
- 1.Vend Compatible Hardware
- 2.Shopify Compatible Hardware
- 3.Square Register Compatible Hardware
- 4.Retail Express Bundles
- 5.Kounta Compatible Hardware
If you are new to the retail business and are looking for premium quality pint of sale (POS) solutions that would suit your business needs and fit your budget, POS Plaza is your one-stop destination. Browse through our extensive range of point of sale (POS) components and consumables and pick the one that suits you best. Get in touch with our professionals who would provide a personalised walk-through of the products and help you make an informed decision.