Any business that has a person selling the products or services, it needs to have a point of sale (POS). A POS refers to the setup you create to process face-to-face payments from clients. Remember that a POS is not a standalone process or machine. Instead, POS is a combination of several things that together can process customer-facing transactions effectively and streamline all the business processes related to your sales. 

The setup can vary in functionality and look depending on the type of technology, the payment methods you allow, and many more. This post takes a look at how a POS system works.

A point of sale system

A few years ago, a point of sale system usually was just a cash register. Unfortunately, these cash registers didn’t even know the cost of the products, so the person operating them needed to manually enter the purchased items’ prices by using price tickets.

The person required them to receive the money, put it in the cash drawer, and give the client a paper receipt. In most cases, a paper copy retrieved from the till roll was the only record of the transaction.

With a point of sale systems evolving, they have now become more computerized and they can store a product database on computer servers. Quite often, they can come with a barcode reader, so you don’t need to manually enter the prices while also storing transaction details electronically.

Today, things are much more sophisticated. Some retailers still prefer using old systems, but others are now moving on to this more advanced retail POS system like cloud-based POS systems where you can store online data.

Key parts of a POS system

Modern POS systems have software and hardware components. It’s worth noting that the software usually registers, processes, and even stores all the transaction details. However, there are important differences in how different POS software systems store and use this data.

All POS systems feature a front-end interface designed for the point of sale and there is a back end also known as back office or dashboard for behind-the-scenes activities and management functions. 

The front-end interface is usually used by the employees processing the transactions, so it appears on a tablet screen or touchscreen. On the other hand, the back end can be accessed separately in an application window or browser either on a mobile device, separate window, or same device. 

You can store data on-site or cloud-based. With on-site, the software can be installed on your server like a computer. You need to buy one or more licenses for the software to use it. Also, you have to manage and manually update this type of software. Because the software depends on the network of your computer, you don’t need the internet. 

When it comes to cloud-based, the system can be hosted online. For example, you can store data on the POS provider’s internet server to allow you to use the latest model of the POS app. This system can be automatically updated and maintained by the POS provider, but you should always use the latest versions of the POS app.

Also Read: Sales Prospecting Made Easy!