eCommerce Business Basics: POS Solutions
What is a POS Solution?
POS stands for point of sale. In essence, POS is the time frame in which your customer makes a purchase. Your clerk totals the price and tax, the buyer presents payment, and your clerk provides a receipt.
POS solutions are the tools that enable a smooth transaction. In particular, they consist of the equipment and software that ensure speed, accuracy, and record keeping. Depending upon the sophistication of the system, POS solutions may extend to CRM – customer relationship management -- inventory updates, logistics, warehouse management, staff management, accounting and more.
The basic components of a POS system include:
- Cash drawer
- Display screen
- Credit card reader
- Integrated credit card processing system
- Receipt printer
- Integrated software system
The POS package may also include a bar code scanner, a bar code generator, a scale, a conveyor belt and an iPad vault, according to the needs of your particular business.
This type of system is especially useful if you have multiple locations because it stores all your POS data in a single online vault for instant access. Also, you can monitor and transact sales with any connected device from anywhere with Internet.
The pros of cloud-based POS include:
- Little to no start-up costs
- Affordable month-to-month subscription
- Instant upgrades with no system downtime
- Unlimited secure data storage
With cloud-based POS, periodic interruption of Internet service need not be a problem. Built-in backup functions let you continue with business as usual, even when your connection is temporarily down.
Although POS systems require Internet for credit card processing, packages are available that keep your data strictly in-house. With this type of POS, you purchase a software license and the POS equipment suite upfront. The only ongoing costs are periodic updates. You and your IT staff take care of data security and backup, thus saving you money.
The pros of localized POS systems include:
- Easily accessible data and cash sales functions independent of an Internet connection
- Control over security
- One-time fees paid at setup
Compatibility is always a critical concern when selecting new software. Compatibility information should be available from the system’s manufacturer. Be sure to verify that a POS package will interface correctly with your existing computer network, if applicable, before making your purchase.
Integrations and Add-ons
You have plenty of options beyond basic POS. Many upgrades and add-ons are available, such as:
- External accounting program
- Warehouse app
- Online shopping carts
- E-commerce app
- Email apps
- Facebook interface
As a business owner, you can customize your electronic POS to enhance your ROI while improving your customers’ shopping experience. One way to do this is by offering a self-checkout option. Your customer enjoys a quicker transaction and you save on labor costs.
With POS customer tracking capability, you can better anticipate and provide for your clients’ shopping needs. Tracking also helps you plan successful sales that both make money for your business and foster customer loyalty.
POS systems are changing how retailers manage commerce. A customized POS package enables you to keep better track of your sales data, your personnel, your customers’ needs and their purchasing patterns. By maximizing the power of your POS, you optimize accuracy, functionality and sales.