Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Your guide to choose the right POS System
What is a Point of Sale (POS) System?
Point of sale (POS) is a computer system in a retail store or restaurant which record sale transactions when the customer (buyer) purchase a product or services from the store and make payment to the store (seller). The customer usually receives a receipt from the Point of sale system. It is usually mission-critical IT systems to ensure the sales operations can carry out smoothly.
There are 2 parts of the POS solutions, hardware and software. The hardware that typically include a CPU/tablet, a monitor, a receipt printer and a cash drawer; and the software program which enable the cashier to interact and record the transaction details into CPU/tablet and control other peripherals, such as printer to print the receipt and cash drawer to pop open for deposit the money.
Any businesses that involve of selling product or services can benefit from a POS System to manage the administrative, control the inventory, speed up the calculation for the transaction and keep track of transaction record for reference at any time.
Do not mistake POS Systems from cash register (also known as a "till") which only used by business to record quantity and amount. The cash register is also lacking storage to record the history of sales transactions or the ability to keep track of inventory quantity.
The Different type of POS?
Stand alone ePOS
It was a great choice for single store mom-and-pop business with simple and direct selling model that does not intend to expand to multi-outlet store. Stand-alone ePOS provide necessary tools for business to keep track of inventory and deduct when selling to the customer. There are many stand-alone ePOS solutions in the market to choose from and usually affordable. Some modern POS is also free to use which give a small business alternative to access to more powerful solutions with very low to zero cost.
Some business doing better and intend to set up more outlets. The Advanced ePOS can provide an interconnected solution across all the branches and collect sales transaction data from each of the branches to the centre server. Advanced ePOS can be costly due to the needs of hardware components and a dedicated network connection. It is usually a choice for larger corporations that has wide geographical coverage and complex business logic.
Cloud based POS
Since the beginning of cloud computing in 2000, it has drastically changed how business work. The maturity of cloud computing technology opens a new opportunity for the solution provider to offer cheaper, and more advanced POS solutions such as cloud-based POS. Cloud-based POS leverage on the Internet to distribute the software without the need to change the existing hardware, and it is mostly hardware agnostic in design. Most of the cloud-based POS required persistent Internet connection but some advanced cloud-based POS design to operate online and offline.
With the launch of the first iPad on April 3, 2010, together with AppStore, the groundbreaking invention revolutionise how we interact and how business run. It empowers the developer to build iPad POS and able to release to anywhere in the world, with the help of AppStore. iPad POS greatly enhance a few aspects that all business will appreciate, such as security, portability, connectivity and reliability which is a paradigm shift for business to compete in services offering, analytics rather than just pricing.
Why do I need a POS?
Deter pilfering of dishonest staff
The first Point of sale system was implemented in 1800 to prevent stealing. It is still the reason that business needs it to prevent staff from stealing. POS machine help business owner to keep track of sales entry and inventory and the enforcement of shift report will reinforce the check and balance which make it much harder to steal.
Choosing the right POS solution can help you to increase productivity significantly. POS systems can automate repetitive task much quicker with higher accuracy. For example, when a customer returns an item that they purchase previously, POS software can help you deduct the sales revenue and increase the stock quantity immediately instead of performing manual reconciliation on both sales and inventory.
Or when your customer place order for a fish and chips meal, the order get to print to the kitchen immediately instead of waiter running back and forth to communicate with the kitchen while handling customer. There are more benefits that a POS System can deliver, than the simple example described above.
Expand selling channels
Unlike the past, whether you have a retail store or restaurant, selling within the restaurant soon become unsustainable due cost increase and other mass-market approach types of competition. The retailer is expanding the selling channel through eCommerce or Marketplace, consignment or B2B, while restaurant reaching out to food delivery, BYOD or self-service kiosk so that patron gets to f