Point of Sale (POS) software typically allows merchants to process customer payments at retail locations. However, this group of software does more than just handling retail transactions. Other key functionalities of POS software include inventory control, automatic price updating, recording sales by branch and/or by employees and electronic ordering. Some products even allow you to analyze sales data, calculate taxes on buyers and update product information and accounts receivable records. More advanced features include the ability to identify customer buying habits and the ability to track which products are bringing in the most revenue. Read the full software guide...
Point of sale software is a solution that helps eCommerce businesses and brick-and-mortar locations manage their checkout and payment operations.
This type of software helps businesses with scanning goods, processing payments, issuing receipts, processing loyalty points, redeeming coupons and keeping sales records.
Employees can also use the software to check the price and availability of products and manage returns and exchanges. Store managers often use POS software to keep track of retail transactions and inventory data.
Cloud-based POS solutions offer more mobility and flexibility and require lower upfront costs, which is ideal for businesses that are in their early stages of growth. While these products typically work online, some allow you to work offline and synchronize data when your internet connection is restored.
Aside from the retail industry, POS software is also beneficial for businesses and organizations in the hospitality industry (i.e. hotels and resorts, among others).
There are many types of POS software, all of which can help different businesses in different sectors. Depending on the type of business they serve, POS software products can be categorized into the following types.
This type of software is specially designed to handle retail transactions, which mostly occur at in-store or remote locations. These products typically feature a simple and straightforward checkout process to help reduce customer wait times and offer a payment device and interface.
Other key functionalities include inventory tracking, returns processing and sales reporting. Most products also have the ability to collect and store customer data, process coupons and discounts and accept split payments. More advanced retail POS solutions help implement an automated purchasing system, so you can quickly order the items you need when stock is low.
This type of POS software comes with a different set of features to suit the specific needs of hotels, restaurants or other hospitality businesses. This type of specific software allows hospitality businesses to process payment, manage open tables and tabs and ensure that orders and payments are taken accurately.
Most products automate the process of the ordering process, which helps avoid manual errors during order passing and improves turnaround time. Other important features include the ability to automate table bookings and reservations, manage seating arrangements, track inventory and generate sales reports by date, time and products consumed.
While mobile POS solutions serve companies across industries, they are more useful for businesses that often conduct sales at remote locations. For instance, some companies sell their products or services at trade shows and business events. Mobile POS software allows them to process payments from their mobile device or tablet. They can also track inventory and view sales data from the remote location.
Salons, massage parlors, spas, fitness centers and similar businesses often use POS solutions that can help them manage appointments, process payments and manage employee workflows. Designed specifically for buyers like these, health and fitness POS software often includes basic calendaring and appointment scheduling features, in addition to the regular POS features such as payment processing and inventory tracking.
Businesses that use point of sale software have the convenience of automatically recording all purchases and transactions. The software can integrate with other solutions to help automate and analyze the sales, inventory and reporting of these figures.
An ideal point of sale solution also performs other functions that help streamline retail management and other similarly important business aspects. These features include inventory management, customer management, discount management, barcode scanner, sales tracking and payment processing. Analytics and sales reports are also integral POS software features.
Before choosing the right point of sale software, there are many things you need to consider. There are quite a lot of options in the market, so it is better to first study the options and learn everything you can about the software you’re planning to purchase.
The first thing you should do is assess what your business needs.
If you have a small business, mobile POS software or cloud-hosted point of sale software is the ideal option for you. Both are affordable and come with a variety of features.
For a retail business, a retail-focused cloud-hosted option should be the better option. It’s simple to use and mobile, so reports and other data can be accessed anywhere as the system is hosted in the cloud and there’s minimal setup and maintenance to consider.
The software solution you choose should be simple, easy-to-use and feature a friendly interface for users. A user-friendly point of sale software will add more convenience and make it easier to process operations.
The software should also be easy to set up and maintain.
POS software vendors usually offer different pricing packages to their clients, so it is important to choose the right one for your business. The software should include all of the features that you need without being too expensive or including advanced features that won’t be utilized effectively.
There are vendors that offer comprehensive all-in-one POS software while others provide businesses with numerous options for kits or pre-configured packages.
The software you choose should be scalable and be able to grow in line with your business's growth. The solution should be able to handle increases in sales, number of transactions and use cases easily and upgrades to subscriptions should be available to include more advanced features.
If you can easily upgrade and add more features in the future, then the POS software is a good and practical choice. Your software should be able to adapt to changes in its surroundings and in technology. POS software that can last for years is durable, which means you do not have to constantly change systems and waste money.
Go for point of sale software that has many features, even the most unique ones. Apart from the basic features—inventory management, customer management, analytics and reporting, discount management and barcode scanning—other functionalities you need to look for include employee scheduling and management, returns and refunds, payroll, general ledger, purchase order generator and integrations.
Integration is important because it stretches the functionality of the software. As such, it becomes compatible with other apps and tools. For example, if you have a retail shop on Shopify, you can easily rely on Shopify POS for your point of sale needs.
If you’re operating in a specific industry, you should ensure that the solution you choose includes the specific features that you need to successfully perform daily operations.
For example, a quick-service restaurant may need POS software capable of handling drive-through orders, while table-service restaurants may need a product capable of creating custom menus, handling open checks, managing table reservations and tracking inventory.
Large companies need a fully-featured software suite that does more than just handling retail transactions. For instance, a multi-location retailer may look for a product that allows them to view sales reports for each store, create a single purchase order for all locations and track item transfers between stores.
Some products even allow managers to set a custom price for products. That means you can sell the same product at different prices in different locations.
Businesses of all types and sizes can benefit from using point of sale software. Each business can benefit differently as there are many industry-specific use cases for POS software. Overall, the main benefits include:
Using a central database, POS software can integrate with existing software and applications that a business already has. Businesses can do accounting tasks and inventory tracking while also analyzing customers’ purchasing behavior as well as much more. These integrations help simplify the entire POS process and automate workflows throughout the business.
A business using POS software effectively can expect to see increases in productivity and profit. This is because of your employees—specifically, the cashiers and in-store personnel—improved efficiency. Using the software allows them to work and produce better results because manual errors are no longer a problem.
Additionally, general accuracy is also improved because the software presents a seamless way of fulfilling a multitude of tasks without having to access and use different systems and apps. Managing a high volume of clients, payments and products is also significantly easier.
Having more payment options and capabilities is important as it's more convenient for both the business and customers. Nowadays, more and more people are switching to using mobile wallets and credit cards for payments. There are now options like Android Pay and Apple Pay. These are all offered by point of sale software.
Point of sale software helps businesses handle and manage their checkout and payment operations.
This type of software helps businesses process payments, issue receipts and keep sales records.
|2-Factor Authentication||Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|BitCoin||BitCoin support - a digital currency operating independently of a central bank.|
|Budgeting||Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Forecasting||Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Multi-Currency||Support of different currencies for payments, accounting purposes, taxes, reports and more.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Payment Processor||Integration with external payment processors like PayPal, Master or Visa, generally for credit cards and similar methods.|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
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