Below you will find everything you need to know about point of sale software: what is it, what does it do, what features it has, and much more.
If you are looking to purchase point of sale software for your retail store or restaurant, AppIntent can help you find the best software to meet your needs.
A "point of sale" is the location where a transaction between a buyer and seller takes place. As such, point of sale software (or POS software) is any software that helps facilitate a transaction between a buyer and seller.
Point of sale software functionality ranges from helping with accepting payments, applying discounts, and providing receipts of the transaction (on the buying side), to inventory management, accounting, and sales reporting (on the selling side).
Point of sales software typically costs between $50 and $100 per month, however retailers and restaurants can often gain access to POS software for free by using a POS software company’s own payment processor.
The reason for this is that by using the POS software company’s payment system, the company earns up to 3% per transaction, which usually results in more money than the aforementioned monthly fee.
The upfront cost of a pos system is typically between $750 and $1000. This includes the cost of the computer or tablet that runs the point of sale software ($500), as well as common peripherals like a cash drawer ($100), receipt printer ($100), barcode scanner for retail ($200), thermal printers for restaurants ($100), and optional customer display ($100).
These costs can be higher if more expensive peripherals (like an iPad for POS) are used, and cheaper if they are included with the subscription to a monthly point of sale software.
An electronic point of sale system or EPOS, is just another term for point of sale software, though it typically refers to a cloud based point of sale system.
Point of sale software is used for checking out a customer when they are purchasing a good or service from a merchant. The software takes cost inputs (how much an item costs), applies any applicable taxes or fees, calculates the total purchase price, inputs payment collected (cash, debit, credit, etc.), and then issues a receipt for the purchase.
More modern point of sale software can track and store customer purchases, apply discounts, calculate inventory levels, process payments directly in the system, and even do some common accounting for the merchant.
The point of sale (POS) is the location where a buyer pays for goods or services they are acquiring from a seller and typically receives a proof of purchase (or receipt). This can be a physical location like the checkout counter at a retail store, or an online location like an online shopping cart and checkout.
The short answer, YES.
For retailers and restaurateurs, if you want to sell products or menu items of different prices, occasionally put items on sale, monitor inventory, accept non-cash payments, reward loyal customers, or simply wish to avoid potential issues with the tax-man, point of sale software (pos software) is a must.
The best way to explain the difference between a POS system and POS software is to think of the POS system as the entire computer and the POS software as the operating system. In this analogy, POS system means everything from display, cash register, payment system, receipt printer, barcode scanner, to any other peripherals and accessories, while the POS software is the operating system that allows all these devices to communicate with each other as well as other tools like the customer, accounting, and inventory databases.
When it comes to comparing retail pos software versus restaurant pos software, the main differences are in the common features used in day to day operations.
Restaurant point of sale software commonly offers the ability to: tip your server via credit or debit card, assign a bill to a table, split bills between customers, track reservations and seating capacity, or send orders to the kitchen or bar; none of which are common in the retail setting. Likewise, retail point of sale software typically allows for: setting sales prices on items, checking inventory at another location, or ordering out of stock items for customers who wish to return at a later date; none of which are common in a restaurant setting.
Generally speaking, NO.
Although there are examples where perhaps a cafe, or a bakery, or even a food truck might be able to make a retail pos work for them. Retail point of sale systems lack features that restaurants often consider a must (tipping functionality comes to mind) so using a retail pos in a restaurant setting is not recommended.
The answer is NO.
Again there may be an edge case where a retailer has made a restaurant point of sale software work for their store. However, stock or inventory management is non-existent, and even taxation is different so it’s not worth the hassle to use the wrong software.
A point of sale software works by storing the price of goods and services either through the products name, or through a barcode, then at purchase retrieving the price of the item or items, and applying any relevant taxes or discounts to give the final price to the customer.
Unlike a cash register where all items must be pre-programmed in advance, or price tags must be used, a POS software works by storing that data electronically to speed up the sales process.
To install a point of sale system, you must connect your display, payment processor, cash register, and optional barcode scanner, to the computer which has your point of sale software installed.
Depending on the type of point of sale system or software you are using, there will be specific installation instructions that come directly from the hardware or software manufacturer.
Since most POS system providers want to get you up, running, and transacting as quickly as possible, installation help is typically provided for free by most providers.
Using a POS system is relatively easy. The first time the system is being used you will need to add all prices of all items being sold into the system. For a restaurant this is typically done manually. For a retail store, you would typically import your sale price by importing an inventory list, or by scanning items with a barcode scanner and then inputting your sale price for each item. After the first use, you simply input or scan the item being sold, and all relevant discounts, taxes, and fees are applied. Next you take payment from the customer and issue a receipt as well as any change for a cash transaction.
Since every POS system works slightly differently, you should read the instructions that come with your purchase and/or utilize the support team of the POS system provider for provider specific instructions.
The two main types of point of sale systems are retail point of sale, and restaurant point of sale. However for some types of stores or restaurants a more custom solution may be required based on the needs of the business, like expiry dates for food items, weight scale for grocery, and delivery for restaurants.