Point of Sale software is almost ubiquitous – from the smallest stores to large retail chains, everyone seems to have adopted some POS software or another to manage their billing requirements. To put it simply, a POS system keeps a record of all transactions happening at it, with a special eye for cash flow.
Sounds simple enough?
Yet, retailers are always on the lookout for a POS that can do better than a previous version – be faster, more accurate or simply, offer some extra value. This is why POS has a history that spans back to 200 years or more!
The Evolution of Points Of Sale
The first POS system was, as you can imagine, a manual bill and the cash till. When a purchase was made, someone at the counter wrote out two copies of a bill, sometimes more, for record keeping. They then accepted cash from the customer and tendered change. Then came card payments. Those who wished to keep the manual billing changed nothing – they just added a card swiping machine to the POS system.
Perhaps the greatest leap in POS systems and their perception came with the invention of the barcode reader. Items now had unique names, or barcodes, that helped identify them in a store. A barcode scanner scanned all of the customer’s purchases, turned up results for a product’s price and then made a bill.
In the early 2000s, mobile points of sale became a thing. No longer was a computer set-up required in order to have electronic billing – mobiles now did the job just as well. In fact, more than half of UK retailers are of the opinion that mobile points of sale are the most important elements in their store, trumping even queue management systems.
In-Store Technologies With Most Value To The Customer. Image source: Statista
Today, cloud-based point of sale software goes much beyond keeping track of cash in and cash out. It offers features such as inventory handling, customer support, and engagement- in a way, it would be prudent to call them Retail Management Systems.
The Traditional POS
A traditional POS has a computer, monitor, cash registry, a barcode scanner, a receipt printer, and one or more card machines. The system is set up in a fixed location to manage the sales from customers within a particular store. Queues usually follow the First In-First Out format and each POS is able to help retailers keep track of sales in that particular store.
There are several benefits that a traditional POS offers over other options, especially when seen in comparison with manual billing.
- It is error free. A POS is not going to make human errors of judgment. This is the case with all digital POS systems.
- A POS makes the process of checkout quicker. Since the time taken to write out a bill is replaced by just scanning the products, a significant amount of time is saved, making checkouts faster.
- At the end of each day or a sale period, one look at the POS is enough to gather metrics such as revenue, products sold, etc.
- If a retailer has just one or two stores, and no presence elsewhere on other channels, a traditional POS is the best option to go with.
The Cloud Point Of Sale System
As the name implies, the software that runs a cloud point of sale lies in the cloud, which is to say it isn’t installed on one computer. Since the software is hosted on a remote server, it saves space on your computer and can be accessed from just about anywhere in the world, and on any system. There are several systems even within this category and they range from the simplest POS products to software that can double up as a retail manager. If you’re looking to sell on multiple channels, such as online, in marketplaces, in stores, etc. it is advisable that you have a sophisticated retail management software.
- A cloud-based POS, as we mentioned earlier, can be accessed from anywhere. Your secure login credentials can be used by you on just about any device.
- A sophisticated POS system does more than being a register. It is able to dynamically update inventory with every sale you make, alerting you to potential stock-outs.
- If you sell on multiple channels, such software can integrate inventory across channels, retail stores included.
- Added features can help you keep track of customers and provide them with a personalized experience when they check out in your retail store.
- Some retail management software products go beyond just products and inventory. They’re able to integrate with services across the supply chain and offer features such as vendor management and shipping integration. The ability to integrate with other software products sets apart these systems because this is a feature spreadsheet cannot replicate. While selling on multiple channels, this is a blessing.
- Any diligent retailer knows that accounting and bookkeeping is a rather time-consuming aspect of sales. With the help of a retail management software that integrates with popular accounting tools, you can eliminate the time spent in going through each invoice and feeding it into a separate system at the end of each sales period.
Cloud based POS vs Traditional POS – Which one to Pick?
While it may seem like a lot of technicalities to handle, some cloud-based POS systems are designed for ease of use and come with continuous tech support. Such a system can take the guesswork out of the equation. What’s more, if you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer who is making the big leap and going online, having a retail management software in place that integrates all your points of sale, both online and offline, can prove to be a blessing.
After the obvious issue of sales, about 31% of retailers feel that maintaining the supply chain is the greatest challenge for stores.
Image source: Statista
By using a sophisticated POS system that integrates with inventory across warehouses, alerts you to stock levels, sets up a platform for you to communicate with your vendors, shows you the status of returns and replacements, and helps you remember customers, you can virtually eliminate your supply chain woes.
Primaseller offers the best cloud Point of Sale that can be easily accessed over a browser from any device and any location. Do ask for a free demo or signup for a 14-day free trial and learn more!