EPOS system

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on July 11, 2024. Next review due October 1, 2025.

    Today’s retail landscape is more complex and competitive than ever. Retail businesses must be prepared to make sales anywhere at any time, stay on top of fast-moving inventory systems and maintain meaningful customer data. An EPOS system can deliver all these needs and more – replacing the traditional cash register with ‘real-time’ payment processing, accurate inventory control, incisive customer reporting, powerful employee performance data and a host of other features that support business growth.

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      What is an EPOS system?

      EPOS stands for Electronic Point of Sale System. An EPOS is a computerised point of sale system that includes devices such as scanners, barcode readers and touchscreens. EPOS systems can be used to record sales, control stock, and perform other retail tasks.

      What makes an EPOS system?

      An EPOS consists of three elements:

      • Hardware – screens, scanners, etc.
      • Point of Sale software.
      • Internet connection via an internet or Local Area Network (LAN) cable.

      What are the different types of EPOS systems?

      There are three types of EPOS:

      • Traditional EPOS – mainly used by larger merchants, traditional multi-store EPOS systems utilize a range of hardware to deliver an all-in-one solution. This type of EPOS is less reliant on an internet connection, which makes it a good option for businesses that process sales transactions all day, every day.

      • Mobile EPOS – useful for selling anywhere, anytime, this option uses your smartphone or purchase card machine to conduct sales far away from your central cash register.

      • Tablet EPOS – similar to mobile EPOS but with more processing power, tablet EPOS gives you the freedom to conduct sales anywhere but also to perform other transaction tasks that may be beyond the capability of a mobile system.

      How does an EPOS system work?

      Traditional cash registers and EPOS record your sales transactions, but only an EPOS can instantly adjust other business information to match every sale you make. This means that when a retailer enters product information into an EPOS, the system calculates the sum the customer must pay, records the sale, automatically adjusts stock levels, and saves the customer data. This information provides retailers with a real-time understanding of stock levels that can sharpen re-ordering and drive marketing and promotional activities. The data also provides up to date customer information that can support loyalty programs and targeted advertising. The EPOS can also record employee performance and provide instant sales-per-employee information that supports recruitment, commission and bonus programs.

      What are the benefits of using an EPOS system?

      As well as being a sophisticated and advanced point of sale system, a good EPOS can monitor and record all transactions in your business – this means tracking sales, income and outgoings, payments, stock, orders, invoices, staff, productivity and staff performance. An EPOS can give your organization a competitive edge, as well as making it more efficient and productive.

      Key benefits of an EPOS system:

      • Take payments anywhere in your store – mobile technology release your sales staff to go to the customer to close a sale instead of the customer having to come to the sales register.
      • Accurate data informs better business decisions – EPOS gives you full oversight of your sales, stock and customer data.
      • Supports omni-channel selling – EPOS provides a centralized data network that can link online and in-store sales streams.
      • Reduce administration time – EPOS eliminates manual data processing and piles of paperwork.
      • Increase sales – discover instant opportunities to upsell or add accessories to customer sales.
      • Improve customer loyalty – accurate data allows you to provide targeted offers, rewards and opportunities for each and every customer.
      • Integrate other tools and apps – add applications that support customer enquiries, drive loyalty and increase awareness.
      • Stay up to date – EPOS can be adapted or upgraded to manage changes or enhancements in payment technologies.
      • Streamline staff management – your EPOS tracks sales staff conversion rates, commission schemes and employee efficiency. Use the data to better redeploy current employees or recruit the staff you need.

      What types of businesses use an EPOS system?

      EPOS systems are used by all types of organizations across a wide range of sectors. This includes retail businesses, hospitality businesses, service providers, warehouses and transport organizations.

      How to choose the best EPOS system for your retail business?

      There are many EPOS systems for sale, each with their pros and cons. Key points to consider:

      • Current and future needs – this means choosing an EPOS that does all you want it to do now but will also have the capability to be upgraded to meet future needs. If you’re swapping out an existing EPOS system, ask yourself why you need to do this. Ensure the replacement system answers your question.

      • Price – you need an EPOS system that fits within your budget but that still gives you all you need in terms of performance and functionality. You should also pay attention to other factors that can affect your EPOS’ value for money.

      • Software fees – you will pay an annual or monthly fee for the software that drives your EPOS. Typically, the more features your software offers, the more it costs. However, before you drop those options to reduce your fees, calculate if they will actually save you money in the long-term?

      • Hardware costs – technology is constantly updating, so you should look for an EPOS that can be upgraded to match future technical advances but still give good performance now.

      • Payment processing fees – every sale you make will generate a fee to your payment processor. These costs can vary from one provider to another. Some of the best EPOS providers offer integrated payment processing that eliminate these hidden costs.

      • Free and paid for features – cheaper EPOS systems may only provide reporting and order fulfillment options for free. This can be a false economy if you then need to pay extra for add-on inventory and other reporting features.

      • Ease of use – if your system is too complex for your staff to use it, they won’t. Choose an EPOS with intuitive and easy to understand features and controls. Ask for a thorough demonstration before settling on a system. If possible, involve your workers who will use the system in the evaluation process.

      What does an EPOS system cost?

      EPOS system costs will vary according to the size of your business, and the software and hardware add-ons you want.

      Typical EPOS system costs
      EPOS systemTotal expected sumMonthly software costsInitial hardware costs
      Entry level $1,000$0 – $30 per month$25 - $500
      Mid-level$1,500 – $2,000$30 – $50 per month$500 - $1,000
      Advanced system+$3,000$60 - $100 per month+$1,000

      Where can I get an EPOS system?

      EPOS systems are available from a range of providers who may be easily found online. You can either conduct your own research to determine which is best for your business or you could hire a consultant to provide this service for you.

      How to finance an EPOS system?

      Although EPOS systems are not expensive compared to many other business costs, it may still be best to finance your system with a small business loan or via an equipment lease. Doing so will reduce the impact on your working capital and may give you more scope to upgrade the system as new features become available. Financing may also be more tax efficient than paying upfront with cash. 

      What’s the difference between financing and leasing an EPOS system?

      Financing your EPOS system means taking on a small business loan to buy the technology. When the loan is paid off, you own the equipment outright. 

      Leasing your EPOS means you rent the technology and at contract end you may have the option to buy the equipment for a lump sum or return it to the lessor. (Note than some leases do not provide the option of buying the equipment at contract end). Leasing will usually entail a lower monthly sum than buying your EPOS with a business loan. 

      Get started with Swoop

      No matter if you’re seeking your first equipment loan or you’re a seasoned borrower, working with business finance experts can make all the difference when applying for funding. Contact Swoop to discuss your borrowing needs, get help with your application and to compare high-quality EPOS financing deals from a choice of lenders. Give your business the equipment it deserves. Register with Swoop today.

      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Wells Fargo Bank, Visa, Experian, Ebay, Flywire, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of US consumer and business finance.

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