Learn How Does An EPOS System Work?
Now, let us go back to the basics and talk about how customer transactions have been processed, what an EPOS system normally consists of, and touch on a few options that are now available to businesses.
EPOS systems then and now
Only a few decades ago, a point of sale system was, in its most basic form, a cash register. The earlier cash registers wouldn`t "know" what items cost. The person who is operating the till would manually enter the costs of purchased items, regularly with the help of price tickets.
They would then take the money, place it in the cash drawer and hand over the customer with a paper receipt. As epos systems evolved, they became more computerised, storing a product in the database on a PC server. Often, they would include a barcode reader so there is no requirement for manual price entry, while also storing away transaction details electronically.
These days, things are far more sophisticated. While a few retailers still use systems as described above, many are moving onward to advanced cloud-based POS systems where data can be stored online.
Key components of an EPOS system
Modern EPOS system comprise of hardware and software components. The software is the thing that registers, processes and can also store transaction details, but there are a few important differences in how it is stored and used between various POS software systems.
All of the modern epos systems have a frontend interface for the point of sale and a backend (now and then called `backoffice` or `dashboard`) side for in the background analytics and management functions.
The staff processing the transactions uses the frontend interface, normally on a touchscreen monitor or tablet screen. The backend is accessed separately in a browser or application window either on the same device or a separate PC or mobile phone.
Regardless your kind of epos software, those two will be associated and synced, but there are two following ways that data can be stored:
For some time, nearby epos software has been the standard for electronic POS systems, however it is now more common to use cloud-based or hybrid systems depending with respect to both the internet and local hosting.
On site EPOS software will in general be costly to set up, often requiring professional assistance and maintenance. Cloud-based systems will in general tends to be less expensive (normally paid as a fixed month to month cost) and with more options to integrate with other software programs.
Finally, POS applications can contrast immensely as far as what features and layout they have. Every business sector has their very own requirements that particular POS applications suit for. For example, restaurants need a table layout to join orders to and may need a self-service menu interface so coffee shops can order at their tables before being served. Specific restaurant POS apps can offer this and a lot more restaurant functions as a part of the same package.
Businesses will have different needs with regards to epos hardware. Here we take a look at some of the most essential hardware components.
Interface/device where you register transaction details: Could for instance be a cash register with buttons, touchscreen PC monitor or mobile phone with a POS app.
Cash drawer: Used to store the day by day takings and cash float along with cheques, vouchers, receipts and slips that are relevant to accounting.
Receipt printer: It is used to print paper receipts for customers and end-of-day reports for cashing up.
Barcode scanner: Typically used in retail environments with a wide range of products. In general it is linked with the POS system`s stock level counts so it automatically updates product counts as per items sold.
Card machine: Used to process payments made by debit or credit or mobile wallets by means of NFC. Traditional card machines will require software installation and SIM card or landline connection, while application based card readers use Wi-Fi or network data with the help of a connected mobile device.
Network devices: Whether you`re depending on a cloud-based together or on premise system, you`re probably going to require a system setup for a internet connection or to link up your PC system on the premises. This could be for example a switch, modem or hub connecting a few local PCs.
Different points of sale
The hardware and software that is best rely upon your business needs. You may, for instance, not require a cash drawer if most of sales are through card. Or then again perhaps you need a mobile system that works in a market place as well as inside. Here we take a look at certain examples of various POS systems.
Small café using simple cloud-based POS
small cafe could choose cards transactions via a cloud-based POS application with respect to an iPad connected with a Bluetooth-connected compact card reader. In the case of taking cash, a cash drawer is important for maximum security. It is now the standard for POS apps to send receipts by means of email or text, so in theory, a budget POS setup could avoid a receipt printer. Moreover, it is still a necessity in many countries to give a paper receipt when asked for it, so you will most likely be unable to manage without it.
With the cloud-based POS, the owners can check sales from home in the POS back office account and send an everyday Excel report to the accountant. The cashier up in the cafe simply needs to check out on the iPad, check disparities between registered transactions and actual cash and card takings, organise banking and some other important end-of-day activities.
Retailer using locally hosted till system
A shop may choose an on location POS system if their internet isn`t dependable or they prefer having all data stored on their premises only. The hardware is generally non-versatile, installation needs professional support, and the software in general needs an IT person to physically come and perform them on location. These costs include, hence why it is large retailers with the resources who are still opting for onsite POS.
Retailers in addition will have certain features that should be incorporated in the POS system. Spanning from an inventory to monitoring stock levels to hardware tools like a scale on the counter (for food priced according by weight), barcode scanner and a device for taking off alert labels of alcohol or clothes. The most complex checkout system is generally a market till system, due the variety and volumes of products sold. The more specialised the items sold, the more specific the POS can be.
Restaurant chain using hybrid POS
Food and drink sectors like restaurants require an alternate set of features in the POS software than retailers. For one, it may require an approach to send food orders to the kitchen progressively (maybe through a connected kitchen printer), tipping options and a booking system for taking table reservations.
In this case if that the restaurant has primarily chosen a cloud-based POS system however their internet isn`t 100% reliable, they can connect an on-site server enabling the product to work when the internet is down and synchronize the information in the cloud when the internet is back up and running. This permits restaurants chains to profit by a cloud-based system where all sales data over the locations can be monitored in real time from any internet browser, while also depending on local hosting as a backup.
Alternatively, some cloud POS software offers an offline mode that keeps the POS working during no network, at that point synchronizes all the new data with the backend when the nearby system is back online.