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What is POS?

Tillie Demetriou
5 Jul. 2024

In a changing world of commerce, with consumers making more and more purchases with the use of increasingly sophisticated technology, one thing remains the same: your electronic point of sale  (POS) is essential to staying in control of your business. So business owners can only benefit from a good understanding of it. 


What is a POS system?

While a point of sale could be described as any location, physical or virtual, where financial transactions take place within a business, POS has come to refer to the advanced computer technology that a business runs on. POS systems process sales and then calculate and retain data for the management of prices, stock, employees, sales history, taxes, customers, and more.


How POS works?

The software designed for POS technology has to be very flexible to run at top speed while being big enough to fulfill the ambitions of every kind of business that uses it. Epos Now customers use the same software to run bars, clubs and shops of every kind. This is possible through having a large selection of modifiable features and settings, as well as a huge number of apps that can be downloaded for different business needs.

While these many features make POS software overwhelmingly large, it can be understood as a small number of sections that cover the functions listed above: setup, products, stock, staff, customers, reporting, and the front till. For instance, most businesses spend their opening hours with their till on the section used for processing sales using barcode scanners or a web of hotkeys for each product sold.

Epos Now’s front till has all standard features for regular trading like no sale, payout, refund, and end-of-day options. But it also has options such as table planners and tabs for hospitality, additional product information and images for specialized retail. Visually, it can be modified so products appear beneath selected categories or on a new page, with colour and order options, so you can set the web of hotkeys up exactly as you want them. 

Each section of a POS system should mirror this attention to detail, from customer data storage, stock-taking systems, to accountancy features. This anticipation of business needs is what to look for in a POS system, as it will allow you to change your POS with your business as you make decisions to boost profits and streamline service. 


What does POS do?

There are several obvious reasons why most businesses invest in strong POS systems, and the positive effects they have transfer across every industry.

POS systems:

  • Streamline business processes, from transactions to stock-taking to payroll 
  • Improve the reliability of the sales process, saving money and improving company image
  • Generate hundreds of valuable reports to aid management and inform decisions.
  • Provide easy access to emerging industry norms, such as card processing integrations, e-commerce and delivery platforms.

A good POS terminal will be able to process thousands of transactions in lightning-quick time each day, but that speed will be maintained in the quieter periods when it comes to stock management or when it comes to processing payroll. POS terminals have ready-made features that will give a business all the necessary data and reports with minimal input on the users side. In a word, POS automates your business.

For instance, with a programmed payroll staff simply tap their name and clock in and out when necessary and the system will automatically calculate how much they need to be paid come payday, with a table detailing shift and the number of hours worked.

Because of the need to cater to as many businesses as possible. POS companies tend to be champions of the latest technology and make it as accessible as they can. mPOS (mobile point of sale) devices are now becoming very popular, as they give businesses the advantage of making sales on the move. Being able to gather those useful reports from your online store is now a common part of web integrations, and debit and credit card payment integrations continue to evolve as they dominate cash as the standard method of payment.

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How many types of POS machine are there?

With the flexibility of the software, businesses can use almost any kind of device to use as a POS. However, it is common for businesses to use either the regular terminals, or else a tablet, iPad, or mPOS device. Tablet and iPad devices work well, as they can sit in a stand above a cash drawer, or be picked up to work as a mobile till. 

mPOS devices are smaller and are arguably less useful as a main service point as the small size and handheld features makes them slightly slower to use than a larger, fixed screen. However, they are extremely popular for the added convenience of providing table or aisle service. The Epos Now Pro + has proven especially popular with retailers thanks to its on-the-go access EPOS software for business management which allows efficiency.

What to look for in a POS terminal?

Now you know how valuable POS is, it’s worth knowing how to tell a good POS purchase from a bad one. While the software requirements of a business will vary, in most cases, the hardware needs are very similar.

What is a POS terminal?

A POS terminal is the computer hardware that most businesses purchase to run the software application on. While it is possible to just purchase the software to run on a laptop or personal device, POS terminals are specially designed to work as part of a hardware system that usually includes, but is not limited to:

  • Till screens
  • Cash drawers
  • Card machines
  • Receipt printers
  • Order printers (in hospitality)
  • Barcode printer (in retail)

POS terminals are adapted computers so many of the usual considerations apply, however, memory needs may vary depending on the company you go with. Epos Now’s cloud-based system means that data storage on the terminal itself doesn’t need to be much higher than on the average computer. This is because your company’s information will be stored on dedicated servers for you to access via the businesses account rather than on the tills themselves.

Once you’ve determined the combination of hardware you want to purchase, the best thing to do is reach out to the companies themselves. POS systems are a big commitment, and nobody expects you to buy without first trying the software out. The Epos Now sales team will take you on a virtual tour of the system, taking time to get to know your business in order to give you the best advice possible and ensure there won’t be any issues further down the line as you begin your journey into the wide world of POS.


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