Point of Sale (POS) is a system used by retail and service businesses where payments for goods or services takes place. It is a digital version of a cash register; a combination of hardware and software that is the hub for all transactions. POS is therefore considered the bedrock of a business.
There are several POS systems in the market, each catering to a different kinds of business. While the features and workflow may vary from one POS to another, there is usually some common components like cash drawers, credit card readers, touch-screen displays, barcode scanners, receipt printers and weighing scales. At the very minimum, a POS system needs to keep track of a business's day-to-day transactions.
Good modern POS systems are designed to simplify business operations, cut down operating costs and reduce mistakes due to human error. As a result, modern POS systems need to provide more features than just being the transaction hub. For this reason, modern POS systems incorporate software in addition to hardware to provide features like loyalty rewards program, gift cards program, staff scheduling and inventory management. The POS software may run in a computer (PC or Mac), a tablet (iOS or Android) or even a smartphone.
Photo: Uzeli Point of Sale Software for Salons and Spa comes with credit card reader, cash drawer and receipt printer integration options.
Almost all modern POS software are cloud based i.e. the information from your business is stored in remote servers in the Internet. Cloud based POS systems have a number of advantages over the locally installed software, the most important being data backups. A faulty hardware won't cost you all of your historical information anymore. Your data is stored in multiple high reliability servers. Other benefits of cloud based software include remote access to reports, data synchronization between multiple business locations and lower IT overhead.
On the downside, cloud based systems do require a reliable Internet at your business locations. Also, some businesses see the remote storage of data as a downside due to the potential of data breach. In practice, cloud based systems are not necessarily less secure; the remote storage of data creates the perception of degraded data security. With proper tools and system architecture, cloud based systems can ensure similar, if not better, data security.
Imagine your day to day life without a smartphone; you would miss a lot of functionality that increases your productivity. Just like that, a modern POS includes a number of productivity tools that are essential in providing todays customers the experience they are used to. A good POS can play a very important role in running your business.