Point of Sale Systems: A Software and Hardware Overview
POS systems are where your customers are able to pay for the goods or services you provided to them. Find out about all of the capabilities that a point of sale software has, and how these functions can help your business operate more efficiently.
What is a POS System?
A point of sale system, commonly referred to as a POS system, is how you accept payment from customers. Once upon a time, a POS system was just a cash register. As payment methods expanded and evolved, point of sale systems had to add more functionality. Now, in addition to multiple payment options, modern POS systems act as all-in-one hubs where owners and managers can address all of their business needs.
A POS system doesn’t even need to be a physical terminal, like a restaurant or retail POS system. If your business operates on an eCommerce platform, the payment processing screen is also considered a POS system.
POS hardware is the most obvious component of the POS system. It’s what the employees use to take or process payments and orders, and it’s what your customers see every time they make a purchase when they’re inside your store or restaurant. Let’s break down all of the pieces of equipment that make up a POS system’s hardware.
The POS terminal is the screen where the employee will place orders or process a customer’s purchase in a retail business. If it’s a restaurant POS system, it’s the point where the employee will take the customer’s meal order using a handheld mobile POS device. Some restaurants have their customers pay through these terminals as well.
Many customers still prefer to pay with cash, and this is where the cash is held for the duration of a shift or until the store closes. It’s also how a customer receives a refund if he or she paid in cash. While the technological advancements in today’s world lead fewer people to use cash, there are plenty of people who prefer to use card payments.
Credit Card Reader
Card payments are more common than ever before. A credit card reader allows your business to accept credit cards and debit cards. Credit card readers handle traditional credit cards with magnetic strips or chip cards. With fewer and fewer people carrying cash, an easy-to-use credit card reader is especially important.
The barcode scanner uses a laser to scan a product’s Universal Product Code, or UPC. This technology streamlines the in-store checkout process in a retail environment because the employee doesn’t have to manually enter in the price of every item. They simply scan the barcode and it will appear on the terminal.
The receipt printer provides the customer with a hard copy of the transaction. While it’s become common to send customers a receipt through email or text message (some don’t want one at all), there are many customers who need a paper record of a transaction for tax purposes or to give to their employer for reimbursement. Having a paper copy of point of sale receipts is equally as important to your own record keeping.
NFC stands for near-field communication and is used for forms of contactless payment, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. A customer simply holds their mobile device, near the NFC reader, and the transaction is complete. The app on their device acts as a virtual credit card. While card payments are replacing cash registers, NFC readers are increasing in popularity (soon to overthrow debit cards or credit cards as the favorite way to pay).
The POS software is the software that enables all of the POS features, just like your mobile phone or computer’s software enables it to function. The software enables credit card processing as well as a number of other add-on features. Most point of sale software is cloud-based, meaning that important store and customer data is stored off-site. Since it has to be used by every employee, the best POS system software should be intuitive and designed for maximum ease of use. Most POS software offers some level of customization of their dashboards, depending on the needs of your particular business. POS software helps your POS hardware work as best as it can.
If you have a brick-and-mortar location but need the capability of online ordering, your POS software will enable employees to handle those orders in-house.
POS System Integrations
POS systems perform a host of other functions beyond just taking orders or completing transactions. Learn more about everything you can get out of your point of sale system.
Business owners can take advantage of employee management tools to monitor employee performance, such as individual sales reporting and attachment rates. These tools also include clock-in and clock-out functions.
Inventory management tools track inventory levels in real-time, ensuring that replacement materials, items, or ingredients are never out of stock. Owners can choose to receive reminders when stocks are getting low or reorder through the point of sale system itself.
Inventory management is especially necessary for restaurants because they have stock that can perish or spoil. If certain dishes aren’t selling well, or other dishes are selling more, owners or managers can adjust their ingredient orders accordingly, or use the data to implement menu changes.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Customer relationship management tools enable business owners to better connect with and retain customers. For instance, many POS systems have integrated customer loyalty programs that allow guests to accumulate points that can be redeemed later for gift cards, free meals, or other offers. You can also utilize customer data and buying habits for promotion and email marketing.
POS software will compile your sales data and compile it into a format of your choice. You can see sales trends over time in graph formats, details of items sold and when, and the total cost of goods sold.
SkyTab: A Complete POS Solution
If you’re operating a restaurant, SkyTab by Shift4 is the total POS solution for you! With SkyTab as your point of sale system, you’ll have access to features such as the following:
- Seamless online ordering directly from your website. You can use third-party delivery services, such as DoorDash or Uber Eats, or your own in-house delivery.
- Integrated payment processing. SkyTab’s payment processor is protected with the highest level of security, so there’s no reason to worry about security issues no matter what the payment type. SkyTab partners with banks to offer the lowest processing fees of any POS system.
- Reservation Management. You can accept customer reservations for tables twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Since the reservation system is integrated into SkyTab, there are no third-party fees.
- Mobile POS app. Keep an eye on every aspect of your restaurant, no matter where you are, thanks to mobile capabilities.
- QR code capability. Customers can scan a unique QR code at the table and view the entire menu on their mobile devices. They can place an order which syncs directly to the SkyTab system.
Pineapple POS Solutions
Pineapple POS is your partner for point of sale systems. Our dedicated team will evaluate your needs and recommend a point of sale system that’s right for your business. At Pineapple POS, we recognize that the needs of a small business aren’t the same as a national chain.
We install your system with zero upfront costs to you. After your installation, we offer in-person training for your entire staff on how to use your new POS system. If you’re having issues, we have dedicated on-site customer support.
If you want to upgrade your point of sale software or hardware, don’t wait any longer! Contact Pineapple POS today and discover how a modern POS solution can skyrocket your business!