An EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) system is a modern take on the customer till in a shop, restaurant, cafe, or other retail business. If you’re running a business and use a till to calculate and take customer payments, then upgrading to an EPOS system could help you improve your customer experience as well as your insight into finances and stock control.
In this article, I’ve written a guide to help you decide if upgrading to an EPOS system is worthwhile and how to go about deciding on the right features that would benefit your small business.
What is EPOS ?
EPOS means Electronic Point of Sale. You might also hear the term POS (Point of Sale) used to refer to the same kind of system.
An EPOS system is a type of modernised till that streamlines the way your business operates, not only when it comes to taking payments, but also in the realm of inventory management and data collection.
How does an EPOS system work?
If you don’t have a lot of background in technology, figuring out how an EPOS system works can seem daunting, but it’s actually fairly simple. An EPOS system is essentially a till that connects to a computer. It combines the features you’ll find in a till (such as calculating total bill and processing payments) with more complex operations around stock control to help you manage your product inventory.
Using an EPOS system is very similar to using a regular tills but also through a touch screen gives you access to accounting features and operational processes such as linking to your accounting software, running VAT reports and managing stock.
What are the benefits of EPOS?
If you’re currently using an older till system to run your business and don’t know whether switching to an EPOS system is the best decision for you, here are some of the benefits you can expect for your business if you start using an EPOS systems:
Improved efficiency when dealing with customers
One of the main reasons business owners choose to move over to an EPOS system is simply that it speeds up most areas of running a business.
Not only is the setup quick and easy, but once your EPOS system is up and running, you can make sales at a much faster pace.
This, in turn, means that you don’t need so many employees working on the same task, and your customers will be able to enjoy a more efficient experience.
Almost every consumer expects to be able to pay either by card or using contactless payments such as a contactless debit card or a smart phone and Apple Pay.
Many traditional till systems don’t allow for contactless payments, which means that all payments have to be made in cash or using a chip and pin. You could connect a contactless add-on system such as Square and these have now evolved to become EPOS systems in their own right.
Understanding your sales and customers
The software built into EPOS systems is able to automatically synchronise the sales data from your till with your accounting software and even your inventory management system to make sure you always have stock to sell. This means that you can run reports to understand changing trends in which products are being sold at what time and give you fantastic business to help you grow your business.
For example, you can start to see if there are trends on particular products sold together or products sold at particular times of day or days of the week. This can help you create new special offer packages for your customers and order new stock in time for predicted busy periods.
An inventory management system is key to running a successful product business to make sure you always have stock to sell, but when you don’t have an automated system to do this for you, it can take up a lot of your time.
With your till, accounting and stock system all linked together you can check on best-selling products to make sure you never run out of stock and even set your system up to reorder items automatically. You can adjust pricing based on your available stock or you can run special offers to help move stock that is not selling well on particular days.
Integration with business systems
There’s no doubt that one of the most significant benefits of using an EPOS system is that it can be linked with other business systems and share data to give you a clear picture of how your business is working and how to help grow.
For example, integrating with the accounting software Xero or QuickBooks is one of the best ways to manage your accounting with EPOS, and you can also integrate with other payment providers for maximum efficiency and flexibility.
E-commerce integration is great benefit of EPOS – you can link your customer till to your e-commerce website and provide a way for visitors to your online shop to pay for goods. The advantage is that your business has a single, integrated view of all its customer payments and product sales from your online shop and your real bricks-and-mortar shop.
Improved mobile access
Alost every EPOS solution provides an app for your phone so you can continue to process customer purchases and payments when you’re not in your restaurant or shop – you might be at an exhibition or want to equip your team with a convenient way to make it easier for customers to pay.
An EPOS system is an Electronic Point of Sale system which speeds up payment processing and makes taking payments more flexible. By linking your EPOS system to your business software such as your accounting and inventory software, you can improve your understanding of your business and plan and improve the efficiency of everyday operations such as stock management.