Retail businesses bridge the gap between wholesalers or manufacturers and the customers and are an invaluable part of the supply chain for every consumer industry and niche. The concept of retail businesses can be traced back for centuries and has become technologically advanced over the years. A couple of decades ago, retailers relied on wholesale cash registers to conduct their businesses which eventually evolved into modern-day point of sale (POS) systems. Over the years, these solutions have become an integral part of any retail business and are capable of doing more than just accepting payments. These solutions are convenient and effective means to optimise business operations and provide excellent customer service.
Different point of sale (POS) systems offer unique advantages to different businesses. In this article, we have discussed point of sale (POS) systems and listed the top point of sale (POS) brands in Australia.
What is a Point of Sale (POS) System?
Point of sale is the place in a store where the selling and purchasing, or transaction takes place. In the past, retail store owners or employees processed payments manually at the checkout counters in the stores, which evolved into cash registers, followed by the point of sale systems.
A point of sale (POS) system is the combination of hardware and software components that help in concluding transactions. The point of sale (POS) hardware components usually varies depending upon the niche. But, the basic POS hardware bundles include a terminal, monitors, barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawer, payment processors, and receipt printers. Even though cash registers are still being used by a few small businesses, their demand is fading due to the advanced benefits of the point of sale (POS) systems. Vend POS hardware bundle is the most widely preferred point of sale (POS) solution in Australia these days.
The point of sale (POS) software is the integral component of any point of sale (POS) system as it is the operating system that integrates all the other components and manages the overall functioning of a point of sale (POS) system. Modern point of sale (POS) systems are perfect for processing payments, tracking and managing inventory, managing customer relationships, reporting and analytics, managing and tracking employees, and so on.
What are the Components of a Point of Sale (POS) System?
Since there are various components of a point of sale (POS) system,
knowing the advantages of each appear to be quite tiresome. As already stated,
there are two components of a point of sale (POS) system -
hardware and software.
Point of Sale (POS) Hardware Components: The hardware components are responsible for conducting every physical task at every stage of a transaction starting from scanning the product and price, to billing, accepting payments, and issuing a receipt for the payment.
The main hardware components include-
1.Point of Sale (POS) Terminal: The point of sale (POS) terminal is the main interface where the point of sale (POS) software is installed. It is through the point of sale (POS) terminal that the software operates and links with the hardware components. Tablets, iPads, smartphones, laptops, desktops, and other dedicated point of sale (POS) devices are all different types of point of sale (POS) terminals.
2.Barcode Scanner: If you have a voluminous inventory, you would require a barcode system to manage your products. These devices are beneficial in expediting checkouts, especially when there are multiple products as these devices scan the barcode labels and draw relevant product-related information. Also, catalogue barcoding is the perfect mode to track and manage inventory and sales. It gives you an idea of the most selling products and guides you with the product you need to restock and how frequently they need restocking. 1D, 2D, and QR are the popular types of barcodes and to read them, there are specific barcode scanners. These devices are also categorised into desktop, handheld, and wireless devices and can be connected with the point of sale (POS) terminal via cables or Bluetooth.
3.Cash Drawer: This is the most essential component of any business. Even though cashless payments are in-trend, cash payments are still quite popular and would probably remain so. Cash drawers come in handy to store liquid cash and other bills securely. These devices usually come with multiple compartments and slots and help in organising the cash and other receipts securely and systematically. The sizes and forms of cash drawers vary depending on the number of compartments. These devices are usually connected with the point of sale (POS) terminal or the receipt printer and open and close on receiving a command from the operating system.
4.Payment Processor: Owning the right payment processor can be beneficial in increasing sales in a retail business as offering customers their preferred payment method is one of the major factors in providing excellent customer service. Customers should be provided with the facility to pay in cash, credit/debit cards, or contactless payments through apps and digital wallets. Most payments in Australia are made through credit/debit cards; therefore, you need to pick an EMV-enabled machine for payment processing.
5.Receipt Printer: One of the most essential components of a point of sale (POS) system is a receipt printer. Receipts act as proof of transaction as they contain purchase-related information printed on them like product name, SKU number, date and time of purchase, price of the product, tax, etc. These receipts not only maintain transparency with the customers but also come in handy should a customer wish to exchange or return any purchased product. Albeit digital receipts or e-invoices are popular these days, physical receipts are still quite in-demand. Receipt printers are reliable, fast, and most importantly, accurate. There are three popular types of receipt printers- thermal receipt printers, dot-matrix/impact receipt printers, and inkjet receipt printers, all of which function using different printing technologies. Of the three, thermal receipt printers are the most preferred ones. There are fixed receipt printers and mobile receipt printers that support both traditional and mobile point of sale (POS) systems.
Point of Sale (POS) Software Component: The point of sale (POS) software is the heart of a point of sale (POS) system that integrates and manages the hardware components. Some of the popular point of sale (POS) software are Vend, TouchBistro, Shopify, and Square, all of which are industry-specific. The point of sale (POS) software you choose with determine the number of features your point of sale (POS) system can support. You need to be cautious while purchasing the point of sale (POS) software as there are free point of sale (POS) software available in the market but they either come with hidden costs or offer limited functionalities. Therefore, it is always recommended to pick a paid point of sale (POS) software as per your budget that would support all your business needs. Ensure that you factor in the size of your business, the features you require, the expected volume of sales, and compatibility with other hardware components while purchasing your software.
There are two prominent types of point of sale (POS) software-
1. On-premise Point of Sale (POS) Software: This type of software is installed directly on a server in your store and cannot be accessed by any outside devices as the point of sale (POS) system runs on a closed internal network. This type of software is reliable and can be used offline too. On-premise point of sale (POS) software come with a high upfront cost with extra charges for maintenance and software updating which will require professional assistance, but there are no monthly recurring costs involved. Also, data backup needs to be done manually.
2. Cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) Software: This is a form of Software as a Service (SaaS) where all data is stored in a remote server on the cloud and can be accessed from any location, at any time. Here, the software updates and data backup happens automatically, thereby saving you time and effort. The upfront cost for this type of software is usually low but there is a subscription fee that needs to be paid monthly or annually. Also, you would need to upgrade your software with your business growth. However, the biggest drawback of cloud-based point of sale (POS) software is that it is entirely reliant on an internet connection; the slightest disruption in the connection affects the quality and performance of the point of sale (POS) system.
The Leading Point of Sale (POS) Systems in Australia
- 1.Vend Point of Sale (POS) System
- 2.Square Point of Sale (POS) System
- 3.Lightspeed Retail Point of Sale (POS) System
- 4.TouchBistro Point of Sale (POS) System
- 5.Revel Systems Point of Sale (POS) System
- 6.EPOS Now Point of Sale (POS) System
- 7.Clover Point of Sale (POS) System
- 8.Shopify Point of Sale (POS) System
If you are a new retail business owner looking for the best point of sale (POS) system to suit your business needs, visit POS Plaza, your one-stop shop for all POS needs. We offer a personalised shopping experience to our customers and can therefore help you pick the perfect solution for your business.