“POS” is an abbreviation for “point-of-sale.” A POS system is a system used by a business to calculate purchases, record items for inventory management, and manage information about sales transactions. Businesses of all sizes use POS systems. Industry – specific software is available for retail stores, restaurants, casinos, gyms, salons, and hotels.
A retail point of sale system can be a very sophisticated cash register. In the 1970s, as computer-operated cash registers became common, features like client-server technology, peer-to-peer communications, backups and remote access became available. POS systems that use these features have become standard in the hospitality industry, and most businesses have even developed customized software that helps them take advantage of industry-specific functions. POS systems can be linked with your existing merchant account to process credit card transactions more easily, and can incorporate hardware that can “scan” items for purchase or place orders and calculate bills.
A good example of a POS system is a touch-screen terminal at a restaurant, with a “button” or key specified for each menu item. A server can specify a certain table, and key in the order of each patron. The system transfers the information to the kitchen staff and chef, either by displaying the orders on a screen or printing them. When the meal is over, the server can transfer the order information easily to a credit card processing (http://www.resourcenation.com/landing/specialtystoreservices/credit-card-processing) terminal. From there, the patrons can pay for their meal using a credit card. If the system is linked to your merchant services account, the money will be transferred almost immediately. The entire process takes less time, is more error proof, and is easier for all involved.
The different components of a POS system can be customized for your business. For example, restaurants probably couldn’t make much use of scanners, but retail businesses use them with frequency. The software you use will determine the hardware you will need.
POS systems can be expensive, and the range of options can leave many business owners confused. This guide reviews POS software and hardware options, information on choosing a vendor, and the best way to switch from your old POS system to a new one. It’s a good idea to treat a POS system like an investment- purchasing the best system for your business will pay off in the long run. The more information you have before you purchase, the better.