Many of you probably already know what a POS system is, but just in case you need a refresher, these are what’s known as “Point of Sale” systems in the business world. These systems let the seller or merchant calculate the exact amount the consumer owes, specify that amount, create an invoice and suggest payment options for the consumer to act upon. After the transaction is complete, the merchant can then provide a receipt that may either be printed or received electronically.
If you are in business and are providing anything from consumer goods to professional services, you will need to have the right POS system in place for you. Recently, we have seen a major shift in the types of POS systems offered in retail and franchising and will cover some of these trends in the remainder of this blog post.
We are all familiar with traditional POS systems from our daily interactions with them when purchasing groceries, supplies, goods, etc. What we also know about these systems is that they are heavily hardware driven. Many times, the keyboards are physically attached to these PC’s while also being attached to the mice. These traditional terminals have run from anywhere starting at $3,000 to $5,000 + per unit, depending on the level of complexity a buyer wants in a system. Built with a focus on the enterprise-level brands, this has been extremely beneficial to its users and has given even start-up, small and medium-sized businesses the luxury of running their brick and mortar stores with the same reliability and functionality that large, established enterprise brands are taking advantage of.
The nice thing about the changes that have come about with mobile-focused POS systems is that you don’t have any hardware installed on site. All the hardware heavy lifting is being handled by Square like platforms, so all a store has to manage are phones/tablets and their peripherals. Many brands have been leading this POS transition, some of the brands include: NCR, Clover, Square and Shop Keep. And the best part of all? Ease of access. All you need for something like Square is a lighting jack in your smartphone to easily secure transactions in store or on the go! These companies, along with many others have worked hard to create a new and simpler way of selling.
The cool thing about the newer cloud technology is that it can allow the usage of Apple Pay, etc straight out of the box. Old systems weren’t designed this way, but I can buy a little Square reader today for next to nothing that gives me mobile pay capabilities. These are software solutions and cloud-based solutions working in tangent to provide a seamless transactional process. Many franchise brands have been able to capitalize on these systems within their locations, by not only providing the easiest form of payment available currently, but also tracking all store sales, trends and analytics within their system as well.
Both traditional and modern POS systems are very popular, if not equally popular, today. Some companies are fearful of switching over to this new era of technology because, for example, service-based industries could face very cumbersome transactional situations with postponed payments. Also, there is always a few people who hesitate with a major change in their business, including the psychological cost and hardware cost associated with a new POS system. In these kinds of situations, the decision made by the brand itself is ultimately what will happen. But, a cool thing I’ve seen lately is the hybrid approach – this is when brands allow their older and mature locations to continue using the systems already in place and push newer systems out to their new locations. This way, it’s kind of the best of both worlds, the ability to try out what works best.
POS systems have come a very long way. Stay ahead and see what can benefit you!