How is Point of Sale (POS) system different from a cash register?

How is Point of Sale (POS) system different from a cash register?

No matter what type of business you run, money is its lifeblood. Since the ancient days of the abacus, merchants have known the importance of having a reliable cash management system that can help them accurately keep track of incoming and outgoing funds. In today’s retail environment, the question for many businesses has become whether to stay with the traditional cash register that they have been using for decades or to switch to a more modern POS system.

The old-school cash register.

For business owners who simply want to ring up purchases, accept cash, and print receipts, a standard cash register can be a useful and affordable option. These registers can be battery-operated or hard-wired and connected to an electrical outlet. The former models give you the ability to move the unit to accommodate changes in the way you use your store’s floor space. However, the latter is more reliable because electricity is generally a more stable power source than batteries.

The modern POS solution.

Anyone who sells products and services cannot help but recognize the changes that have occurred in the ways people pay. Not so many years ago, cash was king, while many customers also relied on checks to buy items at businesses they frequented. Charge cards from major retailers (particularly department stores) became popular with buyers who got the first twinge of how it would feel to make purchases without needing to carry bills and change around with them. However, it was only when the credit card gained prominence that the payment environment began to be transformed once and for all.

When consumers began to pay with plastic, vendors needed to lease or purchase the hardware and software that would make it possible for communication to occur between the merchant and the other parties involved in authorizing and verifying transactions. At first, a store’s credit card terminal did little more than provide a way for the customer to make a payment. It was large, bulky, and located in a fixed position, generally at the checkout counter. However, the stationary, uni-functional credit card terminal of old has been replaced with numerous multifaceted pieces of hardware and software that have not only enhanced a retailer’s operations, they have totally revolutionized the payment process as we know it. 

What can the right POS solution do for your business?

Aiding in the processing of customers’ credit and debit card payments is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the talents of a 21st-century POS solution. Thanks to these streamlined, secure systems, retailers can also accomplish numerous other tasks.

For one thing, inventory management is no longer a matter of desperately trying to keep and organize the written records of numerous staff members. After some initial setup, POS software enables you and your staff to keep track of supplies, notify you when items are running low, and order more. It can also help you use data to accurately predict which products are increasing in popularity and which ones you may want to decrease, further helping to guarantee that you will never run out and alienating customers or over-ordering goods that will never move off your shelves.

Your POS can also serve as a crucial link between your brick-and-mortar and online store since it can handle and track purchases made in both, allowing you to adjust your stockroom quantities accordingly. The right system will also enable you to effortlessly accept and process all types of customer orders, whether they take place in-store, on the go, over the internet, or by phone. Your POS also functions as your silent partner when it comes to processing customer returns in your -commerce and physical store environments.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of a POS solution is its ability to generate reports. That includes payroll, accounting, sales history, and projected buying trends, to name just a few.

Finally, your POS solution will quickly become indispensable in all matters having to do with customer relations. That’s because the software makes it easy to set up and maintain a customer database that you can use to send newsletters and promotional email blasts. 

It also gives you all of the tools you will need to run a loyalty program that rewards your buyers for continuing to make purchases and encourages them to make extra visits to your online or brick-and-mortar sites. When you think about it, this repeat foot and online traffic are exactly what you are looking to encourage as a business owner.

The bottom line.

Just when and how do you decide to invest your company’s precious resources? Does it make sense for you to transition from your reliable, old-school cash register to a modern POS?

As a business owner, you are the person best-equipped to assess your company’s current and future needs and priorities. If you’re looking toward expanding your operations or wish to streamline your processes, the odds are that investing in a POS solution will be a terrific gift to yourself, your staff, and your customers both present and future!