How to Choose the Right Hardware for Your Point of Sale System

Whether you are a one-person band or at the helm of a multi-location chain, you can leverage technology in your business. Point of Sale systems level the playing field between David and Goliath by making technology more accessible — it was previously only an option for larger companies.

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There are many options available to you, but you must first identify what you need from your Point of Sale system. A Point of Sale system isn’t just somewhere to keep your money. It would help if you were clear on what you want your Point of Sale system to do and find hardware solutions that fit your needs.

A Point of Sale system can’t change your business, but it can certainly add to it. It’s important that you’re clear on what you want from your POS system and that you communicate those needs to the vendors when you’re buying — that way, you can be sure that you’re getting the right hardware for your business. The data that a Point of Sale system collects will give you increased visibility of your business, unlocking actionable insights.

A POS system can enable you to find what you’re selling the most when you’re selling it and who you’re selling it to — data that can be used to make fact-driven decisions to boost your business. The hardware you choose will impact what your Point of Sale system can and how you use it.

iPad-based Point of Sale systems

The system that you choose needs to be easy for employees to use. iPad-based Point of Sale systems are the go-to solution – Apple is so successful because their software is designed to be easily graspable and reliable.

One major benefit of an iPad-based Point of Sale system is that your staff will need virtually no training: they’re already conversant with the iPad interface. This is a marked contrast to old proprietary systems, for which your staff are likely to need training even if they’ve used a similar system before.

They’re also far easier to service. If your touchscreen till breaks down, then you will have to pay for a repairer to come out and service it — or even replace the whole system. By contrast, if the iPad that you’re using as a Point of Sale stops working, you can download your Point of Sale app to another iPad and use that instead.

You can find iPads for sale in pretty much any town center or get one delivered to your door with just a few clicks. If cash flow is an issue, then many second-hand models are available significantly less than what they cost new.

iPads are easily portable — or, if security is a concern, you can opt for a secure iPad stand that screws into your countertop, making it as close to theft-proof as possible.

Receipt printers

Your business’s premises dictate the type of Point of Sale hardware you go for — and receipt printers, which connect to your iPad in various ways, are no exception. Receipt printers tend to connect to your iPad using either Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth, or USB, and each type of connection has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Wi-Fi printers are flexible, and you can connect several to a single iPad, but they’re harder to set up and rely on you having a stable Wi-Fi network. USB printers, by contrast, connect directly to your iPad using a Lightning cable, so you’ll never lose connectivity. The drawback of this is that you can only connect one printer to your iPad.

You also need to consider the number of transactions that the hardware is likely to have to cope with. A Bluetooth printer is a great option for many businesses. Still, if you experience a high volume of transactions, your business could be better served by a LAN receipt printer for fast, long-distance, reliable communication.

Card readers

Taking advantage of the latest payments technology is a key reason to upgrade from a cash register to the Sale system. Payment processors tend to supply their own card terminals — normally on a lease — so the specific terminal you get will depend on the payment processor you choose. But all card terminals do the same thing, more or less: they allow you to take card payments.

After that, form tends to follow function — some are pretty much a PIN pad and a screen, powered by a rechargeable battery. Other card terminals have larger screens on which you can display your branding, and some others have inbuilt receipt printers for customer card receipts.

Pretty much every modern card terminal comes with NFC capabilities, meaning they can accept payment using contactless cards and phone-based payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether your card terminal is integrated with your Point of Sale system. If it is, you can send payment details directly from your iPad to your card reader — if not, you’ll have to type in each transaction manually. Integrated payments are a real help if you’re in a fast-paced environment with lots of transactions to process.

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