There are different types of POS systems, each focusing on the different needs of the industry. While a retail business may focus on software that expedites transactions while offering mobility, restaurants need a service that optimizes their hospitality and customer experience.
A business owner should consider the features and terminals offered when determining what POS solution is right for their company. These elements affect the software's cost, efficiency, and overall ability to meet the company's needs.
Implementing an adequate POS system gives management insights into inventory, demand, and sales so businesses can drive their profits and expansion.
What is a POS System?
A point-of-sale or POS solution is a management system that processes transactions and collects sales and inventory data. This software tracks all incoming data to generate reports and analyses on demand, usage, and purchases. This information helps organizations identify where they can optimize their profits to increase customer satisfaction.
Features vary depending on the type of POS system. However, most solutions offer-
- Inventory management - For any product-based business, inventory control is essential for maximizing profits. POS software handles stock levels, prices, turnover rates, and sales to ensure accurate and real-time data. These systems can also be integrated with other services to create alerts when stock is running low or reaching expiration.
- Customer management - Customer relationship management (CRM) gives businesses insight on how to drive customer loyalty and satisfaction by building relationships. POS software track purchase histories so companies can offer exclusive discounts to loyal customers based on their favorite products. Some solutions even offer a feedback tool where consumers can make suggestions on how to improve the buyer's experience.
- Employee management - Staff can easily monitor employee wages, schedules, and logins by creating profiles within the system. This feature helps operations run smoothly and promotes accountability by tracking whenever an employee logs in, gets paid, and handles inventory.
- Generated reports - Even basic POS solutions offer regular reports on sales, stock levels, commissions, and labor wages. However, more advanced systems can integrate with other software to generate demand forecasting reports, purchase orders, and sales trends by department.
Types of POS Systems
Aside from the data features, the primary purpose of a POS solution is to process transactions. Implementing the software and hardware eliminates the need to calculate prices and totals manually, which reduces costly errors and allows customers to check out faster. However, there are many types of systems to choose from, such as-
Smartphone and mobile device POS services have payment processing and basic inventory tracking capabilities that are great for businesses on the go. These solutions have the ability to handle credit card processing, and some even offer portable card readers and receipt printers. It also provides features that manage cash purchases, tips, and e-mail receipts.
Mobile POS systems are ideal for a small business that travel and handle limited inventory, such as-
- Street vendors
- Mobile services
- Daycare providers
- Transportation services
- Landscaping services
- Fair or carnival vendors
Much like mobile POS systems, tablet solutions offer mobility and can be used on a device that is already owned. Some processes are free, offering limited features, while others require a low monthly subscription fee but allow the user to choose their card reader. Many software programs sync with other tools such as barcode scanners and cash drawers to optimize transaction efficiency.
Tablet POS solutions are great for pop-up vendors and small shops that handle more stock and may require mobility, including-
- Coffee shops
- Gift shops
- Small boutiques
- Ice cream parlors
- Art galleries
- Small theatres
- Mobile vendors
POS terminal solutions are more complicated as they combine software and hardware and are sometimes cloud-based, which requires an internet connection. Usually seen at a check-out counter, they are sold with barcode scanners, cash drawers, card readers, and other forms of payment processors. This system can also integrate order and receipt printers, online ordering, and any other device necessary for a business.
The software can also provide stock tools to manage inventory, such as label printers, tracking features, and demand forecasting that report usage and sales trends.
POS terminal services are often implemented by businesses with extensive clientele and inventory, such as-
- Grocery stores
- Large retail stores
- Book stores
- Electronic stores
Online POS services allow users to use their own devices, such as tablets or laptops, but require an internet network. This solution does not use hardware and requires low startup fees, reducing costs for the business owner. With limited features but adequate credit card processing abilities, this system is ideal for businesses with low production volumes but high prices.
Common companies that utilize online POS services include-
- Small retail stores
- Consignment shops
- Pet groomers
Self-service kiosks effectively reduce labor costs and check-out lines by allowing customers to complete their own transactions. Kiosks are equipped with barcode scanners, card processors, and receipt printers, so consumers do not need to wait for an employee to finalize their purchases. While usually seen at the check-out counter of large stores, these systems are also available for services, where guests can check-in for an appointment or search for a product.
Self-service kiosks are frequently used by larger enterprises, such as-
- Movie theaters
- Patient check-ins
- Grocery stores
- Human resource departments
- Event ticket sales
Regardless of a business's size or industry, there is a POS system that can improve operational efficiency. Sales management software can expedite purchases and track inventory and sales. As a business expands, POS solutions can integrate with other solutions for demand forecasting and extensive reporting to optimize scalability.