EPOS systems come in various shapes and sizes, so what constitutes the best may be different from one business, or even sector, to the next. As such there are many things for businesses to consider before purchasing and implementing an EPOS system.
What is an EPOS System
EPOS stands for Electronic Point of Sale and is the umbrella term for hardware and software combinations that helps businesses process payments more efficiently.
Computerising a business at the point of sale has many advantages, including making the entire process highly efficient, eliminating almost all human error and automating what can often be time consuming practices, such as stock control.
EPOS hardware used to mean the traditional till and peripheral products (receipt printers, PDQ machines) but today can encompass more modern solutions like iPads and tablets.
Features of Top EPOS Systems
As EPOS technology has continued to improve, so has the system’s capabilities. What was once little more than an electronic till has become a multifaceted web of technology, although the best systems are intuitive and simple to use. How complex a system is will depend on a business’s requirements.
- Easy to use Payment Devices
- Inventory Management
- Shop Floor Management
- Special Offers and Membership
Easy to use Payment Devices
At the front of any business involved in selling goods or services is the point of sale itself. For businesses with a high turnover of customers, such as high street shops or restaurants, it is essential to provide an efficient method through which customers can pay. EPOS card processing devices are the most popular method of payment equipment, but new technologies, such as Apple Pay, are fast catching up. Electronic tills, with touch screen interfaces, are also a great way to process purchases quickly. This is particularly the case in busy bars that need to process large and complicated orders.
Inventory management used to be the part of running a business that owners disliked the most, but staying on top of stock levels is an absolute must. By tracking inventory, businesses can be updated in real time, meaning essential stock may never run out. What’s more, some EPOS can be used to automatically purchase certain products when they run low, saving time and reducing the risk of problems in this area.
Shop Floor Management
This feature is particularly important for businesses in the hospitality sector. Restaurants, for example, can manage seating, take bookings and reduce waiting times for customers. It is also possible to ensure that all patrons are served in a timely manner. Another great advantage is that all orders can be sent directly to the kitchen or bar, speeding up the process and producing a faster turnover in busy premises.
Highly specified reporting on all areas of a business is extremely helpful in all sectors relating to EPOS systems. For restaurants, management can see which meals are selling best at which time of the day, month or year. On busy shop floors, staff management can be informed by well-crafted feedback that can help tune business practices and customer interaction. Management can also ensure that theft can be monitored at a minute level.
Special Offers and Membership
EPOS systems make cultivating special offers and membership schemes extremely straightforward, and some software is designed with highly specified features. Retail clothing outlets have used such technology to its advantage for some time by providing loyalty schemes and special offers for members. This is achieved by collecting personal details, such as email addresses and phone numbers. These schemes have helped outlets track shopping habits and provide individualised offers that encourage customers return frequently when, for example, new lines have been added.
Best EPOS Systems by Industry
The two main industries that have historically gotten the most out of EPOS systems are retail and hospitality, both of which have been covered previously. But as the technology grows, so does the number of sectors that employ such systems.
Large warehouses can track goods in minute detail, often using EPOS systems in combination with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, which read the movement of vehicles and inventory in real time. The same goes for cab firms, where touch screen interfaces provide easy to read data for management, making the entire procedure highly efficient. Whether it be health providers, event management or even outdoor markets, EPOS can be implemented to great effect.
Developments of EPOS
As EPOS capabilities grow and the technology becomes more affordable, it can be helpful to keep an eye on any new developments in the field. Payment options, such as the previously mentioned Apple Pay and other mobile phone payment technologies, are always seen to be pushing the boundaries as to what the technology can do.
Another area that is fast growing is the chatbot, which can be integrated into existing EPOS systems and offer an automated marketing system to customers, both old and new. This can entail reminders of appointments, informing customers of special offers and just keeping your business in the mind of your customers. As the mobile phone has become an ever present in most people’s lives, this can be a powerful tool when implemented correctly.
Best EPOS System Providers
There are many EPOS providers to choose from, but it is important to ensure you choose the right one for your specific needs. Many businesses make the mistake of employing too complex a system, or just a poorly designed one.
Some of the most highly regarded EPOS providers include:
- World Pay
- EPOS Now
- EPOS Direct
- First Data Merchant Solutions
- Intelligent Retail
- Point One