Brick and mortar stores remain the customers’ top choice. The forecast predicts ecommerce sales will capture only 19.5% US retail sales worldwide in 2023. The rest of the sales are dominated by physical stores.

Yet, the in-store experience is changing. Three out of four US customers shop both offline and online, urging business owners to consider an offline-online hybrid mode.

This is why you need to keep extra focus on your retail POS system.

Your POS must be fast, contactless, and support your customers’ preferred payment methods. For example, retailers whose associates used mobile POSs enjoyed a 77% higher sales growth.

Although it takes time and effort to choose the best software development provider to meet your requirements, not taking the time to make a well-researched decision too-often results in even more time lost and money down the drain.

Find out how retail POS systems work, why you should audit yours, and what you should keep in mind for a successful evaluation.

1 What is Retail POS?

POS software is an essential tool retailers use to efficiently process and save sales transactions.

A modern POS system can do even more for you:

  • significantly decrease sales transaction time
  • allow a variety of payment methods
  • streamline business processes 
  • collect statistics on working hours
  • track orders and stock availability
  • transfer data automatically
  • draw insights into customer preferences
  • increase customer loyalty through improved services

What about system implementation? What is a retail POS: a standalone app or part of a software suite?

A POS can be both a standalone app (e.g., Vend) and a module within a large platform (e.g., Shopify POS).

You also have a choice: adapt an off-the-shelf solution or build a custom POS app that keeps pace with your growing business needs.

retail pos systems

A POS system requires both software and hardware.

POS hardware is assembled into a single set consisting of the following:

  • Terminal – processes transaction and customer data.
  • Register screen – displays purchase information. 
  • Barcode scanner – checks out product information in a database.
  • Customer-facing display – shows essential purchase information.
  • Cash drawer – stores banknotes in a special case.
  • Card reader – scans client information from their cards.
  • Receipt printer – provides a summary each purchase. Also, purchase information can be emailed or saved in an app. 

2 Types of POS Systems for Retail 

There are several types of retail POS software systems. Based on currently used technologies and hardware, you can choose among the following:

  • On-premise POS

Old-school software. Purchase a license and install software on your desktop.

But traditional POS systems lack mobility and updates are cumbersome. In today’s world, people prefer the convenience of mobility—they need something they can easily carry with them throughout their workday.

  • Cloud (SaaS) POS

A step up in POS evolution is a cloud (SaaS) POS. It decreases costs needed to set up and run a system. Software requirements are low. Expansion is simplified. Updates are seamless and invisible to end users. But a stable Internet connection is mandatory.

  • Mobile POS

Mobile POS systems are a specific subset of cloud POS. POS software for tablets prevails. Store owners and employees use wide tablet screens to register purchases and cameras serve as barcode scanners. They can integrate miniature peripheral devices like credit card readers and small wireless mobile receipt printers.

  • Self-service POS

Self-service POS. Customers use self-serving terminals or smartphones to scan a purchase, pay for it, and show the receipt at the exit. When needed, sales assistants help check stock availability, colors, shapes, and discounts to assist customers to make an informed decision.

  • Omnichannel POS

An omnichannel POS connects online and physical stores into one harmonized unit. Businesses use it to offer customers multiple ways to connect with them. This increases convenience and ensures the same level of services across all channels.

3 What Makes a Modern Point of Sale System so Important? 

You have been using your POS for several years. There is still life left in it. Why should you consider a switch?

You need a modern tech-enabled retail POS system to be more efficient. 40% of shoppers consider bottlenecks at checkout the top focus area for improved in-store experience.

How many customers see checkout bottlenecks, put their intended purchases down, and just walk away?

Many. Customers have little patience for businesses that fail to meet their expectations and waste their time.

Don’t lose customers!

Here are key points to regularly evaluate the POS you use:

  • Costs

Check alternatives regularly for improved cost value: more features, less expensive plans, or extended support. Consider a tailor-made solution as an option for your growing business.

  • Technical obsolescence

As a product owner, ensure you or your vendor keep tech modernization on your top priorities list. Ignore your software at your peril! When you ignore your software, it doesn’t take long for it to lose its security, stability, and compatibility. The result: you can neither upgrade your services nor efficiently manage your business operations.

  • Portability

Are you planning a short-term pop-up store or sales at an event? Time to free yourself from your desktop and cash register. Replace your old POS with a mobile solution. You can sell anywhere. Think of the freedom you have!

  • Limited features

A modern POS provides value-boosting features such as real-time inventory tracking, support of over-the-phone payments, or emailed receipts. You might not feel the lack of them, but your customers and employees do.

  • Point of Service

A POS system must simplify returning management as a part of the sales cycle. This ensures personnel can complete a return and be mentally up and running in a few steps. Otherwise, the scope of work increases, unlike customer satisfaction.

4 Core Features of a POS System

retail pos software
  • Transactions – Receives customer payments in different ways (cash, credit cards, mobile payments, etc.).
  • Barcode scanner – Decreases product identification time. 
  • Manual search – Finds a product when barcode scanning is unsuccessful.
  • Receipt printing/emailing – Supports connection to mobile printers or emails a receipt to the customer.
  • Reports – Generates reports based on date, employee, category, item, etc.
  • Open day / Close day – Works in sync with the “resident” cash register and helps verify transactions for bookkeeping.
  • Inventory oversight – Manages product availability of stock, predicts sales rates, and reorders items.
  • Reference information – Maintains product descriptions to help identify differences between similar items.
  • Integration – Synchronizes data with other business software to simplify workflow.
  • Synchronization and backup – Functions seamlessly without an Internet connection, eliminates information loss.
  • Employee management – Helps keep track of employees’ working time.

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4 Choosing the Right Retail POS System

Selecting the right solution can be daunting. You must consider several competing priorities to choose the best POS software.

what is a retail POS system
  • Costs of ownership

Cost of ownership is the primary decision factor for when investing in a new technology. Cost structure is often complex. It includes hardware, subscriptions, and transaction commissions.

  • Integrations

Integration tops the list of concerns. Why? Because if unchecked, it becomes a source of cost leaks. Check whether the retail POS system integrates well with existing software for inventory management and accounting to evade extra spending on making things work.

  • Single-platform strategy

It is wise to stick to one specific device and one solution. Businesses managing multiple apps or devices struggle with feature management, security, logins, integrations, and technical issues.

  • Training

Retail POS software boosts loyalty among tech-savvy visitors. Ensure your employees keep in lock step with their tech-savvy customers. Give them initial training to quickly know how to help.

Also, you must reevaluate and implement an enhanced in-store security policy (two-factor authentication, list of allowed apps, OS updates, and more). You must protect all sensitive information.

  • Custom vs. off-the-shelf

Businesses usually start with available market solutions. They try third-party POS services and adjust their business processes. But with growth, they eventually create their mobile apps based on their needs.

Think of the size of your business and your unique processes. The more employees you have and the more you must look after software security, integrity, and your secret strategies, the more you need a custom software solution.

5 How Can IT Craft Help Your Business?

IT Craft provides all-encompassing tech services and specialists—several developers or an entire IT department—to boost your tech capabilities:

  • Fine-tune and improve your system
  • Develop a POS module and integrate it into your ERP system
  • Build a custom POS app from scratch
  • Modernize, update, and expand your software
  • Scale and maintain software infrastructure
  • Add missing experts on both short- and long-term basis

Everything you need to stay flexible and competitive.

OrderPort

This custom-built, friendly POS system enables wine businesses to sell anywhere permitted just by using an iPad. The platform streamlines transactions, operations, and report management.

The IT Craft team took over an ongoing project. After an initial audit, the team decided to use the existing source code. Developers finalized it, launched the app, and focused on further expansion and integrations.

! Bottom Line

Over the long run, applying new technologies is cheaper than keeping your retail assistants stuck at the cash register.

Introducing new software can initially be overwhelming because it requires comprehensive study, work on integrations, and employee training.

But, of your two choices—being left behind or integrating new software—the latter seems to be the one and only winning strategy in our tech-savvy world.

FAQs

How to use a POS system for retail?

The following steps apply:

  1. Launch an app on your tablet or desktop.
  2. Register and activate your account.
  3. Add your products (manually or automatically).
  4. Add hardware (if necessary).
  5. Integrate with your other software (if applicable).
  6. Start selling!
What is the best POS for retail? 

Consider the following list when you are looking for an off-the-shelf POS:

  • Square
  • Vend
  • Shopify
  • Toast
  • SpotOn
Do retail stores use POS systems?

Yes, retail stores use POS systems. Based on a HospitalityTech survey, 71% of businesses plan to purchase new features for their point-of-sale retail system in 2023, while 43% want to use a mobile app,.

Interest continues to grow. According to Statista research, the total value of completed transactions is projected to reach $5.58t by 2027.

How do I choose a retail POS system?

Follow these steps: 

  • Make a list of requirements for your system: (payment methods, features, integrations, compatibility with devices and periphery)
  • Define your budget limits.
  • Shortlist POS software that fits in with your budget and requirements.
  • Run demo or free trial versions.
  • Write down your impressions.
  • Decide on the best fit.

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