What is an EPOS system?
What is an EPOS system? You might not be familiar with the term, but you’ve more than likely seen an EPOS system while you’ve been out and about. In fact, most retailers now use them for managing and controlling their business activities.
An EPOS (electronic point of sale) system is the collective term used to describe all of the hardware and software used by retailers to manage their stock, transactions, CRM (customer relationship management), and reporting within a single system.
Essentially, it’s a modern day till system that includes back-office capabilities for monitoring, implementing, and reporting.
Due to their popularity with retailers, EPOS systems are now surprisingly affordable and there are useful options available to even the smallest retailer.
We break down the key information, features, and benefits of EPOS systems to help you decide if EPOS is right for your business.
What does an EPOS system comprise of?
An EPOS system consists of hardware components with a dedicated point of sale software. The specific components of each can vary from retailer to retailer, but a basic system will include the following:
Front of house – till/terminal(s)
For staff product input, this is the touchscreen version of the old-school cash register with buttons. Mainly used to create transactions for purchases, check stock and prices, look up previous transactions or input customer information.
Secures and separates cash, operated via the terminal (a smart cash drawer will even count the cash!)
Scans items, adds to the transaction list and updates inventory
Provides printed transaction receipts (emailed receipts are also possible)
Credit card terminal
To accept credit and debit card payments
Regular PC set up with dedicated software to access the non customer-facing functions such as inventory control and reporting
Used to quickly add items to stock from deliveries or check prices
For printing reports, staff rotas, promotional material etc.
Dedicated front of house software allowing access to stock file and inventory for customer-facing transaction input
The business management side of the EPOS system. Collects transaction and sales ledger data from the till/terminal software. Used for stock control, deliveries & purchase orders, reporting and analysis.
One of the greatest benefits of EPOS is its flexibility to be tailored to the individual business. The basics listed above are used by most business, but even these can be subject to change if required.
For example, all-in-one till & back-office units can eliminate the requirement for a PC set up, or the terminals can be replaced with a portable tablet rather than a fixed monitor.
Items can be removed if not required, for example, a cashless setup could be used without a cash drawer. Conversely, some EPOS systems will integrate with other items and third-party systems, allowing for the addition of other options and features that an individual retailer may find beneficial, detailed below.
Integrations and Add On’s
There are already many options available to the retailer to add equipment or features, depending on their type of business and what they require, and new options and solutions are being developed all the time. Ideas of some useful add-ons may include:
- Handheld terminal
- Weighing scales
- Label printers
- Fuel management
- Head office server
- Self-service terminals
- Automated vending
Popular software integrations include:
- Credit cards
- Bill pay
- Tops ups
- Cash management
- Mobile apps
- Electronic shelf edge labelling
EPOS systems are an effective management tool, and they offer many benefits to the retailer.
- Provides tools to simplify the day to day running of a business
- Customisable to the individual business’s requirements
- Manage your business any time and from any place
- Centralises stock control
- Reduces human errors
- Supports efficient cashier operation
- Provides effective reporting
- Allows for analysis and planning
- Increases transaction speeds
- Allows greater flexibility
- Offers customer management capabilities
- Efficient payment processing and cash management
- Provides tools for staff management
Do your research
If you decide that an EPOS will be beneficial to your business, do your research.
There are many EPOS suppliers, and not all will provide the same standard of equipment, functionality, or level of aftercare service.
Make a list of your requirements and make sure each of these will be met before making a purchase. Chat with an expert consultant, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!
Features to look out for
Easy to learn and use
View the EPOS software, make sure it will be easy to use and that training is available.
Records and reconciles all takings.
Integrated payment processing
Allows you to accept credit card payments directly within the EPOS software for speed and accuracy.
Supports third-party integrations and add-ons
Ensure that any extra your business requires will be compatible with the software
Omnichannel compatible (web shop)
Your EPOS system should be capable of supporting an online store should you ever require one, managing transactions and inventory. Even if you don’t need a webshop now, you might in the future as many retailers are now choosing this route.
A database of your customers and their transaction histories, supporting analysis, and effective promotions
Your system should support all areas of inventory management, including stock ordering, inventory tracking, monitoring stock levels, categorisation, and reporting for stock takes.
Supports individual logins, staff rostering, and performance monitoring
Allows scheduled reports plus transaction analysis. Ensure your system can run useful management reports for analysis, planning and implementation.
Aftercare support service
There should be a technical support service in case of queries, issues, or emergencies.
Head office option
Supports multiples sites controlled centrally, should your business require this now or in the future
Good EPOS software should be adaptable and undergo constant improvement to ensure functionality and an evolving fit for your growing business.
Who are we?
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!