One could argue that point of sale (POS) systems are an environmentally-friendly product, especially for retail and grocery stores that move lots of product every day. The reason why is with a POS system, there’s no need for landfill-bound paper price tags.
Of course, there’s lots of other benefits of POS systems. In addition to processing an order or sale, the top of the line POS systems act essentially as the virtual brains of your business.
A POS manages inventory; keeps track of employee hours (and tax forms); can integrate with accounting software for easy bookkeeping; run real-time sales reports and analytics; notify a host/hostess when a table is ready; and of course, process a credit-card payment, to name a few features and benefits.
But how do these dynamic systems work?
Well, a point of sale system needs a few things to operate: software, hardware and an Internet (or ethernet) connection.
To be more specific, a POS system usually contains a main networking server. A big-chain store will have several terminal stations that “talk to the server” to process orders and store data. However, a one-person operation (let’s say a food truck operator or small brick-and-mortar location) may only have one display screen, which can be in the form of a tablet or a mobile device.
This station is one piece of essential hardware. Other pieces of hardware that many businesses rely on are a receipt printer; cash box, credit card processor, and barcode scanner.
If you’re wondering how does a point of sale system work, it’s the software that provides the impressive multi-functionality; it’s also the perplexing piece of the system.
Without requiring a degree in computer science, here’s the basics of how the software operates….
The software in a POS system is created by developers, who program the POS functionality. These programs are often tailored for specific industries. For example, grocery stores will have different POS systems than a hotel chain or other hospitality industry entities.
In recent years, the advent of cloud-based POS technology has revolutionized the industry. With cloud POS, you don’t need a server that’s located at the place of business. Rather, all data, from sales, to inventory to employee hours, is stored in a remote server. This is great news for a business owner who wants to access data any time, any place, without having to be at the store’s physical location.
Regardless of what type of POS technology you use, what actually happens when a sale is made? If your store uses a barcode scanner, once the order goes through, the item will be immediately deducted from the inventory. But that’s not all that happens with POS software. In addition, the sale will, in real time, be added to the sales reports, including customer information. The best POS software includes an analytics dashboard, which will list the most recent sales transactions.
The beauty of POS software is how easy it can integrate with other features, such as an employee scheduling system, a reservation system … the programming options are vast.
If you want more information on how a POS works and which one would be best for your business, contact us today.