Point of Sale (POS) Resources is an online storehouse of information and articles on point of sale (pos) systems, point of sale software, equipment, hardware, and more. Throughout this site, you’ll find articles with guidelines and tips on how to choose the best point of sale (pos) system, commentaries on the point of sale (pos) industry, and a wealth of information on other point of sale (pos) related topics.
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If you’re thinking of buying a point of sale system, consider the following:
How to Choose the Right Point-of-Sale (POS) Equipment
Merchants always wonder when they should replace or upgrade their electronic point of sale (POS) payment processing systems. Today’s point-of-sale (POS) systems are offered with one purpose in mind: to save retailers time and money. Before you buy, lease or rent a POS system, it’s always best to check with the experts prior to making your final decision. The result could be significantly increased sales and improved customer service–two benefits that will serve you well no matter what the economic environment.
Merchants should remember that POS options provide value in several ways:
- They help merchants process a wider variety of payment options–such as credit cards, smart cards, debit cards, electronic checks, check guarantee services and electronic benefit transfer cards offered by state and federal agencies.
- They eliminate the manual key-in processes. Because keying in each card number is slow and prone to errors or fraud, today’s point of sale (POS) swipe technology is faster and more productive. Plus, processing fees are significantly lower because the method is much more secure.
- Today’s point of sale (POS) systems offer productivity enhancements to mobile businesses. With wireless point of sale technologies, systems for field sales often pay for themselves in a matter of weeks or months.
Today’s point of sale (POS) systems offer so many choices that merchants should seek the assistance of experts before making a final buying decision, especially since the POS equipment you use can significantly impact your ability to process sales quickly, safely and profitably.
At this time, there are a number of popular POS systems that merchants and mobile businesses can choose from. Some POS systems are designed for multilane retail environments, which gives customers complete control over their credit, debit or EBT cards, while delivering fast transaction processing power. For these fast-paced retail environments, look for point of sale systems with graphical displays, built-in PIN pads and interactive LCD touchscreens. You can also find a POS system that connects directly to retail point of sale cash registers so there’s no need for dual entries, which can cause delays and errors. The advantage of an electronic point of sale system that provides electronic capture of signatures and receipts eliminates paper records is that it gives merchants instant access to point of sale transaction data and reduces chargeback costs.
Most merchants find that integrated POS systems offer fast, reliable and cost-effective performance for credit card authorization and draft capture, too. Some POS systems offer entire suites of products; that is, secure payment families of business tools designed to improve payment accuracy and decrease the transaction time. These integrated suites of point of sale hardware systems offer all-in-one POS terminal/printer combinations that support virtually all POS payment processing demands for today’s merchants, including credit card authorization, ATM/debit, check guarantee and multiple merchant applications and identifications.
Point of Sale systems with attached printers can deliver crisp, legible receipts, their PIN pads are easy to use, and they support all major encryption key management schemes. Many of these POS units also fit comfortably in the palm of your hand to allow for secure data entry for credit and debit cards, electronic check acceptance, check guarantee and even American Express Travelers Cheques.
Merchants should also be aware that wireless POS handheld transaction processing for both offices and field sales and service people is growing by leaps and bounds. Point of sale (POS) handhelds deliver significant productivity improvements for service workers through secure Internet connections to computers in either their home offices or at corporate headquarters.
There are other new transaction POS processing options to accommodate merchants with limited start-up budgets who want to get online fast, or those who already have Web sites and want to add online payment functionality. In these cases, merchants may want to check out point of sale systems with secure payment gateways, centralized processing and online check acceptance capabilities.
Whatever point of sale system or approach you decide to go with, here are a few key features–and benefits–to look for in your POS system:
- High performance POS at an affordable price
- Better merchant profit margins and sales opportunities; superior reliability
- Password protection from unauthorized downloads
- Increased merchant retention and tracking
- Supports multiple languages
- Market expansion opportunities
- Compact design for base or wall mounting
- Wall-mount capability eliminates counterspace clutter
- Easy-to-read, two-line, multilingual backlit display
- Better merchant understanding and more flexibility
- Clearly labeled dedicated function keys to process standard point of sale transactions
- No need to refer to the overlay for standard transactions; easier to locate the desired transaction on the keyboard
- Multiple green screen-addressable keys
- Increased convenience in selecting desired options for transactions and local functions
- Single keyboard overlay
- No need to produce and stock separate overlays for different industries
- Pre-print and pre-dial capabilities
- Faster overall transaction times from card swipe to receipt printing
- Transaction security via manager password
- Flexibility for the owner or manager to control access to certain sensitive transaction information
The transformation of POS (point of sale) through Barcode and RFID technology, helped by next generation mobile phones:
Technology in the point of sale industry has a long way to go before it reaches the vision of the future depicted in the Tom Cruise film, Minority Report. We are a long way from retinal scanning systems that trigger a blizzard of individually targeted ads when customers walk through a shopping mall.
Still, the industry has always pushed the bounds of technological innovation. Point of sale agencies around the world are hard at work exploring the frontiers of new point of sale technology.
Many seemingly outlandish ideas are just waiting for the right point of sale technology to come along. Companies have been experimenting for at least a decade with intelligent shopping trolleys and baskets that tot up the total amount spent on groceries, display the latest buy-one-get-one-free offers and recommend complementary products and recipes, but it is only now, with the latest developments in point of sale barcode scanning and RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging, that such point of sale systems are beginning to attract serious attention from retailers.
While the concept of using mobile phones to access information about products while cruising the supermarket aisles has been knocking around for years, it is only the next generation of mobile phones–the ones likely to be in a lot of Christmas stockings this year–that will actually be able to scan barcodes with their built-in cameras and take users directly to relevant websites.
Point of sale technology can only succeed if it is used appropriately. The problem with any new technology in point of sale is that consumers will not use it unless it offers a real benefit. Point of sale technology is just the delivery mechanism; the important thing is getting the message across. Consumers aren’t going to think that because the message was delivered by satellite, they must buy the product: they’re going to buy the product because the offer is relevant to them.
Point of sale technology can be very successful at attracting attention, and collecting information and data about customers and their shopping habits, but it doesn’t always immediately increase sales. The point of marketing is to improve sales and brand image, and any new point of sale technology must fall in line with that.
Be aware also that the average shopper is instinctively suspicious of anything new. Consumers often assume that point of sale technology will work against them. When point of sale handheld scanners were first introduced, consumers worried they might be overcharged at the point of sale. And people have expressed concern that electronic shelf labels [which show prices digitally on a liquid crystal display screen] could be used to raise the prices between the time they put the product in their trolley and the time they reach the checkout. Intelligent shopping trolleys may fall into the same trap.
Moreover, point of sale technology is only valuable when it makes shopping easier. Point of sale technologies that speed up the functional side of shopping will appeal to most consumers, but point of sale technology that tries to market to them when they are time-pressured or otherwise not receptive will just get in the way.
Once consumers have actually tried a new point of sale technology and become familiar with it, they are often happy to use it–if the point of sale technology delivers obvious benefits.
A utopian scenario is where digital direct marketing is allowed to integrate with a consumer’s transactional data. The weekly shop and possibly every purchase ever made is thrown into the mix and cross-tabbed against the offers available that week. Offers can then be e-mailed or texted to consumers’ mobile phones.
Marketers shouldn’t forget that it is consumers who will dictate the adoption rate of new point of sale technologies. We have to give consumers control, not just of the point of sale technology they use, but also of the way in which they can personalise that technology.
Consumers play point of sale
If the mobile phone industry has its way, and there is a significant switch to the next generation of handsets this Christmas, then the vast majority of UK consumers could soon have the ability to do their own scanning as they cruise the supermarket aisles. Current barcodes will not be that informative since they focus on information designed to help retailers, not customers. But there are a number of developments afoot that could change that radically–though not necessarily in a way that will please brand owners.
Some point of sale systems are already being used to deliver content, as well as the point of sale purchase mechanism. But information available to consumers may not always be what marketers want. The Aura project, the brainchild of Marc Smith from Microsoft Research, involves ‘tagging’ everyday items with codes that can be read by mobiles, giving consumers access to websites that give further information–but not necessarily information brand owners want them to have. It may be a site which hosts actual user reviews of products (not always complimentary), or even criticism of a company’s ethical stance.