How POS Systems Are Changing

Point-of-sale systems have evolved rapidly over the last decade, with vastly improved flexibility, control, and features afforded to businesses more than ever before. 

The evolution is fueled by an increasing number of businesses that have moved from cash transactions and fixed credit card readers to more advanced tablet and cloud-based point-of-sales systems. 

The advancement is a real breath of fresh air for a wide range of businesses, which now benefit from a broad range of easily managed capabilities and centralized reports. POS transactions are now an entirely different prospect.

This article will discuss those advancements and address the rise of mobile POS. But first, for purposes of clarity, what is a POS system, exactly?

What Are Point-of-Sale Solutions?

Today, more than ever, it is legitimately vital for businesses of all sizes to understand the basic workings of modern POS system software. The point of sale simply marks the specific location and moment a transaction occurs, exceeding and evolving beyond traditional cash registers to include online shopping carts and checkout processes. 

These days, transactions through smartphones (or tablets) equipped with a card reader are also included, as are any completed using POS QR codes from digital payment services such as PayPal, among others. This is also the stage where any applicable sales taxes are applied and collected. 

How POS Systems Assist Business Operations

POS technology has advanced far beyond the simple premise of handling sales, becoming a fundamental component of broader business operations. Restaurant-based POS solutions, for example, enable various functionalities such as:

  • Bill splitting
  • Menu item searches
  • Server performance tracking
  • Handling online and table-side orders
  • Monitoring trends in item adjustments for guests
  • Tracking popular menu items
  • Training new staff

In retail, mobile POS systems commonly convert iPads and smartphones into more comprehensive point-of-sale solutions using readers and stands. Fully integrated systems now enable businesses to monitor sales in real-time, manage inventories, develop customer directories, and facilitate intuitive payment processes.

There are many other aspects of POS systems that are changing and adapting to a modern digital climate, with sophisticated POS technologies offering practical POS solutions for businesses. Below, we shall look at examples of this progression.

Shared Commerce

Businesses can now experience substantial growth by taking their operations online. Previously, companies had to manage data separately from their e-commerce POS platforms and physical POS systems. They would have to manually merge data into spreadsheets, accounting systems, or other reporting software to compile reports. Thankfully, with shared commerce point-of-sale solutions, this process is now automated, saving businesses a remarkable amount of time.

Mobile Connected POS

With a growing consumer preference for cashless transactions, businesses should consider accepting mobile payments as a prerequisite. The fact is that customers are rapidly switching to credit cards and mobile wallets instead of cash. Mobile point-of-sales systems allow businesses to accept credit card payments from anywhere (with an internet connection, of course), giving customers even more payment options.

Mobile wallet providers like Google Wallet, Visa Checkout, Apple Pay, and various loyalty mobile apps now allow customers to pay directly from their smartphones using a POS scanner to read barcodes or QR codes. Mobile POS will almost certainly become the default method of payment for many consumers and businesses within a few years.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and POS

POS systems now integrate real-time transactions with CRM solutions to help businesses push sales and increase revenue. In stark contrast to older systems – which offered only basic customer data – this integration provides far more detailed insights into customer behavior and loyalty.

For example, modern POS allows businesses to create client data and email marketing lists directly from their CRM systems while effectively transforming tablets into effective point-of-sale systems. This approach allows for the collection of a wide range of customer data, such as names, addresses, emails, loyalty details, and order histories. This helps organize and distribute information to various departments and improve customer experience.

person holding smartphone by POS system

Leveraging Data in Small Business

Big data solutions are no longer limited to large companies. Many small businesses are now using powerful data through their POS systems. Examples of this include detailed reports on inventory, top-selling items, revenue, sales volume, profit margins, and even staffing requirements.

This technology benefits a wide range of industries, large and small. For example, the latest POS systems for restaurants now combine front and back-of-house operations, POS, and guest-facing technology in one platform, with detailed reports on sales, food costs, and labor expenses. Smaller appointment-based businesses now benefit from a POS system with integrated appointment scheduling.

POS Security in the IoT Era

The Internet of Things connects POS systems with CRM, accounting, and inventory management. This connectivity, however, makes POS systems vulnerable to hacks and data breaches. Cybercriminals have become adept at targeting these systems to steal consumer and credit card data through the latest malware. To protect your POS system software, always use strong passwords, keep software updated constantly, install strong firewalls, and use antivirus programs. Restricting internet access and disabling remote access should also be a priority. 

If you are looking to invest in a new POS system, make certain your POS provider includes security and compliance measures in their service agreement. A good system will negate any security issues by ensuring adequate data encryption, regular updates, and solid access controls to protect sensitive information.

AI Integration in POS Systems

An interesting advancement in POS technology, expected over the next 12 months, is the possible integration of artificial intelligence in POS systems. AI-powered POS systems can analyze vast amounts of data to predict customer behavior, optimize inventory management, and personalize the shopping experience. 

For example, AI algorithms can recommend products to customers based on their purchase history or adjust inventory levels to avoid stockouts and overstock situations. This will be a highly intelligent automation that helps businesses make even more data-driven decisions, improve customer satisfaction, and increase operations. 

Latest Mobile POS Systems

Mobile POS systems have revolutionized business transactions by providing marked improvements in convenience and flexibility to customer transactions. These systems have evolved rapidly in recent years, shifting from simple payment processors to comprehensive business management tools. 

Modern mobile POS solutions now allow businesses to accept payments, manage inventory, track customer interactions, and analyze sales data from anywhere, all through smartphones or tablets. This evolution has made it far easier for businesses of all sizes to streamline operations, improve customer service, and access real-time data. 

We are constantly reviewing the latest mobile POS systems extensively. Here are three top providers that, in our opinion, excel in offering advanced systems:

Square

Square POS

Square Point of Sale is a notable player in the industry, known for its sleek design and strong features. It’s particularly favored by small businesses due to its ease of use and cost-effectiveness. Square allows users to import products, track sales, and manage customer data effortlessly. 

The system is compatible with both Apple and Android devices and offers additional hardware options like card readers and terminals. Starting at a free plan, Square charges 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction, which is perfect for businesses with low volume and ticket sales.

Toast

Toast POS

Toast POS is designed specifically for the food and beverage industry, providing comprehensive solutions for over 40,000 restaurants. This intuitive Android-based system includes features like payment processing, online ordering, and team management. 

Toast’s handheld terminals improve mobility, allowing orders and payments to be processed anywhere. The system supports contactless payments and digital wallets for a smooth customer experience. Toast offers a free starter kit with a “Pay-as-You-Go” option and standard plans starting at $69 per month, with transaction fees of 2.49% + 15 cents.

Shopify

Shopify POS

Shopify POS integrates effortlessly with Shopify’s eCommerce platform. The system handles payments, inventory management, and returns extremely efficiently. Shopify POS works well with iPads and offers additional hardware for purchase. 

Pricing starts at $29 monthly for basic plans, with in-person transaction fees starting at 2.5%. Shopify provides a 14-day free trial, allowing new users to explore the platform without any upfront commitment.

POS system on a counter

Wrap Up

Point-of-sale systems have evolved to offer businesses a great deal of flexibility, control, and functionality. Moving beyond traditional cash registers, modern POS systems now integrate quite seamlessly with CRM, accounting, and inventory management. 

Whether through mobile POS solutions or sophisticated cloud-based systems, the evolution of POS technology continues to improve business operations and customer experiences, and we can expect further advancements and improvements to come over the next decade or so as we head towards a cashless society once and for all. 

Ready to upgrade your POS system? We can help you compare the best POS systems designed for your business through our POS finder tool. Connect with top resellers based on your requirements and get the best deal.

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