The POS system has become ubiquitous in retail for its considerable benefits. According to Finances Online, the global POS market is expected to reach $29.09 billion by 2025. Currently, there are two major POS platforms which are cloud-based POS and on-premise POS. No matter if POS is running on the cloud or local servers, all POS systems require a basic part to function properly which is a POS terminal. Let’s walk through today’s article to grab information regarding POS terminals – a core of the entire POS system.
What’s a POS terminal?
In short, POS terminals are any device with a screen for a store owner to interact with POS software. They vary from tablets, mobile phones, laptops, PCs, and even self-service kiosks.
Unlike cash registers with limited functions like calculating the total and storing cash, POS terminals are far more complex with the ability to keep track of inventory and customers. Also, they help shopkeepers speed up the checkout process. Some POS terminals have extensive screen displays that let in-store shoppers closely monitor their carts and invoices.
How does a POS terminal function?
A typical POS terminal will integrate with credit card swipers to process electronic payments, a cash drawer to secure cash, and a receipt printer. For several retail businesses, owners also connect POS with a barcode scanner to more easily look up products and fasten checkouts.
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Depending upon specific needs, a store can set up a wide range of POS terminals. When a product is assigned to a barcode, all you need to do is to scan the barcode, then, product-related information will show up. If you do not acquire a barcode scanner, just type the product name, and well-fitted items will appear on the touchscreen.
As customers check out, POS terminals will allow you to add products to cart, choose payment methods, click OK and print the receipt.
When sales occur, employees’ information on who rings up the sales will also be recorded. Besides, you can check the number of products sold and inventory right on the POS terminal.
The core benefits of a POS terminal
View products and add them to customers’ carts
You can browse the catalog from the POS touch screen monitor, look up the items, and add to shopping carts.
If you have multi-stores, only products that are stocked at your POS terminal’s assigned locations will be shown up for sales.
When you choose an SKU on the screen, all that product’s information will pop up, like price, description, product vendor, etc. Besides, other information will also be available in POS terminals for you to better inventory management, such as the current location’s inventory level and total inventory on hand.
Facilitate the checkout process
With a POS terminal, you can process sales in a blink of an eye. All you must do is add items to carts, choose payment methods, and hit OK.
Furthermore, POS accepts various payment methods, for instance cash, credit card, store credits, gift cards, etc.
That being said, some POS terminals have a customer display screen that helps your shoppers to keep a close eye on their purchases and payments.
Collect customer data
One of the greatest advantages of POS terminals is that they allow you to create and edit customer information instantly. After completing an order, you can ask your shoppers for their names, phone numbers, addresses, and so forth, then enter right on the touchscreen.
These devices support you to gather customer data in a standard form with lightning-fast speed. All information will be saved automatically so that you do not have to worry about accidentally missing it somewhere.
How to choose a right POS terminal
If you are planning to spend a large amount of money on a real POS terminal in lieu of your devices, let’s check the 2 below criteria.
Cloud-based POS or on-premise POS
Are you feeling unfamiliar with these concepts? Basically, a cloud POS system will allow you to store and process data on the Internet while on-premise POS will save all information on the local servers, such as your hard disk drive.
In comparison to on-premise systems, POS deployed on the cloud has bells and whistles like real-time synchronization, cost reduction, and remote access.
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Let’s keep in mind that both cloud and on-premise POS systems require at least a terminal setup. However, it is a must to dig into the differences between cloud-based and on-premise POS and your unique business needs before coming to a POS terminal purchase decision.
That’s because cloud-based POS will let you use multiple remote terminals rather than a giant POS machine fixed in-store. In contrast, on-premise POS is accessed by only one terminal at a time.
When making a purchase of a POS terminal, you aren’t just buying the machine, you are entering a relationship with vendors. It is paramount to go with a supportive POS provider for many reasons.
For instance, if your POS terminals stop working, such as if the machine does not respond, a lot of store owners are simply instructed to turn it off and on again. Instead of that, a vendor delivering great customer service will send you detailed steps to resolve specific situations. If you are unable to fix the technical errors of the device, a POS technician will be assigned to come and solve that issue. Therefore, a great POS provider will help you overcome any glitches.
In common practices, each POS company offers you instructions on proper installation. It is very straightforward, however, if you do not prefer to do it alone, POS vendors with excellent customer service will do it for you.
Top 3 POS terminals providers
If you are looking for a real POS touch screen terminal rather than your iPad, smartphone, or laptop, let’s walk through the following list.
Elo is a leading POS terminal manufacturer with more than 40-year experience in touchscreen. They have been developing POS terminals used in both Windows and Android, especially integrated with Google Play Services.
Apart from numerous types of touchscreen, Elo also supplies other peripherals such as customer-facing display, MSR (magnetic stripe readers), printer, cash drawer and barcode scanner.
Among these 3 decent POS vendors, Elo stands out with enormous online support resources. There is a full library of knowledge base articles and downloadable software. With respect to direct call service, the vendor has 2 customer support numbers for different problems, like technical support and other customer services.
All of Elo’s products do not have the price displayed on the official website. Therefore, you can leave your contact on their page to make a purchase.
CJ Legend is a reliable POS terminal provider in China with over 10 years of experience. The company offers a wide array of touch monitors with a metal stand, ranging from 12 to 17 inches. Depending on your needs, you can go for a Windows or an Android POS terminal with single or dual-screen displays.
The vendor also sells other POS accessories, such as customer display, scanner, and thermal printer. However, the product price is not displayed publicly on the vendor’s website so that you can have direct contact with them to make a purchase.
Unlike CJ Legend with a focus on the most popular size (15 to 17 inches), POS Guy also offers touch screen monitors up to 46 inches. The average cost for a 17-inch POS terminal ranges from 460 to 630 U.S dollars while a kiosk touchscreen with over 28 inches is more ultra-expensive at about 2100 U.S dollars.
The manufacturer also provides you with both virtual supports and on-site repairs. If you are far away from the vendor, you can call. However, if you are nearby, you just schedule an appointment for in-store installation and repair.
Besides, all technical issues will be covered by the tech support team, from barcode scanner configuration to wireless receipt printer installation.
Like other POS hardware providers, POS Guy sells a variety of other products rather than touchscreen displays, such as cash drawers, card readers, receipt paper & ribbons, etc.
In a nutshell
POS terminal helps you to easily process sales and allows customers to keep track of their carts. If you are running a small shop, it is good to keep using personal devices like tablets and mobiles as a POS terminal. However, it is highly recommended for medium- and large-sized business owners to acquire a professional POS touchscreen monitor. Besides, among thousands of POS terminal providers in the market, let’s take careful consideration about quality, price and customer support service before buying an ultra-expensive POS terminal.