The Ultimate Guide to POS Systems
Point of sale payments

Written by

Kat Elliott

What is a POS system? If you’re a business owner, then chances are you’ve probably already heard of it. More than just a fancy cash register or credit card terminal, POS systems have several advantages that make it easier to run your business, close more sales, and gain more customers.

Our ultimate guide to POS systems will provide you with more insight into the capabilities and features of POS systems, and guide you through the process of choosing the right fit for your business to maximize your potential.

What is POS?

The point of sale (POS) refers to the transaction that takes place between a customer and a business. Therefore, a point of sale system refers to the software and hardware used to make that transaction.

Most POS systems have capabilities beyond just accepting payments. There are innovative features that help you with your business’s administrative tasks and everyday operations, providing insight into your business’s overall performance. The advanced technology behind POS systems can assist you in every aspect of your business.


What can a POS system do?

Every POS system out there comes with these basic features:

  • Secure payments – Most POS systems are PCI-compliant, meaning they take all the security precautions necessary to ensure a safe transaction occurs, whether the customer is paying with a swipe, chip, or contactless card. Customers can also pay with mobile wallets or cash and check.
  • Cloud accessibility – Sales and transaction data, inventory levels, and employee shifts are all stored on the cloud, meaning you can check your business’s performance in your store, at home, or on the go!
  • Business performance analysis – Reporting tools allow you to view sales performance, employee performance, and inventory, and determine if there are improvements that need to be made. You can also check deposits, batches, and monthly statements.

The more technologically-advanced POS systems have even more options, such as:

  • Software integration – Most POS systems are customizable to a degree, allowing you to integrate with other software or APIs.
  • Customer engagement – Use loyalty and rewards programs to attract new customers and encourage regulars to keep coming back. Create customer profiles based on their buying behaviors and save it in a customer database with contact information so you can provide personalized customer experiences.
  • Employee management – Check on your employees’ performance by looking at how many sales they’ve closed. You can also set access permissions for each employee, and create and modify their schedules.
  • Inventory tracking – See which items are selling out quickly and which ones are not, then set reminders for when you need to order more.
  • Marketing – Storage of customer contact information allows email marketing or telemarketing. With sales records and inventory tracking, you can see what items or services are most popular, and market those to your customers.


Choosing point of sale

Advantages of POS systems

With so many features, it’s no surprise that POS systems offer plenty of advantages for your business, including:

  • Organizing your business – Manage multiple aspects of your business in one place and streamline operations.
  • Modernizing your business – Multiple features and fast processing that a POS system offers allows you to remain competitive with other businesses.
  • Expanding your customer base – Customers are more drawn to advanced technology that offers them convenience and speed in the way they pay.


Types of POS

There are hundreds of POS developers and several different kinds of POS systems. We’ve provided a breakdown on general categories below:


These POS systems come with built-in features specific to the needs of an industry, with little room for customization. For example, a restaurant POS may have built-in KDS integration, whereas a hospitality POS may have PMS integration. An employee is typically required to operate the POS system.


This type of POS system is built with no industry in mind and is compatible with any and all businesses. Features are customizable through downloadable apps or software or API integrations, allowing more room to grow and scale with the business. An employee is typically required to operate the POS system.


A newer type of POS system, self-service is becoming more popular in the retail, restaurant, and even hospitality industries. Customers are able to check themselves out without the assistance of an employee, reducing a business’s labor costs and decreasing customer wait times. Most self-service POS systems, like Aivah POS, are customizable to the needs of the business.


Choosing a POS system

There are so many different kinds of POS systems and hundreds of developers, how do you choose the right POS system for your business? Our guidelines below will help you to narrow down your search and find the POS system that’s perfect for you.

Step #1: Identify your business’s needs

Think about all the steps that go into getting a customer to make a purchase at your business. Then list the features, capabilities, and functions that are necessary to complete the sale or operate your business.

Step #2: Establish a budget

POS systems vary widely in price, so it’s best to decide on how much you’re willing to spend early on. Also bear in mind that, with your new equipment, you will most likely be paying processing fees to the developer’s processor in order to accept card payments.

Step #3: Decide on hardware

Consider the kind of hardware you need in order to accept payments, is it a mobile reader or countertop solution? Also, look into whether you should buy the hardware that was created specifically for the POS software, or if you can download onto a device you already own, and the number of units you will need for your business.

Step #4: Compare POS systems

Before you commit to a POS system, it’s best to compare the capabilities and features with others that are similar. In regards to the actual software, take into consideration things like the user experience and if it’s easy to earn and operate. You should also consider the developer and what kind of customer and technical support they provide to their clients.

Step #5: Get a demo

With a demo, you can see for yourself how the POS system works with all its features. Then you can evaluate the capabilities and functions and determine if that will fit with your business’s needs.


Key takeaways

Getting a POS system for your business is an investment of both your time and money, but the benefits outweigh the costs. Advanced features make it easier for you to run your business, close more sales, and gain more customers. With a POS system, you can maximize your business’s potential and attain success.

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