A modern POS system is more than a well-written software. It is the combination of hardware and software components designed for each other. Together these two parts interface with each other to perform sophisticated front and back-office functions that you need. To help you choose the right POS hardware for your business, you need a comprehensive guide to cover the main areas necessary for a complete and effective POS software solution to help you understand how the software integrates with hardware.
It’s undeniable how saturated the market has become with thousands of different POS hardware brands to choose from. All these equipment for sale, it’s natural to read nothing but good words about their functionality and durability on vendor websites.
However, if you make the right choice, you need access to more information than what’s available on the websites of POS vendors. Be it a simple payment device or receipt printer you want to purchase, essential elements like pricing and quality can differ greatly. Therefore, you have a dilemma on your hands. Which POS hardware would best fit the needs of your business?
At times it’s even more confusing deciding which products you need. This is where we come in – as experts in the POS domain; you can find reliable information on the essential hardware necessary for a complete point of sale set up.
We also provide all the additional equipment you would need to maximize the use of the best POS systems in the market. Hence, whether you are a small business owner, retailer, or restauranteur, all the answers you need about POS hardware are in the guide below.
The term POS hardware, as used in the point of sale market, stands for all the output and input devices a POS software uses to fully discharge its functions at the point of purchase. Depending on the kind of business you run, you may prefer a simple traditional computer set or an iPad cash register for your hardware setup.
Apart from these two setups, there are many other devices and equipment used to operate a modern POS system. If anything, you need to remember this essential fact that POS hardware is built to run specific software.
Here is the explanation: Usually, software built for specific devices cannot run on other devices, especially if the software wasn’t built to be cross-platform. Hence, you need to consider the compatibility of your hardware with other POS systems. This is why you can’t go ahead and purchase any random wireless barcode scanner, pair it with your existing POS system and expect it work, well, unless you get lucky.
Usually, companies that develop POS software make them work through specific communication protocols. Due to this reason, it’s sometimes easier to set up your POS hardware when you purchase them from your POS software company. The term used to describe this arrangement is hardware bundle.
Posvice advises against long-term contracts that POS vendors provide along with their hardware bundles. Therefore, you need to carefully review any hardware bundle agreements before signing them. Secondly, you have to figure out the basic hardware your business needs to operate a functional POS system. This helps you avoid the mistake of buying lots of equipment that won’t be directly useful for your business.
The basic hardware for a fully functional POS system includes all the core equipment your software requires to begin full operation. In other words, there are bare minimum devices. Generally, these include the following:
All tablet POS systems fall under this category of hardware. It comprises devices like iPads, touchscreen monitors, and Android tablets. These are very affordable and easy to use for an average person. Plus, they are widespread gadgets. Hence, customers are familiar with them and find them very user-friendly.
Due to their affordability, small businesses like retail stores and restaurants, that usually have tight budgets find them to be good fits. Also, your countertop remains quite free, since these touchscreen devices have a relatively small footprint. Thanks to technology, we see tablets and even mobile devices accepting cards and other cashless methods of payment. However, many businesses still need credit card terminals for fast and secure checkout.
Customers are increasingly adopting the cashless system. However, cash remains the primary form of exchange all over the world. Hence, you still need a cash drawer. Even if this piece of hardware is from the early days of retail POS systems. Its traditional feel doesn’t make it any less effective at doing its job.
With the right cash drawer, you can quickly store away cash, make changes, and account for daily sales at the end of each business day.
So you’ve got a touchscreen monitor and cash drawer, now you have to find the best solution for accepting and processing card payments. This is another essential component of POS hardware. Generally, more customers continue to adopt debit and credit cards as their primary mode of payment for goods and services.
Therefore, you have to provide this option for your business. Also, you need to ensure your credit card terminal accepts and processes NFC, EMV transactions, or contactless payments. Aside from these, you want to make sure your patrons can also pay with more traditional methods like magstripe.
Not many hardware streamlines the checkout process of your business like the barcode scanner. These lines of products, whether a wireless barcode scanner or inbuilt, help to quickly read the barcode or UPC of your products. The barcode scanner achieves this by bouncing light off the product’s barcode to scan it.
When considering which barcode scanner to purchase for your business, you will have to choose between the stationary scanner and the handheld barcode scanner. The latter helps you check out more bulky items, while the former is ideal for scanning for portable items by passing them over the laser section of the stationary scanner.
According to a popular business practice, you need to provide each customer with a receipt upon successful checkout. This helps to record the transaction and show proof of payments or ownership. Typically, the paper receipt is the most common method of issuing receipts.
Some e-receipts get delivered through email or text. However, you will have to get a compatible receipt printer, because the majority of customers still expect a paper receipt. They are particularly useful when a customer has to return a product for one reason or the other.
Once you have successfully secured this essential hardware, there are dozens of peripheral devices and add-ons at your disposal. With these, you can spec-up your POS solution to enhance its performance significantly. There are specific POS systems that would require some additional hardware to give you peak functionalities.
Though every business would like to get some extra juice from their POS systems, one important factor determines the kinds of hardware you can add to the basic equipment stated above. These are the prices of this POS hardware. Most of the additional hardware stated above require are part of the hardware bundle.
However, you need to find out from your POS vendor the specific features your hardware bundle will provide. Nevertheless, below are some of the additional pieces of equipment you can add to your POS system.
Are you considering purchasing a POS hardware or looking to upgrade your existing system? Remember to check out our full POS reviews and use our POS comparison tool to ensure you make the smartest decision for your business.