In the face of economic uncertainty, it has never been more important to secure the profitability of your business. The increasing sophistication and accessibility of affordable technology is allowing small business owners to leverage this technology in the same way as their corporate competitors. An investment of this kind has the potential to not only protect your business but also to fuel growth and improve loss prevention. There are a number of options to decide upon which we discuss in this article.
What is EPOS?
Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) is a combination of hardware and software designed to help you run your business more effectively. Where traditional till systems record sales, EPOS systems not only record this transactional information but can then generate detailed reports in response to the input data. This affords owners and managers more insight into their business, allowing them to make actionable changes to increase revenue and cut costs. Some systems can be customised to include a number of features to improve business operations including loyalty reward schemes, staffing and inventory management and marketing facilities.
Depending on the type of EPOS system you choose, the data input into the system is either held in servers on your premises or in the cloud. The core hardware comprises a terminal screen, much like a touch screen computer monitor. This is where you input orders and process payments. The additional hardware pieces that make up an EPOS system are connected via cables or wirelessly. These additional hardware pieces are optional and include:
- Receipt printer- Small printing device using ink or thermal paper create a customer record of the transaction.
- Tablet- Portable hardware used instead of traditional EPOS or as an additional mobile device to assist with business operations.
- Barcode scanner- Electronic scanner that reads barcodes allowing you identify product items on the EPOS system.
- PDQ- A card payment terminal used to electronically transfer funds via chip and pin, Contactless or Apple/Android Pay.
- Cash drawer- A lockable metal drawer used to store cash
EPOS software provides a full quantitative analysis of your business, allowing you to make fully informed decisions to optimise efficiency and growth. The quality of software can vary on your provider. Some software packages are very basic, affording you minimal insight and functionality. Other software is industry-specific, and some can be customised to meet specific business needs.
Legacy systems, where the server is kept on your premises are costly to update. Cloud-based EPOS utilise SAAS (software as a service) payment system. This means you pay a monthly fee to your EPOS provider and your system will update automatically when a software update is released.
- Helping to improve the way a business performs
- Allows information and stock to be stored securely
- EPoS allows companies to keep track of sales and taxes
- Information can be retrieved immediately as and when needed
- Allows businesses to see which products are in demand and which are not
- It can print out receipts and vouchers for customers
- It can store rich customer information that can be used to enhance sales
- It can also be linked to a company website or any terminal within the business
- Accurate pricing information can be provided and easily updated
- EPoS facilitates fast and efficient customer service
Times have now moved on since a basic cash register was adequate to run a business and remain competitive. At a time when companies and businesses are trying to be as cash-savvy and save as much money as they can, it’s also important to consider the long-term cost-saving that using an EPOS system can glean. It can create noticeable savings on employee time and accounting, improve efficiency of stock control and be the starting point to create a database for customers and their behaviour.
The most important thing about EPOS systems is that they can be tailored to your individual and specific business needs. Along with store purchases, online ordering, telephone sales, catalogues and the like, EPOS ultimately offers benefit after benefit for your company and your customers.