The most vital tool for any business is a machine to process sales.
It wasn’t that long ago that the only affordable option available was a basic cash register, which included a cash drawer, receipt printer, and occasionally a card reader. These days, advancements in technology have replaced the basic cash register with more advanced point-of-sale systems.
However, a POS is more than just a cash register replacement. These systems are part of an integrated business platform that can scan, process, and track transactions, manage inventory, streamline accounting, enable customer marketing, and much more.
If you’re looking to update the technology in your business, a simple cash register won’t do. Here are five business processes that are simplified by replacing a cash register with a cloud-based POS system. In this article, we’ll refer to several POS systems to give examples of the functionality. CardFellow is not affiliated with these POS systems and does not make money from referencing them.
- Improved Customer Transactions and Specialty Functions
- Seamless Inventory Management
- Accurate Financial Accounting
- Targeted Customer Marketing
- Maximized ROI
Improved Customer Transactions and Specialty Functions
A cash register only accepts manual input of purchases. That means the cashier has to find the price of an item, calculate tax, and process the transaction. This can be a time-consuming process, and encourages errors. Additionally, it doesn’t take into account the variety of other options your staff might need.
POS systems handle purchases as an end-to-end process, and some systems are tailored to specific industries.
The NCR Silver POS system offers features like dynamic pricing, also called event-based discounts. If your restaurant or bar has “happy hour” specials, you can configure it to automatically adjust the prices in the timeframe you set. That allows your employees to ring sales faster without having to check the time or calculate discounts.
Restaurant-specific POS systems offer a much broader range of functions than a traditional cash register, including quick check splitting, customized table layouts for easy seat management, orders sent from the entry system to a kitchen printer, or even online ordering and delivery tracking functions.
Or look at MindBody, a popular POS platform for yoga studios and fitness-based businesses. With MindBody, cashiers are able to process much more complicated transactions. That includes adding discounts, tracking multi-session, loyalty, and subscription plans, and displaying customer information.
When a credit or debit card is used, this type of system is able to store the information and even set up recurring payments. The POS system also tracks check-ins, scheduling, and can send email/text reminders to ensure customers don’t miss sessions they’ve paid for.
Because of this functionality, yoga and other fitness studios are able to offer their students a wide range of plans to fit their lifestyle while ensuring teachers are compensated and the overall business generates a profit. All of this is accomplished using a Mac computer with a software POS installed as opposed to a basic cash register.
Seamless Inventory Management
There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than driving to a store only to find a product out of stock. With a normal cash register, it’s impossible to track your inventory and know when it’s time to reorder. That all has to be handled manually, through spreadsheets and hand-counting.
POS systems not only process transactions, they allow for inventory management, even across multiple locations.
For example, the Revel POS system is a processor-agnostic POS that allows you to process transactions virtually anywhere. With Revel, inventory can be tracked and synced to ensure you’re optimizing your inventory. Restaurants and food service businesses can even track down to the ingredient level.
You can generate reports to show the popularity of specific items. Even if the network goes down, systems can store information locally and sync it once a connection is available.
Accurate Financial Accounting
A standard cash register requires a lengthy end-of-day accounting process. Cross-checking discounts, determining which employee processed which transactions, and manually entering information in accounting software like QuickBooks can be tedious and mistake-prone.
The connectivity of a cloud-based POS system automates many of these processes, reducing errors and increasing processing speed.
Clover POS is designed to be an all-in-one solution, including a touchscreen input, cash drawer, receipt printer, high-resolution camera that can scan barcodes and QR codes, and encrypted card reader. Clover uses a secure server to back up transactions. It also includes a reporting feature that makes accounting more accurate and efficient.
Because of the Internet connectivity, you can export reports to Excel and QuickBooks. By keeping financial data digital instead of printing it out, your company will not only be more green, it will also be more secure, as you can control access to reporting functions.
Orders can also be reopened, making it easier to process refunds and exchanges. This is a helpful customer service function that couldn’t be performed on a standard cash register.
Traditionally, basic cash registers were more susceptible to employee theft. POS systems, with advanced reporting and tracking of transactions and the employees who process them, help cut down on internal theft.
Targeted Customer Marketing
Big data analysis has become a buzz term in business over the past few years and with good reason. It’s important for businesses to understand their customers in order to focus marketing efforts to bring them back. With a basic cash register, you can’t collect and store customer data, much less analyze it.
POS systems make customer tracking a breeze. You can implement frequent customer promotions and send marketing materials such as coupons, sales, and new product notifications.
Revention has been featured heavily on Spike’s Bar Rescue because of the POS system’s wide range of customer tracking and marketing features for bars and restaurants. The software’s databases and query engines allow you to customize marketing searches to easily identify customer buying habits.
You can create email lists and send customized marketing emails all from within the Revention POS. The platform can create and apply coupons, build and track loyalty programs, and even geographically map customers to allow you a bird’s eye view of where your establishment is most popular.
The major reason basic cash registers are often chosen over a POS is an upfront cost without a monthly subscription fee. This is because of the limited capabilities of a cash register. Although $200-$500 may seem like a sensible price range, these machines provide no ROI, and that initial investment is never recouped.
A POS pays for itself by acting as a centralized database for business operations. The software as a service (SaaS) model reduces overall costs while allowing the system to receive consistent updates.
ShopKeep by Lightspeed is recognized as one of the best and most cost-effective POS solutions on the market. It’s upgradeable to allow for a wide range of payment options including EMV and NFC. It’s also compatible with multiple credit card processors.
In addition, ShopKeep by Lightspeed includes tools for customer relation management, employee management, inventory management, and comprehensive reporting. By housing and managing all of this data, it is a valuable tool that increases sales, saves money, streamlines ordering, and builds customer loyalty.
A POS system is much more than just a cash register. By combining features to allow customer data tracking, inventory management, and transactional reporting, a POS is the cornerstone of any sales-based business.
The combined savings and revenue generation made possible by a POS system makes it a much more economic purchase over a basic cash register, allowing for many marketing, accounting, human resources, and other operational functions to be performed in a centralized place.
By installing a POS in your business, you’ll reduce errors and automate processes. Check out our product directory of POS systems to find the right POS for your business today.