The Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) is a very commonly used system in supermarkets, malls, and showrooms (retail stores to be precise) to enter the sales information, handle customer loyalty programs, manage stock inventory, etc. It’s basically also known as the ‘checkout point’ or ‘checkout lane’ where the customer transactions are done.
Another definition for EPoS can be – a computerized system for recording the sales, using either a laser scanner at the cash counters to read the bar codes of the items that are sold.
An EPoS system, when integrated with an inventory management system, can automate your entire supply chain management, shipping, order management, etc. Another perk of integrating this with your EPoS is, you can, along with the retail store, also sell online.
Advantages of using an EPoS
- By keeping an EPoS system in place, you can help your business to refine its entire work process. The transformation that EPoS has adapted in last few years, with technology like “Near Field Communication (NFC)” in latest cell phones, the payment can be directly done by just tapping the phone on the card-swiping machine, with no credit or debit card needed. Such advancements have made EPoS a choice to be considered for both – seller as well as the customer.
- EPoS systems also help in generating sales reports which can analyze the demands for a particular product. Can also run customer loyalty programs, store points that a customer can utilize for future purchases.
- The biggest advantage is – if you are a retailing chain, and if a customer has made a purchase from your store, the generated invoice will be stored in the database. In case the customer wants to return or exchange the item later (in the assigned period), it can be done from any retail outlet of the particular brand.
- Eliminates human errors.
Components of an EPoS system
Usually, an EPoS system consists of the below-mentioned components:
- PDQ (Process Data Quickly) or Card Swiping Machine
- Cash Drawers
- Thermal Receipt Printer
- Keyboard and Touch screen monitors (replaced by Tablet nowadays)
- Barcode scanner (for retail environments)
- Scales (for grocery outlets)
How to pick the right EPoS system for your business?
If the question is about how to choose from the many available options, consider the following tips and tactics…
1. Know what’s better for you
You need to understand the EPoS system same as you understand your business. There are systems out in the market available for different businesses, entertaining a varied range of functionalities.
- Choose By Features
If you are a large-scaled business, you might need a processor that can support multitasking. Let’s say, your inventory needs to be managed at the same time the billing is being done – choose something that can do it.
If you are a small or medium-sized business, you might only need the EPoS system for billing. This would include accounting software, a bill printer, and a credit/debit card swiping machine. Would turn out to be as per your expectation, with no additional features or costs.
You can further narrow down your search by manufacturers, features, processors, and more.
2. Choose By Cost
More the features, the higher the cost. Being a seller, you must understand what your business is demanding and at what cost can you entertain those demands.
To pick an EPoS that accepts credit cards, there are many other charges involved in the background like – to pay to the bank in order to accept payments from a credit card and frequent processor upgradation charges (for future).
Understand your audience and what kind of an EPoS system they use and you would be comfortable as well.
2. Decide if you will lease or buy.
As per the research, the EPoS machines are much more expensive than the normal countertop credit card machines, so it’s not necessary to make such a big investment, especially when you are low on funds.
The biggest advantage of getting an EPoS on a lease is that there is no need to research a lot on it. Just a glimpse at the list of features is enough. You can always change to some other manufacturer if you are not satisfied with the one that you got on a lease.
Also, talking about the cons, the expenses are not less at all, rather gradual. If compared to buying an EPoS system, getting it on the lease will cost you much more, but in steps.
The more advanced the technologies are in your EPoS, the more expensive it will be.
3. Buy a software dependent EPoS.
If you are opting for an EPoS which is not based on a particular software, you might need to pay more in the future for it to be much more compatible.
There are chances that your hardware components are very much dependent on the software that is being installed in your system, or perform better with that particular software. In such cases, you shouldn’t ever buy an EPoS system that is software independent.