The point of sale (POS) system consists of hardware and software used to process payment transactions in a retail environment. While earlier systems revolved primarily around cash transactions, today’s sophisticated POS systems handle debit, credit, loyalty programs, and a variety of mobile checkout options.

POS: More Than Just a Transaction

The point of sale system is the heart of every retail business. It’s what turns inventory into profits and patrons into customers. POS is what keeps your business running, which is why it’s more than just a piece of hardware running some software. The data generated by the point of sale is a valuable asset to retailers today. Because of this, the POS should be integrated into just about every system used to run a store.

Point of Sale Software

Each POS device requires software to process transactions and interface with other retail systems. Because the point of sale is often the last in-store interaction with a customer, having the right POS software helps to deliver good customer service. An intuitive user interface reduces both cashier training time and the time customers spend standing in the checkout line. NCR Encore (previously NCR ISS45) and Toshiba ACE are two examples of prevalent POS software solutions.



Point of Sale Hardware

The retail-hardened hardware required to operate a point of sale system includes system controllers, scanners (including wired and wireless handheld barcode scanners), scales, secure payment devices, and receipt printers. Most payment devices now include near-field communication (NFC) or other contactless payment and mobile payment options. While receipt printers and supplies such as paper and toner cartridges are still a necessary part of the point of sale system, many solutions offer paperless digital receipts and no-receipt options to meet modern customer preferences.



POS Service & Support

Because point of sales systems are a vital part of retail businesses, store owners can’t afford any POS downtime. Retailers require effective point of sale service, 24x7 technical support, preventive maintenance and rapid-response emergency repairs to ensure smooth and continuous operations. In addition, a strong service and support solution should include proactive monitoring to report potential system issues and alert a technician to investigate.



Remote Systems Management

As a retail chain grows, it becomes more difficult to manage the various point of sale systems at each location. Since you can’t be everywhere at once, it’s important to have a tool that allows you to monitor and manage vital systems remotely. Remote systems management tools help maintain compliance, reduce risk and respond quickly to any issues that arise with your POS hardware and software.



Fuel Sales

For retailers, fuel sales can significantly increase revenue. By integrating fuels sales directly into the POS, grocers are able to treat fuel as just another PLU. This makes fuel transactions seamless for customers, while providing store managers with the detailed reporting they get on other inventory items. Customers benefit from pay-at-pump, pre-pay, post-pay and fleet cards, as well as promotions and loyalty programs. Store managers can easily manage fuel pricing levels and monitor and receive fuel deliveries.



Self-Service Checkout

Self-services kiosks allow customers to scan items and process transactions without the assistance of a cashier. For many shoppers today, self-service checkout is no longer an option, but an expectation. This point of sale solution gives customers a greater sense of control, privacy, and convenience. While helping to shorten lines and optimize floor space, it also gets associates out from behind registers and into the store to assist customers. But once again, it’s vital that these solutions integrate with existing store systems.




Self-Service Restaurant

Restaurants also benefit from self-checkout options, but they need a point of sale solution designed to address the unique challenges of food service. To provide customers maximum convenience and flexibility, restaurants should offer point of sale options such as mobile ordering self-service kiosks and tablet-based ordering solutions. These systems should be able to split guest checks and payments, as well as support happy hour or other promotional pricing. Not only do these options help restaurants meet customers’ needs and expectations, they also increase service capacity by decreasing dining time and turning tables faster.


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