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What is a Retail Pos System

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A point-of-sale (POS) system is software that connects the sales, inventory and management functions of each retail company into a single, streamlined system. Many POS systems can only work on one mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet and can also control one or more counter registers, complete with cash drawers, scanners and receipt printers.

If you want to test a top-rated POS system without risk, you must sign up for Square. Square is a POS that is simple enough for beginners to easily set up and use, but advanced enough to automate tasks such as generating sales reports and monitoring inventory. You can spend so much time getting familiar with the system because Square has no monthly fees. Click here to sign up for free.

This guide answers the question: What is POS and what is a cash register system? We show you the features that most POS systems offer, their costs and which POS systems are best for certain business needs.

What a Point-of-Sale system does for you

A cash register system replaces traditional cash registers to simplify your payment process during the cash register sales process. However, that only makes superficially clear how a POS can improve your overall functioning. With a POS system you can:

  • Complete the sale using worksheets and / or mobile devices
  • Process credit and debit cards immediately
  • Withdraw cash and check payments
  • Print and / or send e-mails to customers
  • Create detailed product lists with variants such as color and size
  • Add products to every sale and register them
  • Track inventory quantities in real time while products are sold
  • Collect and save customer contact information
  • Follow the registrations, sales and schedules of employees
  • Follow commissions and / or tips per employee
  • Track store sales, mobile and online sales within one system
  • Manage e-mail and loyalty marketing programs
  • Compile a series of sales, stock and company reports
  • Link sales and inventory data to top accounting programs

Most POS systems are cloud-based and can use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets or Mac and PC computers to perform these tasks.

A short tour of Square's intuitive screens is the best way to understand what POS software is and how retail sales can be streamlined.

POS systems are also in many price ranges. Some, such as Square's free POS, offer full functionality with just a smartphone or tablet, so you can enjoy the benefits of a cash register system with virtually no upfront costs. Then, as you grow, you can easily expand to run multiple worksheet registers or even multiple store locations. Others, such as Lightspeed POS, have monthly costs for accessing the software, but offer a more advanced set of tools such as detailed advanced inventory and employee tracking.

Point-of-Sale functions in detail

Free or paid, all POS systems offer a number of basic functions that allow you to oversee every aspect of your business. Here is a look at ten ways in which a cash register system improves your daily workflow and simplifies overall business management.

1. Sales and payment process

A cash register system ensures a fast and seamless check-out experience for your customers. At checkout, employees can easily add items to a sale via barcode scan or a touchscreen entry. The total sale is immediate and discount coupons, loyalty points or other discounts can be applied at the touch of a button.

Square offers retailers a number of lean, economic counter top options. It even accepts popular eWallet payments using the contactless credit card reader.

To complete the sale, a cash register system accepts and records payments with checks, cash, credit card and even gift cards, plus customers can split payments in any way they want. Credit card signatures can be collected electronically or on paper and receipts can be printed or e-mailed, regardless of the customer's preference.

2. Credit card processing

POS systems automatically connect credit card transactions with your payment process. This simplifies and speeds up your payment procedures and task reconciliations before the end of the day. Unlike a standard credit card terminal and cash register setup, with a cash register system, you don't carry out a separate end-of-day cost overview and reconcile tickets with sales. It's already done for you.

POS systems also make it easy to accept credit cards wherever you make a sale. You can connect card readers to smartphones and tablets for mobile sales, accept online payments through your website or enter paying payments through the virtual terminal of your POS system. All of this goes beyond what you can do with a basic terminal for a credit card and cash register settings.

3. Payments for mobile device

If you want the freedom to accept payments wherever you do business, POS systems offer. Most have mobile POS apps, also called mPOS, that allow you to make sales, accept payments, and manage other important business functions from your smartphone or tablet. Many, such as Square, are entirely mobile based and work primarily on devices such as iPads, iPhones and some Android devices.

Square streamlines the payment and payment process and even works wirelessly on your tablet and smartphone for mobile sales needs.

With these systems, your checkout functions all happen through card readers connected to a tablet or mobile phone, as shown above. You also have access to your management dashboard and you can enter payments on any computer via a virtual terminal.

4. Inventory management

Inventory functions are one of the main reasons why companies use a POS system. Virtually every cash register system on the market stores important product data, such as supplier information and wholesale costs; regular, sales and discount prices for items; variables, such as size or color; and current stock quantities. Some POS systems, such as Square Retail and Lightspeed Retail, also offer advanced inventory functions that allow you to manage purchase orders, track parts for assembly products, and perform inventory transfers within the store.

Most POS systems also integrate your inventory data with different e-commerce platforms to automate real-time inventory updates between your POS system and online sales channels. Simply put, if you have to track inventory everywhere, a POS will improve the process.

5. Centralized multi-channel sales

A POS can connect your in-store and online sales activities in one convenient, centralized system. Many POS systems are integrated with a number of online sales platforms and synchronize your sales, payments, customers and even inventory numbers between your in-store system and online sales channels. Some, such as Square and Lightspeed, offer both integrations and built-in e-commerce solutions such as these:

What is POS It's more than a system for in-store sales. A cash register system such as Square connects your in-store, mobile and online sales within a centralized system.

For retailers who want to increase their reach by selling on a website; via seller's markets such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy; or via social media channels, a POS can make it all extremely efficient.

6. Customer management

With cash register systems you can record customer contact information and track every purchase in detail. You know which items each customer bought and when, how much they paid, which payment method they used and even whether the items were returned at a later time.

This data is extremely useful in overall sales management, but it also plays another important role by helping you refine marketing efforts. If you know who buys what, you can target targeted promotions such as marketing emails and send them to those customers who are likely to respond. Without a cash register system it's almost impossible to target buyers based on their purchase history.

7. Tracking of sales data

POS systems track every sale in detail, giving you a wealth of data on which to base important business decisions. Even the most basic sales reports tell you which items are your top sellers and slowest movers to help you make informed purchasing decisions. Sales tracking also allows you to record and predict seasonal upticks in certain categories or general sales, so that you can plan your inventory and staff to withstand your busy cycles. With many POS systems you can track employee sales for assignments or internal pay programs.

What is POS Point-of-sale systems such as Square provide a complete package with detailed reporting tools that allow you to target your marketing efforts, track costs and more.

8. Employee Management

POS systems offer a variety of personnel management tools. Login data for employees, basic time registration, scheduling and commission tracking can be found in the basic functions of most POS systems. For additional costs you can open or integrate a full salary management within your POS to centralize all your sales, business management and payroll tasks in one system. For example, you can enable Square's built-in payroll functions for $ 29 / month and $ 5 / month per employee. Others integrate directly with a number of top payroll providers such as Lightspeed POS and Gusto.

9. Marketing integration

Most POS systems offer built-in marketing tools for email and if not, they can easily connect to third-party email marketing solutions. Either way, a POS system makes compiling an email list and keeps it up-to-date in an instant. If you want to send marketing emails, you can use your customers' order history to target your promotions to those customers who are most likely to respond. By linking your order history to your email campaigns, you can create much more effective campaigns and a POS makes it all possible.

10. Loyalty programs

Customer loyalty programs take marketing one step further than email marketing by giving your customers an ongoing reason to visit your store. Loyalty programs work in different ways. You can use one to collect points for free gifts or discounts or to offer members special treats, such as early purchase events, discount coupons or valuation days. No matter how you set it up, it's all easily managed in most POS systems. Some, such as Square, offer a built-in loyalty program for a modest monthly fee. Others, such as Lightspeed and ShopKeep, integrate with various third-party loyalty program options.

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