Selecting a POS system for your small business
The heart of commerce is the point of sale. This is where you meet your customers face-to-face for the most important transaction in business: payment for goods and services. The point of sale experience can leave a lasting impression on your customers. So it’s critical that impression be a positive one.
Most business owners need a system to accept cash, credit cards, contactless and alternate payments like mobile wallets. Standard credit card terminals perform these functions. However, many merchants desire a system that integrates other typical business functions. POS systems extend the functionality of credit card machines to support the back end of your business with software to track sales, identify trends and provide a clear view into your financial state of affairs.
Selecting the right point of sale for a small business begins with payment basics. We’ll start by asking: how do your customers want to pay? What can a smart till tell me about my business? What options are available in an affordable small business POS system? We’ll look at the hardware, software and services required to help make it all work together safely and securely.
How do your customers want to pay?
You’ll want to find a POS system that makes checkout experiences easy, seamless and efficient. Satisfying your customers starts with giving them a variety of payment options.
The use of cash is on the decline. A recent study by UK Finance predicts that cash will fall to just 16 percent of spend in store by 2027. The move away from cash is understandable as electronic payments offer greater convenience to consumers and a number of benefits to businesses.
You’ll want a secure cash drawer for notes and coins just like till systems of old.
In addition, a POS for small business should offer intelligent cash management that integrates with other payment forms for tracking and accounting purposes. This helps ease reconciliations at the end of the business day.
...with debit and credit cards
The dominant form of face to face payment in the U.K. today is debit cards. The Guardian reports that debit cards have eclipsed cash as the most popular form of payment in the U.K. in 2017. Accepting card payments requires a card reader. A card reader should accept chip and PIN cards that allow your customers to enter their PIN on a keypad. A card reader should accept contactless payments, either with a card or mobile wallets. Finally your POS card reader should still allow magnetic stripe (or “swipe”) cards, especially for international customers.
Your POS system will need to accept the card schemes your customers want to use. The acceptance puzzle is straightforward in the U.K.: Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly issued cards making acceptance of these card schemes a logical must.
...with mobile wallets
Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay continue to gain in popularity, Worldpay’s 2017 Global Payments Report pegs mobile wallet use at 25 percent of the eCommerce market, while new data from Juniper Research suggests contactless payments will account for 1-in-3 instore transactions by 2020.
The importance of security and payment partners
Securing the point of sale
Data security continues to be a challenge that must be taken seriously by businesses. High profile data breaches receive the lion’s share of headlines. One such effort to protect businesses and the customers they serve is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
PCI DSS are common standards created by the major card schemes that aim to protect customer data. PCI DSS requirements represent best practices that can help protect your business from the potentially devastating impact of a data breach and help keep your vital business records safe and secure. When selecting a POS system, look for a provider that offers fully-compliant equipment.
Small businesses generally have the fewest requirements to satisfy, with the levels of compliance requirements then rising with processing volume. Regardless of size, if your business accepts credit and debit cards your business will have an obligation to ensure that data is stored securely and to stay in compliance on an ongoing basis with the requirements of PCI DSS.
The vital role of payment processing
Payment processors provide the connective web between your business, your customers, the card schemes and your merchant account.
One of the most important factors in selecting a POS system is ensuring that it works with your preferred payment processor. POS systems from leading payments experts can often offer security, seamless integration, and ease of use through intentional coordinated design.
The next generation of POS
Managing a product catalogue
Customisation starts with creating and managing your unique catalogue of products and services on offer. A high-quality POS system will allow you to add items with unique names and prices, and allow you to organise those items into categories.
Some POS systems allow you to upload your inventory as a batch. Additional customisations often include common variables such as product colour. Another time-saver for businesses with large inventories is the ability to add products to your catalogue using a barcode scanner.
Beyond the sale: Reporting and analysis
An electronic point of sale (EPOS) can offer clarity into your business operations at a glance. Key reporting features to look for in an EPOS include sales summaries, sales breakdowns, and top selling items by category. Many POS systems link directly to your payment processor platform, allowing deeper dives on reconciliation, settlement, and other critical business insights gleaned from your payments data.
Years ago, an executive summary of daily sales activity available on demand was something scarcely available to managers of large enterprises. Yet today’s POS systems put the power of real-time insights into the hands of businesses just like yours. . That’s technology helping enable business success.
Tying it all together
Point of sale systems may seem simple on the outside but even a peek under the cover reveals layers of complexity. Now that we’ve thought about the hardware, software, and services that go into a POS system for small businesses, it’s time to tie it all together.
You’ll want a system with hardware designed to work together seamlessly from the ground up. You’ll want software that supports essential daily business functions. You’ll want a central point of contact to address issues of concern as they may arise. You’ll want a system that integrates with your preferred payment processing vendor. Finally, you’ll want a fully PCI-compliant system with strong security features and support.
POS checklist: Hardware
- Tablet or other touch-screen interface
- Card acceptance terminal or card reader
- Printer for customer receipts
- Cash drawer
- Barcode scanner for large inventories
POS checklist: Software
- Easy to use interface
- Fast and responsive
- Create your own product catalogue
- Customise individual products on demand
- Extensive reporting and sales analysis
POS checklist: Services
- PCI DSS compliance assistance
- Reliable, accessible support
- Integrated with reputable payment processor
Worldpay, a global leader in payment technologies and services, can offer a range of solutions for taking payments at the point of sale, from terminals ready to integrate, to our easy-to-use app-driven POS solution, Worldpay POS. To find out more about how Worldpay can help meet your payment needs to help support your business grow, contact one of our payments experts.