Close-up of a point of sale system hardware.

What Is a POS System — and Why Do You Need One?

The small business technology landscape has undoubtedly changed over recent years. It wasn’t long ago that small business owners had to rely on spreadsheets or pen-and-paper to run their day-to-day business operations. Thanks to the innovations in cloud computing, small to medium-sized businesses can afford the same sophisticated business apps as the larger companies. POS systems are a prime example of this. Today, even a mom-and-pop retail store down the corner can have a sleek and sophisticated point of sale solution without breaking the bank. Before worrying about monthly fees, learn what is a POS system and how it can benefit you.

The Evolution of Point Of Sale Systems

Gone are the days when small businesses had no option but to use clunky cash registers to ring up sales. You may think of point-of-sale systems (POS Systems) as just a cash register, but they’re evolving to do much more. However, cash registers simply record sales, give change, and store money with no other add-ons besides a receipt printer. POS systems can process transactions and integrate with mobile devices and cloud services to satisfy different users’ software and hardware requirements. In addition, you can use them with back-end accounting systems and credit card payment processors. While several payment processing solutions are available for your retail business (including credit card readers and various new mobile payment methods, barcode scanners, and contactless payments), the modern-day POS terminals are technologically advanced cash drawers!

What’s In It For Your Business?

Many midsize and small businesses use cloud-enabled point of sale software services without needing a physical back-end server in multiple locations. POS systems now integrate seamlessly with other back-end applications, such as debit card and credit card processing, sales data, employee management, payroll services, loyalty programs, gift cards, customer data/customer relationship management (CRM), inventory management, and even online ordering and email marketing. This means they communicate with back-end accounting software and can handle multiple kinds of payments and business needs. Retailers risk slowing down their operations and missing critical data that could help them grow their business faster. A POS system provider can present key customer insights, inventory level, and when to order more supplies.

Modern POS System Software

When people talk about point of sale systems, they’re most likely referring to the software features, which could be on-premise or cloud-based. That’s because it’s the software that lets you track sales, issue receipts, and perform back-office functions. Such functions include replacing inventory, customer loyalty, tracking employee productivity, and noting what sells and what doesn’t. These are usually accessible in real-time on custom machines or tablets, including Android and iPad touchscreen mobile POS system applications.

On-Premise Software

The attribute that determines if a POS software is where it’s backed up. On-premise software is where the business owner purchases the software licenses and installs software on their computer systems. The business owner updates and maintains the software, which sometimes requires a dedicated IT professional for larger organizations; this requires a hefty upfront POS hardware purchase in most retail POS system contexts. 

Cloud-Based Software

A cloud-based system has many different features. With cloud-based, the business owner or buyer can access the software at home or on any internet-connected device. Software updates are pushed to the POS system and are easy to maintain. The upfront cost of a cloud-based system is typically much lower than an on-premise software system.

Common Small Business Functions 

There are many ways small businesses can benefit from an advanced POS system.

1. Sales Reporting

  • Generate detailed sales reports (based on product, hour, employee, total cost of items sold, total retail amount, sales tax, net profit, profit percentage, gross margin)
  • Provide quick snapshots and charts on sales transactions and performance

2. Inventory Management

  • Digitally scan and count products.
  • Manage your stock by creating product variations (size, color).
  • Identify pieces of inventory with a unique serial number.
  • Track inventory levels across multiple locations.
  • Enable seamless ordering, such as automatically setting custom reorders of best-sellers.
  • Consolidate purchases and orders in one.

3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • Attach a sale/transaction to a customer.
  • Keep track of your customers’ purchase history.
  • Capture customer information, such as name, age, birthday, phone number, and email address.
  • Use email marketing to keep in touch with customers.
  • Create a built-in loyalty program.

4. Employee Management

  • Add employees to your system.
  • Create and modify schedules for employees.
  • Email schedules to employees.
  • Track employees’ weekly and overtime hours.
  • Analyze who your top performers are.

Pineapple POS Can Help!

Pineapple POS is familiar with all facets of the POS provider industry, such as sales reporting, inventory management, customer management, and employee management. Pineapple POS is the top pick for local point of sale consultation, service, and support. Services are available for industries such as food and beverage, cafes, hotels/hospitality, eCommerce, retail and physical stores, sports, and entertainment. Which is the right POS system for you? We are also proud to offer all of the best POS systems like Duet, Clover, Harbortouch, and Micros, including contactless card reading such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Let Jaret Smotrila and the team at Pineapple POS find the right POS solution for you and your business! Contact us today!