What are the Key Features of a Point of Sale System?
A Point of Sale system comes with many key features and functions vital to ensuring your POS system runs smoothly and effectively.
What is a Point of Sale?
Retailers rely on POS systems to process sales, handle the reporting, analytics, and inventory tracking, billing, promotions, and more – depending on your particular requirements.
How Does Point of Sale work?
The POS used to refer to the cash register in the store but has now become fully digitised, allowing retail operators to process payments and track inventory on any internet-enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone.
Components of a Point of Sale
The POS system is divided into two key components – hardware and software. Here is a quick overview of what these include.
1. POS Hardware
This is the physical setup of the Point of Sale system that you will be using daily. The hardware will consist of:
This is a PC, tablet, or smartphone where you register the transaction details.
– Cash drawer
This is where you store the daily takings, including cash, receipts, and vouchers.
– Receipt printer
Although there is a move towards paperless transactions whereby receipts are emailed, some customers and businesses still require printed paper receipts.
– Card machine
This can be in the form of a traditional card machine requiring a SIM card or landline; otherwise, it can be an app-based card reader which requires WiFi or network data.
– Barcode scanner
A scanner is used to monitor stock levels with the POS system, automatically updating the product count.
– Network device
For both cloud-based and on-site systems, you’ll need an internet connection in the form of a router, modem or hub.
2. POS Software
This is where the relevant information is stored and maintained within a database. The software has a range of capabilities including billing and order processing, inventory tracking, customer information, employee management, and loyalty programmes.
What Are the Different Types of Pos Systems?
Depending on your type and size of a retail organisation, there are three types of POS systems from which to choose.
1. Mobile POS (mPOS)
This uses a portable electronic device – tablet or smartphone – as a terminal with a credit card reader attached. As can be deduced from the name, this is a mobile device that can process a company’s payments, perform inventory management, report, and more. The mobile POS is best suited to smaller organisations and pop-up retailers.
2. Terminal or On-Premise POS
This is an advanced POS system consisting of software and hardware with several additional components, including scanners, credit card readers, receipt printers, and cash drawers. These are best suited to bigger retail stores including grocery stores, boutiques, bookshops, electronic stores, and salons.
3. Cloud POS
This is an entirely internet-based POS system that can be used through existing hardware such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and printers. The cloud-based POS system is installed in data centres rather than an on-premise server. These are a good fit for startups because of the flexibility in functionality.
What Are The Features of POS Software?
Once you’ve decided on the type of Point of Sale equipment that will suit our business, you need to consider the features that will enhance your business operations.
– Billing and Processing
This is a basic feature for all POS systems whereby items are scanned and information captured for various payment modes. This allows for generating invoices which include customer details, store details, and product details.
– Sales Monitoring and Reporting
This feature allows retailers to keep track of all sales regularly, from hourly and daily, through to weekly, monthly, and annually. This gives real insights into sales’ trends, indicating what is working within the business and what’s not. This could include:
You can inquire if the POS system has a dashboard, giving you a complete overview of the store performance with one glance.
The POS system should be able to report all stock data through reports so that you can determine which are your best- and worst-selling items. This allows you to better plan your merchandising orders in the future. There is also the option of building your reports that will enable you to specify the criteria you want to assess. For this, you’ll need a Point of Sale system with a flexible reporting option.
– Split Payments
Specific POS systems allow customers to split the payments and spread them across a range of payment methods.
– Inventory Management
Keeping track of your stock is vital to productivity, which is why this POS feature is so important. The inventory management module monitors the arrival of new stock, the sale of existing stock, and can alert when levels need to be replenished.
– Quick Keys
This particular POS feature allows you to access information through a series of shortcuts that save time, especially when dealing with customers. This feature is particularly important while you’re ringing up sales, allowing your cashiers to quickly and easily check another screen.
– Employee Management
Through your POS system, you’re able to manage your staff numbers, their hours of employment, performance, and productivity. This helps with tracking individual progress, where training is needed, and discovering what’s working or not. For this to be effective, your POS system will have user accounts whereby employees can create their profile and password, thereby recording all transactions assigned to them. Employees can register at the start of the shift, or with each new sale, depending on the store setup.
You can improve your customer experience and retain customers through your POS system as you’re now able to provide personalised treatment. The POS system can retain useful customer data and track activity to assist in creating a customer profile. This information can then be used for targeted advertising, promotions, and discounted offers. Under this feature, you could benefit from:
- A searchable customer database for ease of use.
- Customer history that records all purchases and details.
- Custom properties that let you choose the customer data you want to be entered, such as birthdays and contact information.
– Refunds and Replacements
Another important POS feature for retail is the ability to facilitate refunds and replacements from any store location. The Point of Sale will be able to capture details like the employee and customer names, contact numbers, and the reason for the return. Having an effective, customer-friendly returns’ policy in place is vital to ongoing customer relations and loyalty.
– Loyalty Programmes and Gift Cards
Customer loyalty programmes show proven results in customer attraction and retention, which is why an innovative POS system will include loyalty cards as a feature. In addition to this are store gift cards that can be bought for others to use.
– Mobile Registers
This is an increasingly popular Point of Sale feature that allows you to ring up a customer’s sale anywhere in the store. This feature is generally found with the cloud-based POS system and is hugely advantageous because it mitigates lengthy queues. It’s also beneficial in settings like pop-up stores.
– Customer-Facing Display
By no means a ‘must-have’, but this POS feature allows customers to track the transaction as it’s being rung up, letting them indicate any errors before completion. There is more transparency for the customer throughout the sales process.
– Bulk Product Imports
This feature allows you to upload your stock onto the system in bulk, which is a massive time saver. Unless your store only stocks a select few items on the shelves, then you’ll be required to manually upload each item which will be incredibly time consuming and frustrating.
– Listing Variations and Composites
Depending on your particular retail operation, you might require your POS system to store product details according to certain variations so that you’re not listing them all under one section. For clothing retailers, the POS system should be able to itemise clothes according to type, including variations in colour and size. Then there is also the option of listing products as composites rather than individual items. For instance, a produce store might offer a discount when buying a pack of items rather than the individual.
– Barcode and Label Printing
If you need to keep track of your inventory through barcoding and labels, this is a feature found on certain POS systems. This way, all inventory is carefully tagged and easily traced, allowing you to track it from store to customer.
– Stock Transfers and Auto-Fill
If you’re a retailer with several locations, then the POS stock transfer feature allows you to transfer items between stores. You can also benefit from the auto-fill feature, which automatically orders more stock for your store by contacting suppliers directly.
Any retailer looking to streamline operations and improve business productivity should seriously consider investing in (or upgrading to) a quality Point of Sale system that offers features customised to the organisation’s needs. Consult with industry professionals before deciding on what the best POS fit will be for your retail requirements.