A POS System is not a separate device – it is a set-up of devices that together ensure an efficient and easy checkout process.
The set-up can of course vary enormously, depending on your brand choice, which payment methods you accept, whether you print paper receipts and how you do your accounting.
Let’s go back to basics and talk about how customer payments are processed, what a POS System consists of and a number of options.
Checkout systems then and now
About 30 years ago, a POS system was not much more than a cash register. The first POS Systems did not even “know” what a product cost. The cashier then had to manually enter the prices per product.
Then the cashier put the money in the cash drawer and gave the customer a receipt. In some cases, this receipt was the only evidence that the transaction ever took place.
As POS System became more modern, more software was introduced. Products were stored on a database and barcodes were introduced, so that prices no longer had to be entered manually. The sales history was also recorded later.
Today, POS systems are much more extensive. Some entrepreneurs still use checkouts as described above, but many have switched to advanced checkout systems that keep track of everything online.
Most important parts of a POS System
Modern POS systems consist of hardware and software. Software is the part that records, processes and stores transactions. There are many different ways in which POS systems do this.
All modern POS Software has a POS System for control and a data system for the underlying sales history and settings.
The staff uses the POS System, usually a touch screen or tablet, to process payments. The data system can be viewed via the internet or an app.
Whichever POS System you use, these two systems are always connected and synchronized. But there are two different ways in which the data can be stored:
- The software is stored on a server or device of your company.
- Requires the purchase of one or more software licenses.
- You must maintain and update this software manually.
- Because all software is stored on your own network, no internet connection is required.
In the Cloud
- The system is stored on the internet by the provider of your POS system. You can access this software from any computer.
- Also called Software as a Service (SaaS), this system is automatically maintained and updated by the provider of your POS system.
For a long time, local software was the norm for POS systems, but now cloud systems are becoming increasingly popular. Local POS system software is expensive to install, often a professional is needed for installation and maintenance. Cloud systems are often cheaper (usually a monthly amount), and there are often more options for integration with other programs.
Finally, POS systems can vary enormously in functions and layout. Every business sector has its own needs, and therefore often requires a specialized POS System system. For example, a restaurant needs a table plan or a self-service program where customers can order their food digitally. Specialized POS System systems for restaurants have many of these functions in one package.
Companies have different needs when it comes to hardware (devices) for POS systems. These are the most important parts:
Payment device with which the transactions are processed: For example, a POS System with buttons, a touch screen or a mobile device with a POS System app.
Cash Drawer: Used to store cash, but sometimes also checks, vouchers and receipts.
Receipt Printer: Used to print receipts for customers.
Barcode Scanner: Often used in stores with a large amount of different products. Often linked to the inventory of the POS System to update the inventory.
ATM: Used to process payments with debit cards, credit cards or NFC. Traditional ATMs require software to be installed (if not already done) and a SIM card or cable to the POS system is needed, telephone-based card readers work via a telephone connection.
Network Devices: Whether you have the software in the cloud or locally, the software must connect to the POS system. If the software is in the Cloud, then an internet connection is needed, which means that you need a router and a modem. With local software it is also possible with a cable connection from a computer to the POS System.
We recommend toppossystem.com which requires minimum hardware and it is easy to install. It provides one of the best POS system solutions for many sectors such as cafe, hospitality, shop etc.