Point of Sale
Point of Sale (POS) is a broad term. Point of Sale encompasses many areas and many formats, but to simply define POS would be ďA particular location where a merchandise or service transaction takes placeĒ. The most familiar venue for this is the traditional POS or cash register station that is found in any department store, specialty retail, category killer, wholesaler, or wholesale club, but POS is not limited to that format any more. Using other technologies with a traditional POS system transaction can take place almost anywhere, increasing the selling area and adding convenience to the customer. The 2001 U.S. market for retail automation/point-of-sale (POS) equipment generated over $2.4 billion in supplier revenue. The largest percent of revenues, nearly 44%, was derived from POS terminal/workstation hardware shipments. Standalone POS payment/transaction terminals comprise approximately 17% of the market, while POS receipt printers netted nearly 10% of revenues.
Not only do you need to select the POS system that works best for your customerís business, but you also need to make sure that it is set up to accept specific payment forms such as credit cards, debit cards, and checks. Most POS systems accept all credit cards including MasterCard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Diner's Club, and JCB. However, if the system is to accept debit cards (issued by a bank), you need to know that there are two types of debit transactions with different processing costs. With "offline" debit (similar to a credit card), the transaction is automatically processed through a credit card network. With "online" debit, your POS system will need to have an integrated or attached PIN Pad for the customer to enter their PIN number. Additionally, the average charge for a flat transaction fee is between 25-35 cents, including network fees. Checks as a payment form might be desired by a large percentage of repeat traffic. However, you want to make sure that funds are readily available. Today, most providers can give you an electronic solution for checks for about the same amount it costs you to process a credit card sale, while guaranteeing the funds. The equipment enabling this application is called a check reader. If your current system doesn't have one, you can add a check reader to it for about $100. More sophisticated POS systems can tie into other operational functions such as sales tracking, order entry, and detailed reporting. Before selecting a new system, a company should have a clear understanding of what types of reports are needed on a regular basis.