What is POS?

Published: 27/01/2020

POS stands for ‘point of sale’ and is basically just the term used for whichever set-up you have in place for taking face-to-face transactions. It isn’t a specific machine or an isolated process, it’s the byproduct of a number of elements that, together, let you take payments in-person.

How does it work?

The way your POS system looks and functions will vary depending on a few things, like:

  • The type of technology you choose,
  • Which payment methods you want to accept,
  • If you need paper receipts,
  • Your end-of-day bookkeeping, and
  • The type of inventory system you’ve got in place.

And it’s safe to say, POS’ have evolved an awful lot over the years. Back in the day, they were a simple cash register and the system wouldn’t automatically know how much a product cost, the cashier would have to manually enter the price.

Fast forward to today though and they’re a whole other species. Here are some of the most common types:

1. Cloud-based POS (also known as EPOS)

With a cloud-based POS, all your transactions and sales data are stored online instead of on your computer or on-site server, and this means you can access the information from anywhere - whether you’re in your shop or on holiday in the Bahamas.

Better yet, the frontend bit of the system (i.e. the part you take the payment from) can be used on any internet-enabled device, like tablets, smartphones and touchscreen monitors, which could help cut costs. How? Because if you’ve already got any of these you might not need to invest in new equipment.

Most cloud-based EPOS’ (cough, cough, ours!) make the day-to-day management of your business easier too, by letting you:

  • Access real-time data online,
  • Create customised dashboards,
  • Collect customer data,
  • Keep on top of stock levels, and
  • Manage staff rotas, pay and performance.

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The last key detail worth noting is that you must be connected to the internet for your EPOS to work, although some providers do offer limited offline functionality to minimise disruption in the event of any online issues.

2. Locally hosted POS

If you’ve not got a reliable internet connection and you’d rather have all your data stored on-site, a locally hosted POS is probably more up your street. There are a few cons to this one though:

  • Usually, the equipment isn’t portable so you’re restricted to using it from just the one place.

  • The requirement of certain equipment makes it more expensive.

  • Because it uses a more specialised hardware set-up, it tends to take longer to install.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. They do come with a fair bit of functional flexibility and can be tailored to suit various levels of complexity.

3. Hybrid POS

As the name suggests, this one’s a combination of both cloud-based and locally hosted POS’. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing your business will run smoothly with or without an internet connection, with the added benefit of having all your data at your fingertips - from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day. 

Not sure which POS is right for you?

Here are a few questions to help you decide: 

  1. Do you take many, or any, cash payments?

If the answer’s yes you’ll probably need an EPOS till system (which comes with a cash drawer), if it’s no or you already have a cash drawer then you’ll be able to get away with a mobile EPOS.

  1. Will you need to move around with your system?

    Yes = mobile EPOS, no = EPOS till system. However, try to think for the future too. Just because your set-up isn’t mobile now, could it be this time next year? 
  1. Will you have access to the internet?

Both our mobile and till EPOS systems require access to the internet, but a locally hosted or hybrid POS could be up your alley if internet’s off the cards.

  1. What kind of features do you need built-in?

Ability to see stock levels? Customer data? Staff performance? Sales dashboards? Take your pick, all that and more comes as standard with our solutions. After all, knowledge is power, right?

  1. Will you need to access your data away from your business?

Whether you’re in your staff room, on the toilet, at home or on holiday, your data’s only ever a click away with either our mobile or till options. 

Ready to take the next step?

Choose an EPOS through takepayments and get:

  • Personalised pricing,
  • One-to-one training,
  • No unnecessary costs,
  • Next day replacements, and
  • Unlimited support.

Sound like what you’re after? Give us a call on 08082 393254.

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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