EPOS : Hardware and software components of an ePos system
There is so much more to an ePos system than the plain old whirring-and-ringing old cash register. Because payment methods have evolved, and in order to improve customer experience and operator comfort, new hardware has been added to the point of sale. And to make it fully electronic, software is now an absolutely necessary part of the deal, too.
The new ePos tills and their many accessories
Modern ePos cash registers or tills are composed of several pieces of equipment, depending on the needs of the business.
An electronic point of sale obviously relies on a final electronic interface to allow easy checkouts and accurate pricing, accepting modern means of payment. Because of their added benefits and features, ePos tills are no longer standalone bulky cash registers, with all accessories embedded, but rather a system in its own right, including or not including such items as a main display, customer display, barcode scanner, keyboard, cash drawer, etc., depending on the business needs.
While the list of these components is detailed a little further down in this article, it is important to note that a full, modern ePos till system may allow the end-customer to fully process the checkout himself.
ePos tills, as part of a full ePos system, and depending on specific needs, may include :
• A main monitor, which may be touch-enabled, thereby cancelling the need of
• A keyboard,
• A barcode scanner,
• A connected scale, for items sold by the weight,
• A receipt printer, with plenty of till polls,
• A cash drawer, if cash is to be accepted as a means of payment.
Other means of payment may require the addition of
• A PDQ terminal, to accept credit card payment
• A cheque printer, which is often a cheque scanner as well, nearly turning this old, analogue means of payment into a digital one.
Connected components of an ePos system
It is important to understand that an ePos system is a connected system, therefore, it can only work within a connected environment, with a server and necessary software.
Mapping the ePos system network
An ePos network has four main types of components :
• Purchased items, identified by their barcodes (electronic, connected price tags may also be used in the shop’s departments);
• A server, which stores all the information matching with these barcodes, such as pricing and inventory. It may also store the information on the end-customers, if a CRM is installed;
• Tills, which act as front-end workstations, fetching the pricing information from the server as item barcodes are scanned, and customer information from the CRM when loyalty cards are processed.
• Note that remote invoicing and payment terminals may now be added to the network, enabling mobile operations, especially suited for restaurants.
Installed on the server, and mirrored on each till, ePos software will in effect :
• Store pricing information and retrieve it when matching items are scanned at the tills;
• Update inventory and manage stock control as items are scanned and sold, issuing stock and sales reports to help the business get the right products, in the right quantity at the right time;
• Connect with, or even include a CRM program to store and retrive customer information, enabling personalized issuance of coupons based on purchasing basket, and their immediate redemption at the till;
• Connect with the accounting program to ease financial reporting.
The vast array of hardware accessories and software products needed to make up a full ePos system, their complex installation and necessary customization to meet the needs of a specific industry and business may require the interested professional to call the services of a specialized ePos system integrator.