If you have gone to a supermarket, a bookstore, a spa, a restaurant, or pretty much any place where you can purchase a good or service, chances are you’ve used, or at least seen, a point-of-sale system. These payment processing systems range from simple to very complex and can provide statistical insight into sales trends and customer preferences. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of what point-of-sale systems are and why they’re important. 

What are Point-of-Sale (POS) systems?

The term “point of sale” itself refers to the moment in which a customer makes a payment, and point-of-sale systems facilitate these transactions through a combination of specialized software and hardware. This software can calculate the pricing of the products or services being purchased while adding all relevant taxes and fees, process credit card payments, and issue physical or virtual receipts.

More sophisticated POS can handle all sorts of tasks beyond simply processing purchases, such as saving customer information for marketing tracking and reporting trends, customer preferences, inventory stock, and employee hours.

Systems with omnichannel capabilities can improve operations and integrate business systems for more in depth functions. Certain POS software can even integrate with accounting software to produce accurate and up-to-date financial reports.

Hardware often integrated with this software includes lightweight printers for receipts, display screens, and barcode scanners.

Many businesses with both physical stores and online shops will often require POS systems that can integrate with their ecommerce platforms and are able to function with a single database in regard to pricing, inventory, and customer records.

How do POS systems work?

As we’ve established, basic POS systems process and record transactions, provide receipts, and a few other things, while omnichannel systems that are tied to operational business solutions can do a lot more. These are some of the ways these features work:

  • POS systems perform data analyses, recording sales granularly, and use this and other collected data to help the business determine the best prices, amount of stock needed, and allows for better optimization of supply chains.
  • They can also track inventory levels, sometimes sending you alerts when inventory starts decreasing and there’s a need to reorder products, which helps maintain stock and customer satisfaction.
  • Some systems allow for HR and payroll assistance, so that employees can clock in and out. These can potentially also calculate sales by employee or the commissions each worker has earned.
  • Powerful systems can even process returns and reflect discounts.

Why are POS systems important?

The reason POS systems are so necessary is because they are fast, convenient, and efficient. They allow businesses to process purchases quickly, while being less prone to errors that might happen when manually processing transactions. They also let customers pay through various methods, such as cash, debit cards, credit cards, and even with their phone through NFC technology.

Fraud can also be minimized by using POS systems. Because their software allows them to track sales, POS systems can notice and flag unauthorized transactions, unapproved discounts, or similar fraudulent transactions.

As stated previously, POS systems can also alert when stock is low, as well as show what items have been popular and which have not been selling well, allowing for more informed business decisions.

How to know if your business needs a POS system

Any business that needs to process transactions in a fast, simple, secure, and reliable way can benefit from using POS systems. In fact, if a business is taking card payments and handling sensitive customer card data, they are expected to use secure POS software by the PCI DSS standard.

Cases in which more advanced systems may be useful are:

  • Wanting to maintain consistent pricing across a business’ different locations.
  • A business expanding nationally or globally and needing to apply different taxes.
  • Wanting to track inventory across locations.
  • Marketing teams collecting data to develop personalized campaigns.

In modern business, being up to date on the most innovative technology is imperative, and POS systems are a must have to keep up customer satisfaction and payment security, whether you own a brick-and-mortar shop or focus on eCommerce. Accepta offers a variety of point-of-sale systems, which cover all the important features discussed above. Contact us for more information: (787) 774-1555 or visit acceptapayments.com