POS HARDWARE GUIDE
POS HARDWARE GUIDE. If you’re new to electronic point of sale, it can all seem like a bit of a minefield. What is an EPOS system? What POS equipment do I need for my shop? Can I start with a basic kit and then add more hardware later?
Choosing the right equipment may seem a bit daunting initially, but we’ll help you wade through the possibilities to get you started.
Find out all you need to know about EPOS equipment – the essentials, the add on’s, and what you might need to consider for the future.
EPOS hardware and software go hand in hand, one isn’t much use without the other! It’s always a good idea to select your hardware and software together, ideally from one provider, to make sure they are fully compatible.
However, today we’ll be focusing solely on the kit that you need to get started – the physical hardware – and introducing some of the additional available options.
Ultimately, the hardware that you choose is largely going to depend on the size of your business and your operational requirements.
EPOS system hardware is flexible, and you can choose to buy only the items that your business actually needs.
This also means that POS systems can be adapted to grow your business. If in time you need more powerful hardware or additional items, the system software can be added to this new equipment and you’re good to go.
Your essential EPOS hardware
With this in mind, your most basic EPOS system hardware is going to consist of:
- Touchscreen terminal: The heart of your EPOS system, use this to input, recall, and process transaction data. You might choose to have standard peripherals, such as a keyboard and mouse with this also, depending on how you will use it.
- Cash drawer: Secure storage for your cash and transaction receipts.
- Receipt printer: A small desktop printer that prints transaction records for you and your customer.
- Scanner: Although not strictly essential, a barcode scanner is commonly used, for speed and accuracy. They come in a variety of forms and can quickly identify products, recall data, and transfer to the touchscreen terminal.
- Payment terminal: Allows your customers to pay by card for speed and convenience.
Using EPOS software and usually a wired connection, these 5 items will make up a basic point of sale system.
In addition to the basic EPOS hardware, there are lots of options for additional equipment that you may find useful, depending on your type of business operation. Some of the most popular items include:
Customer display: A customer-facing display that provides transaction information to your customers.
Space poles and stands: To place items such as displays, swipes, or card machines exactly where you need them
Tablet: For use on the shop floor, a touchscreen tablet (e.g. Apple or Android) can be used as a mini, more portable version of your touchscreen terminal.
Label printer: Prints stickers for use around your store, e.g. discount labels or food information.
Kitchen printer: An ink ribbon printer for use in warm or humid environments.
Handheld terminal: A wireless device that can be used for scanning barcodes, changing prices, and stock management, these can be specialist units or generic handhelds that use an Android platform.
Signature pad: Captures electronic signatures, useful for signing for goods and services
Self-service checkouts: Touchscreen technology that allows customers to scan items and complete their own transactions.
Digital displays: Digital signage for information, advertising, promotion, or pricing.
Laserjet printer: For general printing purposes, e.g. reports, rosters, temporary signage.
You’ll need to consider how you will manage your back-office functions for the day-to-day management of your business. This might include stock management, reporting and analytics, or carrying out accounting tasks.
If you are short on space or have a very small business, it is possible to incorporate all these functions into your touchscreen terminal, using an all-in-one EPOS system.
More commonly, businesses will add a separate PC or laptop that is connected to their touchscreen terminal using EPOS software for their ‘behind the scenes operations.
This allows the manager to work on operational tasks without disrupting their staff and customers.
Large operations that have more than one branch will require a server to connect each business and better manage their data. This can be either a physical or cloud-based server.
Backing up your stored data shouldn’t be overlooked either, as it’s a lot of work to recover should something go wrong. It’s possible to back up all of your data entirely in the cloud now, or you might choose a handy plug-in back-up drive to keep your information safe.
Before you make a final decision on the EPOS equipment your business requires, consider where you might take your business in the future. Although it’s difficult to guess what the future may hold, considering the possibilities could save you time and money down the road.
Maybe you’ll want to expand your business, and add online services or delivery options. You might add new product lines, or even incorporate an entirely different business venture into your current operation.
Whatever opportunities may come your way, make sure that your chosen EPOS system is capable of growing with your business.
There are plenty of third-party services already available that you may wish to make use of, and the list is growing daily. It’s important to be sure your system can work with them now, and in the future.
Ideally, you’ll to be able to add on new equipment and services without needing to replace your entire system!
Some examples of integrated equipment you might wish to add on:
- Vending machines
- Weighing scales
- Security cameras
- Smart equipment, such as smart cash drawers
- Fuel pumps
- Car wash
- Robot dispensing
Who are we?
Retail Solutions is a market-leading EPOS provider with over 25 years of business experience. Our leading sectors are convenience stores, supermarkets, forecourts, and pharmacies.
We are dedicated to providing your store with the most up-to-date and reliable point of sale hardware, along with software management tools to help you manage your business effectively.
To find out more about what we do, get in touch to chat with one of our knowledgeable consultants:
About the author:
Susan McGuire has been with Retail Solutions for over 6 years, and during that time has had roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!