What should we take into account when buying a POS?
What should we take into account when buying a POS?
In the past when starting up any small business, most only accept cash or cheques as a means of payment. However, nowadays, no matter how small a business (especially in the hospitality industry) has the opportunity to expand the method of payment by using a point of sale terminal. In this guide we will show you what to consider when buying a POS terminal Read on!
What is a POS?
POS stands for Point of Sale Terminal and is also the name given to a very small electronic device, but with great benefits.
This is a device that operates as a payment gateway for debit or credit cards, thanks to the fact that it has POS software installed and in some cases includes a barcode scanner or receipt printer.
Such a machine does the same as the cash registers of the past, only that its operation is based on the use of state-of-the-art technology.
Advantages of buying a POS
A point of sale terminal is an effective and necessary tool in any business because at the end of the day it not only reflects the amount of money earned; but it shows an analysis on the performance of your products as well as an overall tracking of transactions.
More and more customers are going cashless and prefer to pay with credit or debit cards, but many businesses have not yet reached this level of digitisation. For this reason, having a POS device gives us a clear advantage over the competition and increases the level of convenience for customers.
All this translates into more people preferring our products or services, which at the end of the day has a direct impact on revenue.
Cash registers are a magnet for criminals, but when payments are processed to a greater extent by a POS, the amount of cash is reduced and possible losses in case of theft are also minimised.
Personalised customer management
The POS software captures basic customer data, such as name and order history, allowing you to identify customer preferences and provide a more personalised service.
10 Criteria for buying a POS
1 Type of POS
The first step before buying a POS is to identify the right type of device, but this depends mainly on the type of business in which it will be used. For example, the amount of time it operates, the amount of tickets it can print and even if the touch screen can handle so many keystrokes during the day.
Also keep in mind that the cheapest option may not be the most convenient.
A good POS should be able to process transactions with different types of cards, whether credit or debit. In addition to this there are additional services and software that are very useful and worth considering as well. For example, buying a POS that is equipped with a cash register is perhaps the decisive criterion in our choice, as this allows its functionality to be expanded.
No electronic or digital device is exempt from failure or breakdown, which is why you should always opt for those whose manufacturer offers a reasonable warranty period. It is important to pay special attention to this point and not simply assume that it has one, because in fact, many POS terminals on the market do not have one or simply have one, but to a very limited extent.
Another problem with this aspect is that the manufacturers or distribution companies do not have support in English or in our local location, the waiting times to be attended, in case of claiming or processing the warranty are exaggeratedly long. So, you should evaluate the type of support they have and ask where you should take your device if you need to make a warranty claim.
Although buying a POS with a cash register is an excellent alternative for many businesses, mobile POS is also useful in many cases. For example, in the hospitality industry, customers feel more comfortable if they can pay their bill from the table where they are located; therefore, having a mobile POS system that can be moved there is essential to improve the customer experience.
Accordingly, it may be useful to choose a mobile POS terminal that can be integrated with the cash register, where the guest or customer can pay without leaving their table.
The mobility of this equipment is also important to keep it safe after each working day, as it can be locked away in a secure place.
5 Receipt printing
This is one of the most important features of a POS, as it is essential for customers to feel confident that they will receive a receipt that reflects the expenses charged to their card.
Many of these devices do not have an integrated printer in their hardware, so this aspect should be checked before making a purchase.
6 Ease of use
It should not be necessary for employees to have technical knowledge of technology, commerce or administration to be able to process payments for a business using a point-of-sale terminal.
It is a fundamental criterion that the system or software should be of medium complexity and that anyone can operate it without complications and without having to take an advanced training course to do so.
Many of these devices have an intuitive design, while others are more specialised. But there is no point in buying a complex POS system that only you can use, when you will not always be at the cash register or attending to the customer at the time of payment.
Although in retail shops, shops, warehouses and small restaurants there are fixed locations for customers to come to for payments, this is not always the case and it is imperative that the POS terminal has different types of connectivity. Therefore, WLAN connection may not always be sufficient and POS terminals need connectivity via Bluetooth, mobile data or WIFi connection.
The next step after determining which type of POS is right for your business or which features are best suited to your market is to research the vendor's track record.
What we need to investigate are details about their company, level of customer service, previous customer experience and the speed of response from technical support. Generally, when a provider does not have a good reputation in the market, you are likely to have a negative experience.
This happens in most cases, when buying devices that are too cheap, because in order to maintain a comfortable price, certain aspects are sacrificed that definitely put at stake the efficiency of our business.
9 Personnel management
Every business success depends mainly on the efficient performance of its employees and what many do not know is that POS can help in staff management.
Through these devices you can track the hours worked by each employee and you can determine the level of productivity they have during their performance; to achieve this at the end of the day or shift, it is preferable to choose a terminal that is capable of displaying an analysis of the amount of hours worked by the employee and the amount of revenue they generated in that period.
10 Offline payment
Thanks to this, customers can pay their invoices even if the internet connection is bad or goes down at a moment's notice.
In addition, offline payments offer other advantages, e.g. it saves a few cents on the monthly cost of the internet provider, the cyber security is higher because the process is not done in the cloud and in some cases POS systems are cheaper, among others.
Obviously, like almost everything in life, offline payment also has some shortcomings. One of them is the fact that software updates have to be done manually and in many cases a specialised technician is required; the installation at the cash register of the hardware is very complex and expensive, there are no automatic backups and the providers of this service charge high costs for integrating external functions.
How to choose a good POS provider?
There are many bait offers or offers that are too cheap on the market, but remember that who buys cheap can pay twice. Obviously not all cheap offers have to be bad, but before making any purchase it is important to read the small print, to avoid any mishaps.
It is possible that in the terms and conditions, the POS provider may include some clauses in your favour. An example of what to avoid with regard to POS providers is:
- Charging extra fees for software updates from time to time. These updates are necessary whether you want them or not, as it is the only way for the device to operate efficiently and to add new features that developers add to the system.
- High costs or excessive fees for credit card payments. Some providers charge very high fees for each credit card payment and these are usually based on a percentage established according to the amount to be paid.
- Although the most popular are POS terminals such as the Verifone H5000, this is actually considered obsolete equipment due to the fact that it is no longer up-to-date and many providers even offer refurbished or used POS terminals.
- Cancellation fees, i.e. you have to pay a set amount if you cancel your contract with the provider before the initially set time.
Is it better to rent or buy a POS?
The POS can not only be purchased, but a device such as a POS system can be rented directly from a supplier or from any company that provides this service. Both ways of obtaining it have advantages, but of course, they also have some drawbacks.
We cannot make a clear or objective recommendation, because the needs of each business are different; as the convenience in this aspect, is based on the type of market or industry in which it operates, type of use.
However, remember that by owning the POS terminal, you exclusively control all access to your business data, whereas with a rental POS, it is often third parties who are responsible for accessing this data, putting your financial security at stake.
Obtaining a rented POS can be a viable alternative when you need it for a short period of time due to its low investment; but when you need it to establish it in your business for an indefinite period of time, in the long term it is better to buy your own POS.
You can take a look at our website Bliscop if you are looking for a POS Software for your hospitality business!