How To Use A POS System
Whether you are new to POS systems in general, or are updating your current system, getting comfortable with the technology can take a bit of time.
We are here to ease the transition.
Our informative guide provides step-by-step details about how to use a POS system, the various types of POS solutions, and the features that can make running your business less stressful.
Continue reading as we help you familiarize yourself with POS systems.
A Guide To Using POS Systems
What Are POS Systems?
POS system stands for point-of-sale system. A POS system is a combination of POS hardware and POS software that you can use to process payments from customers when they buy a product or service.
Not only do modern POS systems record sales data and transaction information, but they also offer inventory management features to track your stock levels, let you gather customer data for marketing purposes, and have employee management options, amongst a plethora of other incredibly useful functions.
Do All Businesses Need A POS System?
It really depends on your business type. At their most basic, POS systems allow you to process payments and view sales reports so you will commonly find POS systems being used in retail stores.
If you have a bar or restaurant business, there is specific POS software and POS hardware that can facilitate the smooth running of an eatery. Restaurant POS systems can have loads of specialized features such as table management and menu management options as well as kitchen display systems and self-service kiosks.
POS systems are used by almost all small businesses and online stores as well as spas, salons, and hotels where the POS system can be used to record bookings, send automated appointment reminders, and so on.
How To Operate A POS System
There are several POS systems available out there, depending on your business type, but many POS systems work in similar ways in terms of basic functions. Next, let's take a look at how to use a pos system for completing common tasks.
How To Start A POS Transaction
Ringing a sale is the very first step of any POS transaction and a basic function of all POS systems.
For businesses with a large product inventory, using a barcode scanner attached to the POS terminal will allow sales to be processed much more efficiently.
Small business owners or those with a streamlined range of products could consider having a touchscreen monitor featuring product images so staff members can simply press the relevant item to ring it in.
You could also add shortcut keys to your POS terminal for popular items to make ringing in the sales quicker. Of course, barcode scanners are also an option should you wish.
If you have a mobile device you can use it to ring in sales away from the cash drawer. A restaurant POS system may feature this POS hardware option along with a payment processor and credit card reader, so customers can pay at the table.
Update Your Customer Database
It is possible to skip this part, but if you are able to use your point-of-sale system to connect your sale to the customer, you will reap the rewards when it comes to your sales data, reports, and marketing strategies.
Use your customer relationship management POS software and you can build customer loyalty programs offering various benefits such as discounts, and even digital receipts so you don't have to worry about having a receipt printer in your retail store.
Remember to apply any rewards and discounts to customers currently signed up for your loyalty program before processing the payment.
How To Process Payments
Once you have manually entered the sale or used a barcode scanner to ring it in, and completed any customer management updates, then it is time to take the payment.
There are several ways in which POS systems can take payments. Most POS systems take cash payments, debit, or credit card payments but there are several other payment methods to be aware of.
The money is handed over or taken to the cash register and the amount is entered into the POS terminal. The POS software calculates the amount of change and the member of staff puts the cash and takes any change out of the cash drawer.
Debit or credit card payments
The customer's debit or credit card is swiped or inserted into the card reader and payment processor POS software enables the sales channels with the bank or credit card company. Contactless payments accepted by tapping credit and debit card chips are handled in the same way.
Mobile and digital wallets
If you have this POS software, customers can pay using their mobile device using features such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Their actual credit card does not have to be present. They can pay using their cell phones.
Loyalty program rewards
Some loyalty programs allow customers to pay with points. If you are signed up with a loyalty program, check if a customer would like to use their points as payment.
Gift card Payments
If you want to sell gift cards, make sure you have the POS system software integrations to allow for these types of sales and payments.
Delayed payment options
There are various options such as 'buy now, pay later' and layaway services that allow an item to be put to one side for a customer to pay for later, more popular if you have a retail POS system.
Issue A Receipt
Once the payment has been processed by the POS system, the customer should be issued a receipt.
If you have a receipt printer you can offer a paper receipt. Alternatively, with up-to-date customer contact details, you can issue a digital receipt that gets sent directly to the customer's email.
This not only do digital receipts save paper, but can reduce your spending on POS hardware as you won't need receipt printers.
Popular POS Systems Features
Now we have covered the basic functions of point-of-sale, POS systems, let's explore how to use some of the popular features to make that POS system work its magic for your business.
Whether you are running a large or small business, inventory management features of a point-of-sale system are incredibly useful and are found in the majority of POS systems these days.
The fine detail is likely to vary between point-of-sale systems, but the most basic inventory management system should let you create a product catalog.
This can contain information such as quantities and product descriptions. The product details can be entered manually or imported, which your POS provider can assist you with.
Other functions of inventory management systems include multi-store and multi-channel features, so if you have more than one retail store or offer online and in-person sales, you can keep track of your inventory.
You can also set low stock alerts on your POS system, so you know when to re-order products. This is often a feature of a restaurant POS system, ideal as you don't want to suddenly run out of a particular ingredient mid-service.
An employee management system lets you keep track of shifts and hours worked. This is a particularly helpful feature for larger businesses with lots of employees, and a usual feature of retail POS systems.
Staff can clock in and out using the POS system. It can also keep track of their sales performance and be used to set sales targets.
The employee management feature can also be used for payroll purposes with accounting software, and for tracking leave.
An extremely useful feature of POS systems is that they allow you to create reports. POS reports can be set to generate automatically and offer a huge amount of information and insights into your business.
POS reports are usually found in the management section of the system but some POS reports such as cashier sales reports can be seen from the POS terminal.
POS reports offer you information such as a summary of sales over a specified time period, inventory levels, product performance, sales for each product or customer group, and so on.
Your POS provider should be able to assist you with accessing and creating the most relevant POS reports for your business.
POS Integrations & Add Ons
To really make the most of your POS system, consider add-ons which will tailor it to your needs. There are loads of third-party integrations that can communicate with POS software so you don't need an extra POS terminal to use them.
Popular third-party integrations include those for processing online orders, deliveries, and accounting software.
Such integrations are generally well thought through with excellent design. They are a great option for small business owners, as you can choose the features you want, and only pay for the features that you are actually going to use.
Point-of-sale, POS systems are incredibly versatile pieces of technology that can provide you with valuable insights into your business.
I hope our step-by-step guide about how to use a POS system has been helpful. Making sure you understand how your POS system works will ensure that you get the most out of it.
Remember that your provider can offer technical support as well as staff POS system training, video tutorials, and more, particularly useful if you decide to build your own POS system.