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How to Choose a POS system

What is POS?
In the pass, POS is referring to Point of Sale system, (Some people call it POP, Point of purchase)

is the place of a store where customers can pay for their purchases. The term is normally used to describe systems that record financial transactions. This could be as simple as a traditional ECR (Electric Cash Register) or an integrated computer system (PC, monitor, software, programmable keyboard…etc.) which records the data that comprises a business transaction for the sale of goods or services.Nowadays, POS does not only mean a Point of Sale system, but also mean a Point of Service (Originally, it’s the term of, relating to, or being a health-care insurance plan), which provides services of transactions, information, entertainment, check-in/out, ticketing...etc. Those systems include bedside terminal (Info terminal), kiosk, mobile POS, price checker, signage and touch POS terminal.

You need a POS system!

A POS system is the hardware and software used to provide services of a store. It can be as simple as free software that runs on any PC or a cloud based software like Quickbooks or Square to a fully integrated system with touch screen, card reader, customer display, thermal printer, barcode scanner, ticket printer, or mobile POS capabilities like used in Apple stores, the key is the service that the POS system generates for you to deliver a fantastic guest experience and to run a profitable business. In such case, it doesn’t matter what size of your business is can all benefit from having a POS system especially when you plan to

Accept on-line payments (Apply Pay), credit, or debit cards

Keep track of sales and inventory

How do I choose the right one for my business?

Choosing the right POS system is critical to the smooth running of your business. It acquires to understand exactly what you need, and what you don't need. Since margins get tighter in most industries, you will need a good POS to do much more than before.

  • 01.Software

    Think about what features you need for your business first and the services you like to provide to your customers. Usually software will provide a set of requirements, and then base on the requirements to choose the hardware. In general, a POS software should have, but not limited to:

    • Inventory management
    • Labor/Employee management
    • Sales Management (Reporting and analytics)
    • Customer Management (Gift and loyalty)
    • Price adjustment
    • Sync in-store and online purchases
    • Loss prevention

  • 02.Hardware

    Some POS software requires a powerful system to run, others are not. You need to decide the services you are going to provide to your customers before choosing a proper POS terminal and its peripherals. When you choose a Point of sales terminal, you basically need to look into below details on each item.

    • Performance

      – higher specification means better performance. For instance, a CPU with higher clock speed, a RAM with bigger capacity and a SSD/HDD with faster data transfer rate can easily outperform those have a lower speed, a small size and a slow data transfer rate SSD/HDD. Nowadays, an entry level POS terminal is using Celeron CPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD while a powerful POS terminal may use Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and 128 SSD and up.
    • Features

      – rich features give more possibilities to offer wide range of services to customers. It can smooth the working processes for employees, serve more customers, and help the owners to gain more businesses. A standard POS terminal should have at least 1*VGA (For 2nd display), 1*RJ12 (For cash drawer), 1*LAN port (For networking), 4*USB ports and 4*COM ports (For Bar code scanner, VFD, Thermal/Receipt printer, or EMV card reader…etc.)
    • Reliability

      – if it fails during the business hour, it is not able to make the transaction only, but you can also lose customers’ confidence as well. There are some details you can look into, such number of control boards and daughter boards, cables and screws a POS terminal is using.
    • Conformance

      – is the method to measure the quality of product if it meets the original design specification. The technique is to keep tracking the record of every part that each system is using, and establish the data base for future reference. When it’s needed, the investigator can locate the problems and find solution for it.
    • Durability

      – each product was designed for the normal operation with a certain lifetime at the beginning, so does the components. Longer MTBF means different standards which needs better parts and require intensive tests. Certainly, the cost will be much more.
    • Aesthetics

      – in the past POS terminals are the replacement for the traditional ECR, and used for daily business operation. At that time, POS terminals look buggy, without good looking, heavy color (Black or dark gray), but now you can ask POS manufacturer to customize a POS terminal with desire color and ID that fits your company image and even to your surrounding environment in reasonable price.
    • Serviceability

      – is the thing people usually missed, but it defines the consumer grade and the professional grade product.

      - Disassembling/Assembling – If you are a hardware distributor or a system integrator, you definitely need to look into this. Imagine replacing an LCD panel, one system needs to remove 6 screws while the other needs to remove 18 screws. You probably need to spend 5 to 10 minutes more to perform a service on one system. The more systems to serve mean more time you need to spend and more money you will lose.

      - Long Term Supply - It won’t be a problem at the 1st year or two after your purchase, but it can be an issue after the 2nd year. Most consumer grade components become obsolete in two or three years while other industry grade components can supply up to 5 years or more. If you bought a POS terminal with consumer grade components, you might have trouble to find the parts when services need afterwards.

  • 03.Payment Processing

    Typical payment methods include cash, checks, credit or debit cards, and online payment service such as Apply Pay, PayPal…etc. Other than cash and checks, you need to set up a merchant account in order to process the payment transactions.

  • 04.Integrations

    It requires certain skill and time to put them all together. Other than do it by youself, most professional system integrators offer a complete package, including software, hardware, integration, support and warranty. Some may even offer leasing program instead of paying all at once.

  • 05.Support (After service and warranty)

    Most cloud-based POS systems include on-site support with the monthly subscription fee. If it’s necessary, you can get premium package with 24/7 support. As for local-installed POS systems, technicians charge by hour in most cases.

  • 06.Security

    Since each system stores lots transactions data and customers' profile, it's better to have a strong firewall to protect your network and a good antivirus program to protect your systems.

  • 07.Training

    Last but not at least, a qualified system integrator or solution provider should give basic training that will save you a lot of time from learning curve.

You get what you pay for!

When the time comes, you need to make the final decision and to find the balance point between budget and feature. “You get what you pay for!” Once you have decided what you need from above, write down a List of must have items and ask local system integrator’s advice. The good thing is you have done your researches and homework, so you won’t be over sold by sales personnel. Certainly, they charge for their services. However, it is a small price to pay for avoids lots troubles later on. “Happy employees make happy customers!” Just keep in mind the purpose of using a POS system is to streamline and simplify your operations, not to get things more complicate.

  • Penetek Technology Inc. has years of experiences in designing and manufacturing durable, reliable and ingenious POS terminals. Starting from the developing stage, we carefully choose industry grade components, which has higher standard in durability, and pick the CPUs from Embedded/IOT solution (7 to 15 years product life) in Intel product roadmap. Furthermore, we use desktop processors over laptop processors because of its performance (30% to 110% higher). As for the mechanical design, we think not just from user point of view, but also from service perspective. We want to bring great user experience to whomever use our system, to make pleasant and joy feeling to whomever perform service and maintenance on our terminals.

  • All of Penetek's POS terminals have been put into extreme tests 24 hours per day, 7 days a week during the stage 1. In addition, the main board is specific designed for POS application that means one board with all the interfaces (6*USB, 4*COM, 1*LAN, 1*RJ11 and 1*VGA ports...etc.). Unlike many other terminals are using standard ITX or mini-ITX M/B that requires additional daughter boards for different interfaces, and lots cables to connect between them. More boards and cables usually mean harder to do service and more troubles may get in the future.

  • Penetek cooperates and partners with many regional system integrators and hardware wholesalers in worldwide. If you need further assistance to choose the right POS terminal for your business, please feel free to contact us at sales@penetek.com.

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