Types of Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
Point-of Sale (POS) systems are increasingly powerful tools for improving sales and profits. They offer a wide range of hardware and software options to aid in everything from sales to management to accounting. These benefits are particularly strong for new business owners who must keep a close eye on profit.
Business owners have many POS systems from which to choose. In this article, we take a closer look at each type of device and software and explain which features are helpful for a range of business types.
Different Types of POS Systems
There are many different types of POS systems that will run on various devices, including smartphones and tablets, but POS systems also include the software that runs on these devices. The hardware and software you choose will depend on the needs of your business.
Some POS systems benefit all business types, while others are more suited for specific industries. Let’s start with POS system features that all businesses enjoy.
Features of a POS System
A quality POS system offers many sales advantages:
- Specific hardware and software, with intuitive interfaces and a range of terminal styles from small and portable to large and robust, makes payment processing easy for both the customer and employees.
- Real-time, easy-to-change readings of stock, pricing and customers and employee statistics improve sales performance.
- Accounting is streamlined; a POS automatically syncs sales and stock data with your current accounting software.
- A POS targets pinpointed messages that match customer interests, thus aiding marketing initiatives, including gift cards and loyalty programs.
A POS system includes hardware and software. Let’s review both.
POS Hardware Options
There are a wide array of options on the market today. You can pick from robust hardware to more modest, affordable options that are easy to replace. POS hardware examples include:
- A mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and any proprietary hardware options
- Touchscreen terminal
- Customer-facing display screen
- Laptop or desktop computer
- Cash register/drawer
- Barcode scanner
- Label printer
- Electronic scales (for products sold by weight)
- Receipt printer
- Credit card reader
Types of POS Software
There are two types of POS software: front-end software, where transactions are processed, and back-end software, where analytics, sales, inventory and other important data is stored. Each software type works with your hardware selection to offer powerful benefits to you and your employees. These software capabilities alleviate some of the administrative tasks of running and managing a business. And when they connect online via cloud-based software, software automatically updates.
Several popular software features are available in modern POS software programs.
- Employee management: This tool sets up employee profiles, schedules employee shifts, and manages payroll.
- Employee training: These systems aid with onboarding and offer demos and hands-on training for using the devices. This frees management time for other business initiatives while helping employees learn to use the systems right away for maximum benefit.
- Inventory monitoring: Track your full inventory in real-time, even across multiple locations. Know when to replenish stock, what products sell well, and what products should be replaced.
- Analytics: Combined with meticulous inventory tracking, get a clear view on sales results, trends and employee performance. This data is essential for accurate profit and loss statements.
- Third-party integrations: Sync with other programs for time savings and convenience. For example, sync accounting software with email marketing.
- Payment processing: This software is responsible for receiving and sending all money, including all credit card processing. The more types of payments it honors, the more sales you make. It should accept a large card mix of credit cards, cash, eChecks, ACH payments, digital wallets, and even gift cards.
- Customer loyalty programs: These are a powerful way to encourage repeat business and show your appreciation to your customers. They allow you to provide special discounts or a free item after a specific number of purchases. They also collect customer data, such as an email address or phone number. You can easily add and manage customer accounts, which further improves service capabilities.
Types of POS Systems
POS hardware works in conjunction with POS software to form complete systems that can be used to your maximum advantage, regardless of business type. The more hardware and software systems connected, the greater functionality and performance. For example, you can connect a bar-code scanner, card-swiper, cash register, and printer to any ordering device, and that device can also provide customer loyalty programs, analytics, payment processing, etc.
Each of the following systems works offline or online with internet and cloud connection capability. You choose from one or multiple systems, with each working together.
Mobile POS Systems (mPOS Systems)
With a mobile POS, you can place orders via POS apps on a handheld device, such as a smartphone or proprietary handheld device, anywhere you or your employees are located. Whether you have a mobile business, want to improve communication throughout your store, or just want easy access to data analytics anywhere you are located, this is a solid option.
These modern devices often have fewer capabilities compared to an on-site terminal or tablet but are portable and a lower cost to buy, lease, and replace compared to larger terminal POS systems.
Tablet POS Systems
An iPad or Android tablet provides the same mPOS benefits as a smartphone but on a larger screen for added visual clarity to aid sales people and customers during the sales process. In addition to the ease of taking orders, you can better review large data sets, such as full inventory, while still enjoying the benefits of a mobile device.
On-Site Terminal POS Systems
On-site terminal POS systems are positioned at checkout counters often connected to bar code scanners and cash registers. These systems keep sales in a secure, centralized location and offer additional benefits like label printing and online order management.
All-in-One POS System
An all-in-one POS system gives a business everything it needs in one convenient package. A system might include a touch screen, receipt printer, cash drawer, bar-code scanner, magnetic stripe reader, and other items, though specific components vary. All-in-one solutions offer an easy to use, complete system right out of the box.
Self-Service Kiosk POS Systems
Self-service kiosks have become more mainstream and are commonly found in a grocery store or parking garage. These systems allow customers to place orders themselves. In turn, businesses reduce the number of staff needed while also supplementing checkout teams during busy shopping times. This also puts the responsibility of correct ordering on customers, which reduces charge-backs.
Similarly, table-side ordering systems in restaurants put customers in control while speeding direct-to-kitchen orders.
Online POS Systems
An online POS is a low-cost solution that’s housed directly on your website and current hardware, which allows for another option of self-service ordering for increased revenue. It’s an attractive option for additional sales by giving customers another way to make purchases from the comfort of home.
Touch-Screen POS Systems
Touch-screen systems often come in the form of a tablet or on-site terminal. They expediate order processing by allowing customers to sign and approve sales right on the screen during checkout. Customers know exactly what they pay, which reduces issues while streamlining the sales process.
Desktop POS Systems
This system is used on a laptop or desktop computer. It may be located within your business location or accessible via a browser or app. It’s another affordable option if terminals are outside of your budget.
Cloud-Based POS Systems
Cloud-based systems are excellent for accurate, real-time views of performance and data analytics. These systems accommodate a wide range of hardware and software POS systems, providing instant access to sales, stock and performance data on any internet-connected device wherever you are and across multiple locations—all with nearly endless storage capacity. The software is also easy to update and does so automatically.
Multichannel POS Systems
If your business takes orders through multiple mediums, such as online, in-store, and over the phone, this system integrates devices so they all work from the same information. This is particularly useful when tracking real-time stock.
Open-Source POS Systems
This type of system is fully customizable to your needs. If you have a business with unique selling requirements, it’s an excellent option. Be aware, even though this system is low-cost, hiring software engineers makes this option expensive. This system is often recommended for large enterprises.
If you are a small business with limited funds, a more affordable solution utilizes apps with customized features. Your merchant services provider can recommend sources.
What POS Type is Best for Your Industry?
POS systems aid all types of businesses in their daily business operations, helping owners make improved business decisions and increase business efficiency. Still, there are benefits worth noting for your business model that can keep you competitive in your business environment.
The following explains how POS systems benefit specific business categories:
Retail POS Systems
Retailers often have brick-and-mortar locations, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, antique stores, electronic stores, liquor stores, etc. Still, you can run a retail location online from your home, or as a mobile business. All retail businesses can take advantage of sales solutions like:
- eCommerce integration
- Data centralization and analytics
- Reports and analytics
- Management of inventory, sales, employees and customers
- Loyalty programs
- Marketing activities (gift cards, email campaigns)
- Customizable product types and SKUs
- Store pickup and shipping options
Restaurant Business and Food & Beverage POS Systems
Some point-of-sale systems are better suited to restaurants than others. Quality POS systems offer solutions that deliver on the specific needs of restaurants.
Restaurants have lower-than-average profits, so running a successful business in the restaurant industry requires solutions that cover many aspects of restaurant management. Fortunately, many point-of-sale systems offer restaurant management tools. A restaurant POS system with specific tools and analytics gives owners the information they need to boost profits and sales.
Examples of tools specific to restaurants include:
- Reports and analytics
- Table management for efficient use of space
- Menu design for easy item changes
- Kitchen displays
- Online ordering capability
- Communication between staff
- Employee management for more economical staff timing
- Customer management
- Loyalty programs
- Marketing (email campaigns and gift cards)
- Management tools such as inventory management features (including full ingredient tracking)
- Delivery app synchronization
- Curbside pickup organization (which texts times to customers and sends email receipts)
Service POS Systems
Service POS systems aid businesses that offer specific services. Examples of these types of businesses include airlines, movie theatres, consulting firms, and even electrical and disposal services.
These businesses enjoy various benefits from POS systems, including:
- Scheduling of customers and employees
- Appointment reminders
- Loyalty programs
- Marketing activities (email campaigns and gift cards)
- Reports and analytics
BNG Point-of-Sales: Experience with POS Systems for Any Business
BNG Point-of-Sale offers a full range of POS systems for retail, restaurants and the service industry, including advanced systems on mobile devices as well as the companion software. Whether you need a cash drawer or an in-depth online ordering system, all of our equipment and software is available for purchase or lease. BNG Point-of-Sale can work with your specific business and make the most of your budget.
In addition to offering POS systems, BNG Point-of-Sale can install software on your current system or on any new devices, so you can immediately start experiencing the benefits of a POS system.
BNG Point-of-Sale are POS solutions that improve your bottom line. With a full selection of POS systems for various businesses, including restaurants, bars, retail businesses, convenience stores, and more, you’ll find the right tool to grow your business with the personalized support you need. Connect with us to learn more.