This article content is provided with our sponsor, Bank of America Merchant Services.
When selecting a POS system for your business, one size does not fit all. A clothing store will need a system that can support thousands of SKUs; a plumbing service needs the ability to process payments in the field. “Small businesses should consider point-of-sale systems that offer support for mobile payments and chip cards while also providing other functionality that can help them better manage their business,” says Bank of America Merchant Services1 Product Delivery Leader Jonathan Sepulveda.
POS systems have evolved to be much more than a way to accept payments. “A POS system is typically the center of a business’s operations,” says Sepulveda. “These devices are computers with specialized software designed to manage various aspects of a business that in the past were often managed manually. A straightforward example is a typical restaurant: Today’s POS systems manage everything from the table availability and assignments in the restaurant to the food and beverage orders sent directly to the kitchen. This helps eliminate paper processes that are inefficient and error prone. These are just a few examples of the broad capabilities a POS system can help to streamline. The POS also connects with a credit card processor to handle credit card payments.”
A POS system2 includes the hardware and software to handle these functions. The main hardware component is the computer, the CPU that runs the software. A monitor, keyboard and/or bar code scanner, cash drawer, credit/debit card terminal and receipt printer are basic POS cash register needs. New mobile systems make completely removing the cash register possible, along with processing payments via credit card scanners that attach to tablets and mobile phones.
The software should be geared towards your specific industry. When seeking a POS system, start by asking others in your industry about their systems and experiences with their POS system provider. Determine what you need the system to do for your business. Ask for demonstrations so you may test-drive different systems. Seek out well-established providers with the expertise necessary to help you find solutions to your POS needs.
Cost, of course, is a factor. “Point of sale systems on the market typically range from $500 for a simplified solution to $10,000 for a highly robust solution,” says Sepulveda, “Many small business needs can be met with around a $2000 investment per register.” The cheapest solutions are not always the best. “Businesses should select a system that already has the latest capabilities. The ideal system would offer ongoing software updates to keep up to date with new business tools and security measures.”
1 Bank of America Merchant Services. [http://merch.bankofamerica.com/Home]
2 “Point of Sale (POS) System,” Entrepreneur. [http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/point-of-sale-pos-system]
This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse