Point of Sale Cash Register. So, you decided you want to open a new shop or restaurant and one of the things you would need is a point of sale cash register system. You search on the internet and find a company that has an advertisement for a point of sale system. Depending on if you look at retail or restaurant pos this becomes more confusing. You read an advertisement that says “Full POS SOLUTIONS FOR RETAIL STORES R 7,999. You look at the other quotes and immediately feel why are these other quotes so much more?
We all know the cost of a new point of sale hardware and software. Years go into the development of a proper retail pos system and even more for a proper restaurant point of sale. Hardware is imported and with the current rand-dollar exchange rate does not help the pricing as everything is imported. The average store or restaurant owner or decision-maker when it comes to deciding on a new point of sale system does not have the experience to make a selection of point of sale cash register. There is a lot to consider:
- What is the spec of the hardware? Windows 10 does not perform well on a Core2Duo computer.
- Which operating system does the hardware use? How long would Microsoft still support my operating system? Windows 7 has 8 months to go. So no more security updates from Microsoft and in time software like anti-virus software might not be able to run on your pos hardware.
- Would my data be safe and my point of sale system run smoothly on the operating system?
- Would the operating system prevent me from using updates on my point of sale system?
- Then even a bigger question. What type of point of sale software can be included in a price of R 8000-00 including the POS software? Does it really do the job in terms of stability and reporting? Not to mention the functionality?
- During our years in the point of sale cash register industry, we can remember how things used to work. So in some legacy point of sale pos system, the current and history databases still exist today. You need to do an end of day to get the full report. Should you forget to do an end of day, the pos system keeps the data under current history.
- Which type of database do you get with a new point of sale at R 8000-00? Most likely a pos system that still uses Microsoft Access or the Firebird Database. In some instances, your point of sale could also be of an age where it does not query your SQL database that quickly anymore.
- Older databases tend to offer less protection to data loss and the recovery of data.
- As databases get older, it gets more difficult to add functionality to the point of sale, and limitations to speed, access, and offline redundancy become an issue. Older point of sale systems tends to have a lot of data corruption when attempting to create offline redundancy.
- Every business needs to manage its inventory and most POS systems will help by tracking stock levels with each sale. Always have up-to-the-minute, accurate inventory data to keep up with your customer’s demands. In South Africa, it happens so often that a retail system is offered in a hospitality environment. Just because it has an interface that resembles a true hospitality system, does not mean it does the function of a restaurant pos system. Does it look at your food cost? Here I don’t mean your end product’s total costing, Food cost is simply the total cost of your food net of existing inventory. Usually, beverage costs are counted separately but occasionally these are combined. When expressed in a percentage, the food cost is simply one’s net food purchases divided by the restaurant’s net sales. Retail systems do not have this.
- Does your POS system offer mobility and offline redundancy? Tablets need to be able to run offline and must use the latest technology. Remote desktop to connect the two does not work. You will end up with a slow pos system or data loss. Resulting in downtime and less opportunity to sell.
- Does your so-called point of sale for your restaurant have a reservation system in place? You will find your retail system does not have this.
- Is your POS system PCI compliant?
- The fact is that most transactions are paid with debit or credit cards today. In order to accommodate your customers and keep them safe, your POS system should support the PCI DSS standards.
- Returns and exchanges are something every business has to deal with. Your POS software can help make this a painless process for you and your customers.
- Track employee attendance and sales easily by them simply logging-on to a terminal. All this information can be reported on or exported to accounting software for payroll processing.
- Retail POS systems are mostly centred on the actual sales transaction and all the tracking of this information. Many of the common software features like inventory tracking, sales reporting, returns processing, and customer loyalty/couponing functions are essential in a retail environment. While all businesses will need reporting features, retail applications will especially want to have a very granular level of control to see sales data at the individual product and category levels. Retail POS requirements are the most wide-ranging but most software.
From a hardware perspective, retail applications will definitely need a barcode scanner to easily input product data for quick check-outs. Since most input is based around the scanner, things like touchscreens and all-in-one terminals are definitely useable in a retail environment but are not as essential. Since you will probably be doing a fair number of transactions per day, having a reliable thermal receipt printer like the Epson TM-T88V will also be a big concern. A robust scanner and printer will ensure your lines move quickly and make the customer experience a positive one.
The biggest difference between a standard retail POS and those used in restaurant or hospitality environments is how the sales transaction is handled. In retail, everything is inputted for the sale and paid for immediately. In restaurant/hospitality, an order is placed for food or service which is only paid for after it is completed. A suitable point of sale cash register system will have to be able to suspend these orders until payment is received. Likewise, options to customize orders, schedule reservations, and manage seating/rooms are all musts. The interface of the POS software is also going to be quite different. In retail, your main input type with being with a barcode scanner while in restaurant/hospitality you’ll most likely be using a touchscreen. Having a software interface that is touchscreen-friendly, like StorePoint POS, will be very important for many businesses to allow easy order entry.
On the hardware side of things, the biggest difference to retail POS is the importance of the barcode scanner. While it may be needed occasionally, most input in a restaurant/hospitality environment is manually done through the POS software. This is where a touchscreen can really help make this process easier. Since space is also often limited in these applications, all-in-one terminals are very commonly used since they limit the mess of cables and have integrated touchscreens. Receipt printers are important in every POS but when you are dealing with sending orders to a kitchen or other high heat environments, an impact printer like the Epson TM-U220D kitchen printer, will be preferred over a thermal printer which is fine for customer receipts. Additional is the printer redirection, which a retail system does not do.
Having a point of sale cash register that meets all the specific needs of your business will make it an essential management tool and allow you to stay focused on meeting the needs of your customers and your management. Whether you’re a retailer or a new restaurant, determining how you’ll use the POS system will guide in your software and hardware selections. If you are still having difficulty or have additional questions, give our POS experts a call. We’re happy to help you out, even if you don’t buy from us. We are there to support the retail, restaurant and hospitality industry.