Electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems are used in shops of all kinds, as well as restaurants and bars, and are an essential component in the day to day running of any retail outlet. Ranging from fairly simple electronic cash registers to state of the art systems that can connect nationwide retail chains, EPOS systems are an efficient and cost-effective way of handling transactions. By reading barcodes electronically and sending the pricing information to the till then reducing the stock count when the sale is made, they allow retailers and service providers to stay on top of stock lines and to keep the pricing accurate.
If your company handles face to face transactions for goods or services, then finding the right EPOS system is a must. Whether you need something fairly simple that can be bought off the shelf, or you require a bespoke system that is adapted to the specific needs of your business, it is important to know as much as you can about the kinds of products available. Having an EPOS system that meets your company’s requirements precisely is an important step in your business’ development, and will affect both your customers and your staff’s experience of your company.
Our guide is intended to give you the information you need so that you when you get quotes for EPOS systems, you will be equipped to make the right decision for your company. By getting more than one quote from trusted suppliers, you will be able to find exactly the right offering, and at the right price.
With the right EPOS system, you business will be able to:
With an EPOS system in place, there is no opportunity for staff to inadvertently under or over charge on items. Nor is it necessary for staff to memorise prices, so there is the absolute minimum chance of human error. All pricing updates can be entered online by an authorised staff member, which means that it isn’t up to inexperienced members of staff to make changes to the system when the prices change.
EPOS systems are able to update the stock count whenever an item is sold. This means that you can have accurate real-time data about which products are selling well. Not only is this vital information for ordering and keeping the shelves adequately stocked, but it also provides an overview of how product ranges are performing, giving you an invaluable insight into your customers’ preferences. By highlighting popular items and sales trends, the insight that an EPOS system can provide will help you to target specific product ranges for sales promotions and cut your’s company’s losses on products or services that are underperforming.
Another advantage to knowing exactly how much of each item is in stock at any one time without having to go through the shelves manually is that it reduces the risk of theft by staff members. If each item of stock is accounted for at all times, and staff members know this, they will be less likely to either take products for themselves, or give products away as freebies.
If you want to offer certain products at a particular discount or as part of a special offer, with an EPOS system you can enter this information as well as the dates the offer applies, and it will automatically alter the prices on the relevant product lines. This means that you can be flexible with pricing and respond to seasonal demands as and when they arise.
With an EPOS system, it is possible to see which employee handles each transaction. One positive outcome of this is that you will be able to see which members of staff are the most successful and motivated when it comes to achieving sales. With such vital data about who is performing the best, you can make an accurate assessment of reasonable sales targets and take steps to encourage other employees to improve their sales figures.
The speed and convenience with which an EPOS system can handle transactions and keep the stock count accurately updated means that your company can save a great deal of time and money. Not only is the risk of human error significantly reduced, but the efficiency that an EPOS system brings with it will enable your staff to process more sales and improve the level of customer service your company provides. Touchscreens, barcode scanners and the instant location of products are all time and money saving benefits that an EPOS system can provide.
An EPOS system is a digital system that allows customers to pay for products and services. Although they can vary greatly in terms of capabilities and sophistication, standard elements of a modern EPOS system include a barcode scanner, a cash till, a keyboard or a touchscreen monitor, a credit card swiper or chip and pin terminal, and a scale for weighing goods. Having a barcode scanner means that staff do not need to punch in each item’s price, thereby eliminating the risk of human error. Touchscreen monitors help to make the transaction process faster and more straightforward, and the ability to receive card payments, either with a swipe or a chip and pin terminal, means that customers’ experience of your retail operation is smooth and hassle-free.
EPOS systems also incorporate software packages that can either be bought ‘off the shelf’ or developed specifically to meet the needs of your company. The software will make sure that your stock lines are updated each time a sale is made, and can also connect with other branches belonging to the same company. This allows you to monitor sales in each branch, and also to adjust prices for different locations. This is especially useful for restaurant chains, where local ingredients may come at different price points according to location.
Also, each staff member can have their own log in, so it is clear who is making which sales, and when. As a result, it is possible to see who is performing well and meeting sales targets, and who needs more encouragement. It is also possible that only selected staff members can make changes to the system or authorise the sale of certain items (alcohol, for example) – giving you even more control of the sales process.
It is the flexibility of EPOS systems that makes them such a crucial component in any retailer’s operations and an integral part of the sales and stock taking processes.
The amount your company ends up spending on an EPOS system will depend largely on whether or not a customised system is required as opposed to an ‘off the shelf’ model, and how many scanners, monitors, tills, keyboards and other pieces of hardware need to be installed. Different providers will offer different kinds of packages, so it is always a good idea to get more than one quote before making a final decision. The first thing you must do is think carefully about what your company’s requirements are and whether or not you will need special functionalities as part of the software that are particular to your business.
Also, remember that the supplier you choose for your EPOS system will be providing your company with an essential aspect of its retail operation. Make sure there is a satisfactory maintenance agreement in place for making the final commitment.
If you only need something fairly simple and generic, it is possible to get an EPOS system for as little as £500. Obviously, costs will rise according to the complexity and size of the system you require. The good news is that the increased efficiency and sales performance that an EPOS system provides means that you will likely recoup any initial expenses in a reasonable timeframe.
Most suppliers of EPOS systems also have arrangements that allow companies to lease the equipment and software, rather than buy it outright. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to spend a large amount of money in one go, or take out a loan to cover it, plus renting contracts are likely to include a maintenance agreement, so it is easy to get problems fixed as and when they occur. The downside to renting an EPOS system is that your company can end up paying more in the long run, and the more specific and tailored to your company’s needs you need the system to be, the more it will cost to rent. A basic EPOS system with one point of sale, can cost as little as £150 a month.