Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a POS System?

A POS system should, at least, access and process credit and debit card transactions. It should also be able to run sales reports and give proper insights to business status. Above all, a POS system should also come with all essential features for your industry. For example, a clothing store may look for a POS system that can track inventory. A restaurant may want a POS that can show the number of tables that are open. There are different questions you need to ask when choosing a POS system. The key here is to narrow down things like software and hardware options, cost, number of payment modes, customer support, interoperability between software and hardware, etc. 

Is the subscription fee charged when opting for the POS System? 

It is up to the service provider you opt for. For example, Square needs only payment processing fees and hardware. On the other side, Toast requires customers to pay a subscription fee monthly or annually for using their platform. 

What to look for in a POS software? 

A POS system should, at least, be capable of processing credit and debit card transactions. It should, ideally, enable users to know the business status and run sales reports. 

How much do I need to pay for a POS system? 

The cost of a POS system can range up to $1700 for hardware and terminal cost can go up to $300 per month. Sometimes, POS software is available for free from some companies and some also provide hardware for free. But there are conditions applied in those systems. On average, you might need to bear up to $1300 as hardware cost for cloud POS, along with software costing up to $69 per month. 

What are the specific hardware requirements for setting up a retail POS system?

Here are some of the important hardware tools required to make the most of POS solutions – 

  • Barcode scanner – It is important to gather product specs, record price for invoicing, and adjust inventory level after finishing a transaction. 
  • Register display – It is important to show product database and transaction details. You can replace traditional, large monitors with iPads and tablets. 
  • Receipt printer – It prints purchase data of the customers on paper receipts. However, it can be replaced with text and email receipts. 
  • Credit card reader – It is required to process gift cards, debit and credit cards. EMV readers are also accepted in latest readers and they can also accept mobile payments like Google Pay and Apple Pay. 
  • Cash drawer – To keep cash payments secured. 

Types of POS Systems and their Areas of Application to Look For

Price tags are no longer needed thanks to the wide adoption of POS systems in retail stores. Employees just need to scan the barcode to apply discounts, change prices, and edit items. Loyalty programs and inventory management are other benefits of POS systems for businesses. To choose the best retail POS for your business, here are few of the recommended types – 

  • Mobile POS – Tablet and smartphone POS solutions can manage customer information and inventory and process payments. It often comes with a credit card reader. It is ideal for businesses which don’t have to manage inventory that much. 

Areas of application – Farmers or street vendors, event or fair vendors, contract or freelance workers, mobile services, limo services, daycare providers, lawn care services, etc. 

  • Terminal POS – It is often seen at the counter. Most of these systems need internet access and also cloud service. They usually come as all-in-one solutions like cash drawers, barcode scanners, and other inclusions. They can easily control internet access by employees as they can use it only for POS software. 

Areas of application – Busy retailers, full-service restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, magazine or book stores, antique shops, spa, salon, electronic shops etc. 

  • Self-service kiosks – They are basically specialized solutions designed to serve specific purposes. For example, they can be installed for customers to make payments for parking space or time, book movie tickets, etc. A large retail store can also set up some kiosks to enable customers to check out the availability and price of products.  

Areas of application – Transportation passes, ticket sales, grocery stores, HR, product lookup, parking, movie tickets, etc. 

  • Multichannel POS – It is ideal for businesses that are not limited to only one physical or online address. Multichannel POS can integrate all the sales across social media, storefronts, and online stores. Hence, a business may not go out of stock easily. 

Areas of application – Physical stores that sell online too, e-commerce brands that have physical stores in different locations, and online sellers engaging in physical pop-ups. 

5 Pros and Cons of Cloud-based, Online POS Systems

Cloud POS systems have been very popular and viable over the years for SMEs and retailers.  They can be accessed using any web browser as “Software as a Service (SaaS)”. According to a study conducted by Techaisle in 2015 on adoption of cloud computing, cloud POS can save operation costs and improve visibility and productivity in SMBs. However, not all retailers should look for a cloud POS. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before investing – 

Pros

No specific hardware needed – One can simply use an internet browser to access cloud POS software. Hence, there is no need to spend more on costly equipment for running it. In addition, it can be used on a tablet, phone, or PC with an internet connection. 

No training required – Usually, medium and small retail businesses don’t have enough IT skills and it can be costly to outsource talents. Cloud-based POS takes care of all those issues and helps retailers to save money. 

Always up-to-date – Obsolete technology is highly responsible for slowdowns and errors. Vendors can easily update and manage the cloud infrastructure to stay ahead of the latest technology and security updates. 

Cons

Subscription – It is both a pro and a con. SaaS usually comes in annual or monthly fee and retailers have to bear little or no heavy cost upfront. For small retailers with less devices, it is usually more manageable. But according to how long it is required, number of features and devices needed to run on, monthly fees may be costly in the long run. So, here you need to do the math before opting. 


Connectivity – The only requirement you need to fulfill here is a stable internet. In case you lose the connectivity, you lose the sales. To avoid it, many retailers use two or more network services, just in case.