The POS system today
Today we consider a Point of Sale (POS) system to be a set of equipment connected to a computer or network of computers used to facilitate, process and record a transaction, but this has not always been so. In the past, a system of hand written ledgers and a receipt was the most common method. In more recent times, with the advent of the industrial revolution, a new type of mechanical machine was used as the focal point of business transactions, the cash register. The cash register, with its informational input and output capability, along with its slide out cash drawer, was a modern forerunner of the computerized POS systems that we use today. It alleviated the need for a hand written receipt, replacing it with an ink or thermal print out, and the more elaborate ones also recorded the transaction into an internal record keeping system for later retrieval by the merchant for evaluation. While these systems were stand alone, bulky and mechanical in nature, they were a major advancement over processing and recording every transaction by hand.
The Future of PSO
Another reason that POS systems continued to evolve, and now play such an important role in today's world is the simple fact that many of the transactions that take place in the marketplace would simply be cumbersome or not viably possible without them. An almost ubiquitous transition from paper money and the IOU to institutionalized credit and plastic forms of payment in the b2b world, has made the point of sale system a must have for all businesses, even if they do a majority of their transactions in cash or directly with the consumer. One other aspect that makes POS systems an almost mandatory centerpiece in commerce today is the ability for these machines to make the complex calculations for business metrics and taxes. In previous times these would have become separate chores for the business owner to deal with in his own time, or outsource at a great expense. A point of sale system, with its current day computer core and abilities, can both manage not only the monetary transaction at hand, but can also supply the business with the data it needs in order to complete complex calculations to improve business function and customer service duties.
One thing that is different from cash registers and the systems of today is the speed and precision that transactions are processed, the nature of the equipment needed, and the fee structure that applies. With a mechanical register for cash transactions, and carbon copy recording of credit card sales, all of the bookkeeping and submission of credit information was the responsibility of the business owner, and thus the entrepreneur paid for these services with his own sweat and tears, as well as bearing the responsibilities for all credit risk due diligence. With a POS, most, if not all of the capabilities to evaluate credit risk, take payment, record the transaction, keep inventory, as well as ongoing business statistical analysis is one system. With the Internet now widespread, it is now possible for business owners to view and evaluate business health one transaction at a time, even if they are not physically at the location, or run a complete business with no location at all by simply selling on line and letting a virtual point of sale system do all of the work.
Far from the days of having a heavy machine on the counter top, or hand written bookkeeping, new technologies have made it possible to run a business and accept all payment, including credit and debit cards in a variety of ways. If you run a cash enterprise you can opt to have a POS installed alongside your cash register system with an infrared scanner standalone, or even opt to process your cards via your smart phone.
The main pieces of equipment that are needed for a point of sale system is the ability to read the cards (by swiping or manual entry of the numbers), merchant processing account software that ties the transaction to your financial institution, and a printer, so that a business can provide the customer with a receipt and to view account information whenever needed. The business owners needs will dictate the specific equipment needs, but can range from a network of computers to a simple phone attachment for card swiping and a business printer. Regardless of the need, installation and ownership of a point of sale system for business has never been easier or more cost effective.
Get FREE Point of Sale (POS) System Quotes for Comparison
As with any business purchase it is recommended that you get 3 to 5 quotes for comparison as pricing, features, and support can vary greatly. SupplierCompete is in a unique position to facilitate a FREE quoting process that will save you time and money. Complete the one simple form at the top of this page and we will match you to companies that best fit your needs. They will contact you directly to provide free quotations and provide the opportunity for you to ask them specific questions about your requirements.