Accepting payments from customers and managing sales operations are two important aspects of running a successful business. In the world of consumerism, it is hard and, most of the time, even impossible to handle transactions manually because of the amount and variety of clients you can deal with daily. The challenges start to appear when you need to keep track of real-time sales data, inventory levels, and customer details.
According to the Payments 2025 & Beyond report by PwC, clients today expect fast, convenient, secure, and personalized payment experiences. They also demand more choice and flexibility in payment methods and channels. It means that payments providers have to keep up with the latest technologies and innovations, such as biometrics, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain. However, adopting new technologies can also pose challenges in terms of cost, integration, scalability, and reliability, which requires you to find the middle ground. And, using point of sale software is one of the options you may want to go for to mitigate risks. Therefore, let’s find out more about this type of system and clarify how it can help your business processes.
What POS Is and Who Uses It
POS (Point of Sale) system is a combination of hardware and software that simplifies various tasks related to payments and sales operations. It basically helps with the processing of transactions, inventory management, customer relationship management, reporting and analytics, staff management, and more. A POS system improves customer service by reducing waiting times, errors, and hassles. It also increases sales by offering multiple payment options, upselling and cross-selling products, and creating loyalty programs. As a result, you not only save time and money but also gain insights and make informed decisions.
To understand better the specifics of such a system, let’s explore Shopify POS as the most popular example of the system. This is a cloud-based software that works on Android and iOS, which means that a POS can be created as a mobile app as well. In general, POS software can run on various devices, including desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and dedicated hardware. The system offers built-in payment processing with variable fees and such features as multichannel inventory management, e-commerce integration, customer profiles, gift cards, etc. POS software can also be integrated with other tools, like barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, and card readers. So, as you can see, it connects every operation related to sales and gathers them in one place to improve the management of these processes.
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It is safe to say that many industries and businesses need POS software to run their operations efficiently and effectively. Let’s clarify the common examples when a business may need to use POS software.
Retail businesses sell goods or services to customers for online ordering or in physical stores. They need POS software to handle transactions, manage inventory, track sales performance, and offer discounts or rewards. The examples of retail businesses are diverse and include clothing stores, bookstores, electronics shops, pet supplies stores, and more. Retail businesses need POS systems because they can help them with various aspects of their operations:
- Inventory and warehouse management. This component can help you to monitor your products and show you which ones sell well and which ones don’t. Managing inventory could consume a lot of your time and create room for errors, which could result in confused or delayed orders. Having a POS system leads to less issues and keeps the track of inventory and sales so you could order on time.
- Checkout process. A POS system can speed up the checkout process by scanning barcodes, calculating the total price, applying discounts, and processing payments. This can reduce the waiting time for customers and increase their satisfaction.
- Payment options. Having a POS opens up an opportunity to accept different types of payments, such as cash, credit card, debit card, e-wallet, gift card, or loyalty points. This can cater to the preferences of different customers, encourage them to complete their purchases, and improve the overall payment procedure.
Hospitality businesses provide food, drink, or accommodation to customers. They need POS software to process orders, accept payments, manage reservations, and monitor clients feedback. If you run a restaurant, bar, hotel, coffee shop, bakery, or any other similar business, you will need to implement POS software for your company, because it improves the following processes:
- Inventory management. Just like in retail business, having a system that is able to monitor and control your inventory is a game-changer. The more automated your processes are, the more precise and faster service you are able to provide to your customers.
- Employee management. Any hospitality business requires to deal with the staff management operations, and POS can help in this case. It can help with assigning roles, permissions, and schedules as well as track the performance of your employees. If your system also has instant messaging or notifications, you will see immediate positive changes in communication between the staff.
Consumer services businesses provide personal or professional services to customers. They need POS software to create invoices, track payments, manage appointments, and provide customer service. Any salon can benefit from having this type of system.
- CRM. Integrating a CRM system into POS helps you to turn leads into customers, then them into return customers, and return clients into frequent ones. This is the perfect way to improve your sales, marketing, and customer service by using the data and features of both systems.
- Booking and appointment management. Before a client goes into your salon, they need to book an appointment. And POS can help with the process. Online appointment scheduling makes it easier for customers to book their appointments without having to go through a receptionist. With this feature, an administrator can easily edit, add, and remove the needed booking information.
Multi-service businesses offer a variety of services to customers in different industries, for example, hospitals, theaters, stadiums, venues, etc. They usually need POS software to manage multiple aspects of the operations, including inventory, sales, accounting, payroll, and marketing. Basically, a system may include the features that are used in retail and other sectors.
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How Does a POS System Work and Which Components Does It Include?
To be able to use POS at its fullest, it is essential to know the components it consists of. There are basically two sides of a coin: software and hardware. So, let’s see what each of the parts entails.
This is all physical devices that you use for sales and payment operations. They usually include the following:
- Terminal. This is the device that runs the POS software and processes the transactions. It can be a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, or a dedicated machine as we said earlier. A terminal can be connected to the internet or work offline.
- Receipt printer. It prints out a paper receipt for the client after each transaction. It can be connected to the terminal via cable or Wi-Fi. Some POS systems also offer digital receipts that can be sent to the customer’s email or phone.
- Barcode scanner. This device is connected to the terminal and it helps to scan the barcode of a product to add it to the customer’s cart. Some systems also allow using the device’s camera as a barcode scanner.
- Cash drawer. This one stores and secures the cash received from your clients. It can also be connected to the terminal and opened automatically when a cash transaction is completed.
This is the application that basically connects all hardware devices and organizes business operations . It can be cloud-based or installed on a device and have its own local environment. Considering that it has to deal smoothly with various processes and hardware, it is a more complex system than it looks.
First of all, a POS platform has to be able to process the tasks of a particular store. And each store has its own needs. Thus, the procedures required for a bookstore will differ from the procedures that are usual for a restaurant or a beauty salon. It is also convenient when a system is able to create reports, which helps to gather more valuable insights and keep track of trends. Moreover, some businesses offer loyalty programs and gift cards to attract more customers. Therefore, it is vital to understand that you can’t stop on just billing and inventory management operations.
Also, each store has its own ergonomics. There can be a different set of hardware devices that you need to connect the software with and be able to synchronize everything together according to your business goals and plans. It means that you need to understand what to do with your specific set of devices, settings, and operations.
Besides that, you have to remember that your POS system should be adjusted based on the accounting obligations and regulations. Each country has its own laws, and some require businesses to deliver POS software with a tax certificate. It means that your system must guarantee data inalterability, secure archives, and a secure fiscal signature on each sale and payment.
If you request assistance from an outsourcing company that offers custom software development services, your system can be customized to fit the preferences of your business and regulations of your country. It may include the features we covered above or have unique functionality depending on your requirements and goals.
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When you set all the settings and connect all the devices, the process will be similar to these steps:
- First, a customer selects the products or services they want to buy and brings them to the checkout counter. The staff scans the goods using the barcode scanner or enters them manually into the POS terminal.
- After that, the system calculates the total amount, including any taxes, discounts, or fees, and displays it on the screen.
- Then, a client needs to choose their preferred payment method and pay using their card, cash, or digital wallet. If they choose to use the payment method that requires using the card reader, they attach their card to it, and the device processes the payment and sends a confirmation to the terminal.
- The receipt printer prints out a receipt or sends a digital version to the customer’s email or phone.
- The cash drawer opens if cash is received and closes after giving change to the client.
- At the end of the whole process, the POS software updates the inventory levels, sales records, customer profiles, and other related data according to the transaction.
A POS system is a vital tool for any business that sells products or services to customers. It can help you manage your sales operations, improve your customer service, increase your sales, and enhance your security. By choosing the right POS system for your business, you can optimize your business processes and achieve your business goals. To choose the best POS system for your business, you should consider your goals, needs, preferences, and budget. Comparing different options based on the features, functions, quality, and reviews can also help you to form a better decision. If you have an idea of which features you want to implement into your system or want to know the opinion of our experts, please contact us, and we will be glad to assist you.