Let us understand what is a point of sale system:
We keep coming across the term POS or point of sale in the business related articles, but many of us are not sure or not very clear about, what is a point of sale system anyway.
Since we deal with point of sale products / solutions, I thought of writing this post about, what is a point of sale system. After reading this post, you will find it easier to select various software and hardware modules of a point of sale system for your business. In short, you will be able to optimize and customize POS solution for your business which in-turn, will improve your efficiency and productivity.
So point of sale system is nothing but the automation of your normal sales process. This automation not only makes your sales process fast but make it error free and efficient. It retains all data and hence gives the accurate income and stock analysis. Various reporting functions may tell you the changes that you need to do in your business and also generate data that may forecast future trends. I will discuss these reports in detail later in this post.
Main hardware components of a Point of sale system:
Bar code Scanner: Bar code scanner is used to scan the bar code on the product to quickly identify the item. So bar code scanner's job to provide input data to the POS system which are used for different purposes which I will explain at the end when we show how we integrate all these components. Many types of scanners are available but the omni-directional Laser bar code scanners are the most efficient and popular. These are available with various kind of interfaces like USB, RS-232, Ethernet etc. and all are equally effective.
Receipt Printer: Receipt printers are obviously used to generate customer receipts automatically once the sales process is completed. In addition to generating receipts, these are also used to generate "Cash up" reports at the end of the shift /day. Although, thermal receipt printers are the most popular ones, dot matrix receipt printers are also available. Thermal receipt printers are popular because of their amazing printing speed. These printers are available with various interfaces like USB, RS-232, Ethernet etc.
Cash Drawer: These are required for the cash sales as a convenient way of accepting and giving cash. These are normally kept closed and the receipt printers electronically kick in to open the drawer once sale is made and cash transaction need to be completed.
Windows based computer with Touch Screen: Any standard computer will do but an inbuilt touch screen based computer is preferred in POS industry as it is more user friendly and fast. Although, Mac and Android based point of sale software are also available, Windows based software are the most popular ones. We provide our own brand known as KISS POS and is quite popular with retail shops and hospitality industry here in New Zealand. Click here to read the features and specifications of KISS POS software.
Eftpos Machine: Eftpos machines are used to do debit or credit card transactions. Once the sale is made on POS system and eftpos method is chosen to complete the transactions, amount of the sales transaction is automatically communicated to eftpos machine and the customer swipes his card to pay. Once the card is accepted or declined, the message is poped up on the POS screen.
Now, since we know the terminologies of various components of POS, let us see how they are integrated.
As shown above, Receipt printer, bar code scanner and eftpos machine are connected to the Windows based computer with inbuilt touch screen via their respective interfaces. In this example, printer and the scanner is connected using USB interface. Printer kicks the cash drawer and the computer and the eftpos machine are on LAN connected with the internet.
KISS POS (Or any other point of sale software) is installed on this computer and your point of sale system is ready to be used.
The basic process goes like this. When the customer comes with an item to buy, you scan the item on bar code scanner, KISS POS, picks up the item and its price from the database, shows it on the screen. You may change the quantity if there are more than one items, and then complete the sales transaction either by touching "cash" button or "eftpos" button as the case may be. For example, if the item costs $5 and the the customer gives you $20, you touch button marked $20, system will show you to return $15 to customer and the cash drawer will get kicked out. You place $20 in the cash drawer and return $15 to the customer and close the cash drawer. Similarly, if the customer decides to pay by debit card, you touch "eftpos" button and the software will automatically transmit the amount to the eftpos unit, and the customer will swipe the card, enter pin etc. on the machine and once the card is accepted, the result will be shown on your POS screen.
These are the very basics of any point of sale system. However, if you want to go into detail, you may like to watch the following video that we made to explain various features of KISS POS in detail.
We have tried our best to explain, what is a point of sale system, to the best of our capability. However, if you have any doubt or questions about any point, feel free to email us your questions and we will be more than happy to clear your doubts.