In business, POS stands for POS System with Inventory Management. A point of sale is the place and instance where a transaction takes place. This does not just mean cash registers, but can also include e-commerce shopping trolleys and checkouts. Payments made using a smartphone or tablet with a card reader are also acceptable, as are transactions made using QR codes from payment services such as PayPal on these devices. Sales tax is usually also calculated and collected at the point of sale POS System with Inventory Management.
The rapid growth of digital technology in the 21st century has led to point-of-sale technology expanding from a simple sales portal to an integrated payment processing system, often integrated with other business tools. These POS systems have the following advantages for businesses.
Automated sales processes. The most obvious benefit of POS systems is that they speed up and facilitate transactions with your customers.
Sales and inventory tracking. POS System with Inventory Management track all transactions, giving you insight into your daily revenue. Some systems have an inventory tracking feature that automatically updates the inventory whenever a barcode is scanned into the cash register.
Card reading function. If you have a store but don’t have room for a large cash register, a portable cash register can help. Many POS systems will turn your smartphone or tablet into a cash register that accepts credit card payments – just plug the card reader into your device, keep the POS app open, and ask your customers to swipe, tilt or tap their credit card to complete a transaction.
Integration with other platforms. If your cash register can integrate with other software platforms in your business, such as accounting services, you’ll get a better understanding of your cash flow. This will give you an accurate picture of how much cash your business has as a result of sales.
Key point. A POS system can streamline the sales process, track sales and inventory, and integrate with other business software you use.
POS systems have moved beyond managing sales and are becoming an integral part of the overall business ecosystem.
Cloud-based restaurant POS System with Inventory Management like Touch Bistro allow users to distribute checks, quickly search for menu items, monitor server performance, process online and at-the-table orders, report trends of cancelled or replaced items to guests, track which menu items are selling well, and even train new staff.
Retail mobile POS systems like Square allow businesses to convert iPads and smartphones into POS systems using Square’s readers and mounts. Its first fully integrated system, Square Register, allows you to “track sales in real time, manage inventory, build customer catalogs and let customers pay intuitively.”
Here are five ways POS systems are changing, and how your business can move to the forefront of POS technology.
By operating online, your business can grow exponentially. In the past, businesses had to share data between their e-commerce platform and their physical POS system. To run a report, you need to import the results of both into a spreadsheet, accounting system or other reporting software. However, with a shared store POS system, businesses can save a lot of time by automating the process.
One e-commerce solution is the Shoplift POS System with Inventory Management. It syncs with the Shoplift app for iOS and Android to track online and offline transactions. Instead of managing two inventory and payment systems, Shoplift POS syncs financial and product data in a central dashboard. This gives you quick and easy access to real-time data and customer information from both sales channels without having to run reports in multiple systems.
Businesses should consider adopting mobile payments as customers are moving away from cash.
Customers are using credit cards and mobile wallets more often than cash payments. Finance Magnates estimates that by 2025, 75% of transactions will be cashless.
Mobile wallet systems will allow businesses to accept credit card payments anywhere there is an internet connection, and customers will have more autonomy over how they pay. [See our review of Up serve, the best POS mobile app among our top picks].
Depending on the system, businesses can start accepting mobile payments without heavy equipment upgrades or complex staff training. Mobile credit card processing services.
The new POS system combines real-time transactions with a CRM solution to help businesses increase sales and grow revenue.
While previous POS systems could only provide basic information about customer behavior (if they provided any), the POS/CRM integration allows you to see which customers are driving sales and where to target customer loyalty.
Online CRM and billing software Sells is one such solution. POS integration allows businesses to create customer records, CRM tasks and email marketing lists directly from the checkout.
Another example is Revel Systems, an iPad POS solution with CRM functionality. Its features allow businesses to collect all types of customer data from checkout transactions, including names, billing and shipping addresses, emails, loyalty program membership information and order history. The software then helps businesses organize, synchronize and share this information across departments – sales, marketing, customer service and technical support – to improve the customer experience.
Big Data is not just for large companies with big data budgets. Small businesses now have access to powerful data from their POS systems at an affordable price.
For example, Shop Keep, a POS software for small businesses, offers powerful data collection and reporting features to help you gain insights into your business. Detailed reports include inventory and volume analysis, best-selling products, revenue and margin optimization, and staffing needs.
Toast, a restaurant POS system, streamlines “restaurant operations by combining POS, front-of-house, back-office and guest-facing technology on a single platform” and allows restaurateurs to “track restaurant sales, labor costs, food costs and more in real time at home and on the go with powerful reporting capabilities.”
Square offers beauty salons a POS system with built-in appointment scheduling software. Customers can pay while sitting in their chairs, and salon owners can manage each employee’s account.
The Internet of Things (IoT) – connecting devices, networks and physical objects via the internet (talking fridges and smart homes) – enables POS systems to be connected to front-end and back-end processes such as CRM, accounting and inventory management systems. As a result, POS systems are vulnerable to hacking and data breaches.
In 2014, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a warning and best practices guide that found that cybercriminals have targeted POS systems to collect consumer and credit card information by spreading malware through internet-connected devices. Although the security report is six years old, it is important that businesses keep their security systems up to date and understand how to counter potential threats or attacks.
US-CERT recommends protecting Cloud Based Inventory Management Software by using strong passwords, ensuring that the latest updates to POS software are in place, installing firewalls, using antivirus software, restricting unauthorized Internet access (e.g. for non-POS transactions) and disabling remote access rights to POS systems. In addition, the POS system provider should have appropriate security and compliance as part of the service level agreement.
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