A good point of sale or POS system combines different technologies driven by the purpose of creating a convenient system for the user. It plays a vital role for any business because it reflects your commitment to provide value to the customer in a secure and quick way. For this reason it is even more crucial for budding businesses. Not all POS solutions advertised as efficient are really up to the mark, so here are some features that should be present in the system to make it an all-rounder:
- Touch Screen Display
No matter how great the system is from inside, if it has a bad interface it will be rendered useless. Therefore, the first thing to ensure is a good user interface. Touch screens make things easy and quick. With touch phones so common now, most people are used to touch screens. The best thing about touchscreens is the fact that they are simple and easy to learn, reducing any training needs.
Of course, besides ease of use the interface should be rugged too. Remember the system will be used very frequently so it should be spill or grime resistant and immune to rough usage.
- Customer Display
Transparency in sales operations is highly beneficial and through a built in customer display you can tell the customer when you ring something. Also, advertisements can be used on this display, for example, to inform them about any discounts on any particular cards or coupons. This will do the sales job as well besides handling payments.
- POS Software
A multi-functional POS system will have a software running behind the scenes controlling all operations in sync. You should be able to scan and print through this software. This is basically part of every POS system but there are still some old systems that do not have software embedded.
It can be the user’s discretion which software they want to use but if you set a criteria, things get much easier. It also removes the hassle of finding compatible solutions as one software is controlling everything.
These systems are handling sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers and customer details so security is definitely a high priority feature here. The system should be rigorous in this regard and a closed system such as a real time cloud system would fight against malware and hacks. There should be proper firewalls for any outside access or even installation of another software. To deliver convenience and maximum value, a modern POS system should come with an in built security and backup software.
- Integrated Printer
Another important thing to consider here is the easy load that allows the user to just insert a paper roll whenever the printer runs out of it. This makes things simple and does not disrupt check outs. These printers can be thermal in that case they will be faster. Although not necessary, they should be able to print the logos and graphics etc. The receipt is an important part of the transaction between you and your customer and the better and clearer printed it is, the more familiarity and trust you build.
There is never a complete machine and there are always new technologies coming out. The POS system should have interfaces to integrate with other devices for example scales or computers. They should also be able to integrate and connect with other POS systems and exchange information in real time. To provide better support for these external devices it should at least have USB and LAN interface.
- Magnetic Card Reader
This is the age of plastic money and a POS system that cannot work with cards is essentially not a POS system. In order to read id cards, sign in cards or loyalty cards and virtually all credit cards you will need a magnetic strip reader. It gets a little tricky here as the new regulations require the card reader for credit cards to be a secure/encrypted one. This cannot be the same reader as the one used for the other purposes. Also as per the new standards, EMV require chip and pin entry for the credit cards (for more rules and regulations on credit card processing read this).The machine extracts all information from the strip and there is no need to feed information manually. This makes services fast which is the whole point of having a POS in the first place.
Now all stores are interconnected and part of a bigger system that shares information. This increases the pressure on networks, commerce applications and enterprise software. There is a lot of load on individual systems so there is a need of scalability for the POS system. The system should be able to withstand massive loads and communicate effectively with the central system. They should be equipped to handle large amounts of data.
- Handling Glitches
The system should be prepared to handle glitches because they are simply unavoidable. The system should be resilient and handle a lot of information and transactions. There is nothing worse than having a customer walk away because of a failed system. It does not reflect well on your business. You should be able to satisfy the customers somehow if the POS system stops working.
Importance of an all-rounder POS System
A good POS system that has everything can do wonders for your business. Here is how:
- Quick operations
- Secure transactions
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Increased sales
Make sure you identify your needs as well and find the solution that best suits them. You may be able to get away with the absence of one or two features but easy interface, security and error handling are must.
Point of sale systems brings together different technologies and makes transactions easy and quick. A lot has evolved since these systems first came into existence and mostly for the better. The essential things for a complete and reliable POS solution are easy user interface that makes navigation simple, a rigorous software and uncompromising security. These electronic devices can make or break your business by satisfying customers and giving your sales staff control with convenience.