When talking about a point-of-sale (POS) system, it is normal for people to naturally talk about its features like inventory management, payment processing, custom sales, etc. These are actually about what POS software is taking care of. Retailers are likely to forget about another POS component that is equally important as POS software, POS hardware.
Since there are plenty of hardware equipment pieces for POS out there, let us be your guide who reveals some of the most popular pieces in POS. And what to consider when choosing hardware for your business POS system.
What is POS hardware?
A POS system needs both software and hardware in order to manage sales transactions properly. POS software is the intangible component that is typically in charge of managing functions. Meanwhile, POS hardware is all the pieces of equipment that operate the software.
Regardless of being a retailer who runs brick-and-mortar stores or the one who doesn’t have a storefront but sells at places like trade shows or local fairs, they all need a certain combination of POS hardware to be able to receive payments.
Popular POS hardware
A POS terminal is a device with a screen on which shopkeepers interact with POS software. The device can be a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or even a self-service kiosk. And the device is the platform for POS software to run on.
This piece of POS hardware enables merchants to take payments by debit and credit card. There are various options for credit card readers. Each of these types facilitates different transactions like swiped transactions, chip-card transactions, and contactless mobile transactions.
Normally, business owners will need to find a payment processor or provider to set up their business transaction accounts. And they can purchase or get a credit card reader for free from that payment processor or provider.
Security is the first and foremost factor when considering a credit card reader. Business owners should find themselves common and transparent payment solutions providers to ensure the safety of their business.
It is a fact the credit cards and other digital payment forms are becoming more and more popular and are preferred by many customers and shop operators, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, you still need a cash drawer, popular hardware in POS, as cash and coins are also commonly used. This piece of POS hardware is to ensure that you offer your buyers their go-to payment methods, whether cash or card or mixed.
Most cash drawers can connect to the POS terminal wirelessly or via USB. And they often interact with POS in two ways:
- You can open the cash drawer by pressing a relevant button
- The cash drawer interacts with POS via the receipt printer, so when you print the receipt, the cash drawer will be opened by the receipt printer.
Its name has explained it all, this POS hardware is a kind of printer that is designed specifically for printing receipts. With the growing concern for our environment, email and SMS receipts are going strong; however, there are still customers who want printed receipts.
Some credit card readers have the function to print their own receipts, while other POS systems will require a separate receipt printer.
Barcode scanners allow you to scan items so that they can be rung up on the system. It scans, or you can say that it reads the product barcode, then transfers it to POS software. The POS software will immediately look it up in the database to figure out which product it is and add the item to the cart.
Some mobile POS apps (smartphone or tablet) enable barcodes to be scanned using the device camera so you can save a little money on this.
A customer screen, quite a popular POS hardware, is also known as a customer-facing screen, and it is just what it sounds like. It’s a screen that faces customers in the check-out line and shows the fundamental information to customers like product price, total bill, etc.
Nowadays, with the innovation of technology, customers can interact with a modern customer screen in many ways:
- Review their items before paying
- Check items stocks
- Receive last-minute recommendations for relevant products
- Digitally sign
- Enter email to receive e-receipt
- Leave a rating
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Factors to consider when choosing POS hardware
Industry and business size
Do consider what type of business you are, what industry you are in, and what scale of your business.
For example, with businesses that serve a high volume of guests such as restaurants, supermarkets, salons, a desktop POS is just perfect.
When selecting POS hardware for your business, or in fact, selecting anything, the price will be an important aspect to take into consideration.
Kind of similar to the point above, you need to review the size and needs of your business. Based on that, you can decide on which POS hardware pieces to involve and which is not to suit your own pocket.
Ease of use
This factor, again, depends on the scale of your business, and it significantly varies from system to system. When browsing POS systems and hardware, consider the number of your staff, how much time and effort you want to spend on training. Only then, you are capable of choosing the right hardware with the right quantity for your POS system.
So, they are POS terminal, credit card reader, cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, and customer screen that are the most popular POS hardware pieces. With that being known, your task now as a business owner is to find the most suitable combination of these pieces to create a meaningful POS system for your business. Furthermore, you need to find software that is compatible with many hardware in POS to ensure that your business is well-managed and successful.
At ConnectPOS, we develop such POS software that is guaranteed to be bang for the buck. Being one of the best cloud-based POS software providers, our POS is technology-advanced and works well with the most commonly used POS hardware.
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ConnectPOS is the retail pos system in the ecosystem. ConnectPOS gladly presents a comprehensive training guide ebook tailor-made for cashiers in the retail business.