POS Hardware: Then vs. Now

 In Retail, Retail Tips & Trends

A point of sale (or POS) system is a combination of software and hardware that acts as the central component of any business. According to Yamarie Grullon, manager of the content strategy at ShopKeep, an ideal POS system “allows merchants to take transactions and simplify key day-to-day business operations.”

Transactions used to be the only thing that a POS system could manage back in the day – but now, thanks to amazing technological advancements, POS systems can extend even further than that. Software now provides solutions to tricky jobs like inventory management, customer management and even e-commerce.

It is interesting to know how POS systems have changed from clunky hardware components to multitasking computing beasts – so let’s find out.

Traditional POS

The generic POS system used to run on on-premise software. These were traditional software models that you had to purchase before installing them on your computer system. Maintaining and updating the software, therefore, required skilled IT personnel.

A POS computer (or CPU)  was used to not only run the software but also to keep sales, transactions and reports. Money, credit card receipts and other miscellaneous paperwork were placed within the cash drawer. Keyboards were used as a primary interface to the POS system, while scanners were used to scan barcodes of items; reading the numbers and lines helped the system decipher what product is being bought. Card readers were used to making payments through credit or debit cards, while receipt printers printed a record of the transaction for the customer.

Despite being so commonly known, all these features are now growing obsolete – nobody wants to worry about extra expenses spent on repairing and maintenance of this clunky hardware. Besides, in a world where smartphones prevail, the concept of noisy cash registers and awkward keyboards is a thing of the past.

With an advanced world, comes an advanced POS System.

Modern POS

Modern POS systems take a leap away from traditional ones simply because of the cloud-based software they use – in this, you access and support your system via the internet. Systems like Oscar POS make sure your sales data stay secure and readily available both online and offline.

The bulky computers and registers have been replaced with sleek tablets. These have helped make POS functions go totally mobile – this not only looks good but also saves space and helps retailers give their customers an entire contemporary shopping experience.

But these new features pale when compared with how optimized POS software have become in terms of running an entire business.

Take Oscar POS for example – not only does it handle your sales and transactions, but it also has some great functionalities:

  • Inventory tracking: Oscar tracks your stock levels in real-time and notifies you firsthand when you have either too much or too little of a certain kind of stock. This happens in the form of alerts and updated reports. You can hence save your business from pilferage, dusty inventory, overstocking and understocking.
  • Sales reporting and analytics: This helps you give a true perspective of where your business stands in the competitive world. With the help of real-time statistics, you can analyse data and know which product is selling the best, and which needs more boosting strategies.
  • Customer management: Oscar’s system can store and maintain a customer’s interactions with your business in terms of purchasing. Now you can easily tell which of your customers are loyal, and which are on the verge of disappearing.
  • Employee management: Track your employees’ times, sales, responsibilities and reports with the help of Oscar’s software. Now you can have a sharper eye handling your workforce, while simultaneously managing your business from the back end.

But the main feature that has truly made this kind of POS trample over the traditional cash register is its simplicity and innovation. A tablet-based POS system like Oscar has a user-friendly interface and makes work functions like carrying out transactions, managing warehouses, and gaining customer feedback easy to do. Therefore it is no wonder why the business world is slowly leaving the old cash registers behind, and going for something better – the modern point of sale.

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