A POS system, or point of sale system, is a payment collection and business management solution, ideal for almost any physical retail or service business. If you’re a customer-facing business that’s reliant on physical payment collection, setting up a professional POS system is a must-have.
What is a point of sale system?
A point of sale system (POS) is a network of connected technologies that combine to take payment from customers and manage the entire sales process.
A POS solution is specifically used for in-person payment collection, as opposed to online payment systems or eCommerce solutions.
Typically, you’ll have:
- A physical terminal for credit and debit cards, which can either be a tap-and-go dongle or an EFTPOS machine.
- A cash drawer and receipt printer.
- POS software which manages and processes the sale.
- A tablet, computer, or phone to run the POS software.
- You can also link your software up to other associated software solutions like accounting software, CRM, and inventory tools.
- Depending on your business, you can add additional POS hardware such as barcode scanners or food order monitors.
How does a point of sale system work?
A POS system works by connecting POS software with POS hardware. Further than this, you would usually integrate your POS software with your accounting solution and CRM to further enhance the capabilities of the POS system and assist with record keeping, reporting and compliance.
When a customer makes a purchase, you select their product/service from your POS software. They can then tap or swipe their card using your terminal hardware or pay with cash or gift cards. This payment is then collected and recorded by your POS software and further captured by any integrated solutions.
The broader your integration scope, the better. A well-constructed POS system would usually record sales in your accounting software, update customer records in your CRM, automatically adjust your inventory levels, transmit information to other employees, and record employee sales details.
Who should be using a cloud POS?
Any individual or business looking to sell products or services and immediately accept payments, would be remiss if they didn’t adopt a cloud POS solution.
The additional benefits of having a cloud-based POS system, as opposed to a fixed solution, is the ability to operate from anywhere at any time.
If your business makes face-to-face sales in any context – whether it’s a storefront, café, delivery service, class, or market stall, keeping things in the cloud maintains mobility and ease of use.
Point of sale systems for restaurants and bars
A POS process for restaurants and bars would typically include the following steps:
- A wait person will take an order for food/drinks and enter this order onto a tablet or phone equipped with POS software.
- The order will be either displayed in the kitchen on a screen, or a physical ticket is printed and delivered to the kitchen staff.
- Any drink orders will be similarly delivered to the bartender.
- When the order is ready, the waitperson will be notified on their device so they can complete the service.
- When it comes time to pay, the waitperson can collect cash or cards from the customer and a receipt can be printed.
- The inventory is automatically updated, employee sales data is noted, and the sale is shared with an accounting solution.
Retail point of sale systems
A POS process for retail would typically include the following steps:
- A customer will approach the register to purchase a product.
- The salesperson will select the product from their POS software or use a barcode scanner to ring up the sale.
- The customer can choose their payment type and present a card or cash.
- The inventory is automatically updated, and the sale is shared with an accounting solution.
- The salesperson can then print a receipt and enter customer details into the CRM for marketing or discount purposes.
POS system for café
A POS System for a café would typically include the following steps:
- A customer will place an order which is recorded by an employee using their POS terminal.
- The staff member can then choose to enter customer details for ‘coffee card’ discounts.
- The order will be then delivered (through a variety of methods) to the barista and/or kitchen staff.
- When the order is ready, the barista can announce the order, by name, for collection.
- Inventory, accounting software and CRM are suitably updated.
Benefits of point of sale system
Far from a pure payment terminal, a well fleshed out and interconnected POS system can manage the most essential aspects of running a business.
The customisable workflow that’s enacted by a Cloud POS system removes manual processes, synchronises records, creates a smooth customer service experience, and allows for accurate sales reporting and inventory management.
It’s hard to imagine a physical business that wouldn’t benefit from investing in a modern, well integrated Cloud POS system.