What You Need to Get Started with an EPOS System

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 19:00
 What You Need to Get Started with an EPOS System

What do you need to get started with a standalone EPOS system, and how can your approach to business change once you’re set up?

Many business owners are tempted to adopt an EPOS system but aren’t certain of what’s required to implement the solution. It’s not always made crystal clear exactly how to get their business equipped and ready to take advantage of this technology.

We’ve written about the benefits of an EPOS system, and perhaps you’re now curious to understand what the next steps are to bring this system to your own organisation.

A digital point of sales solution sounds great in theory, but what precisely does it take in practice? In this post, we’ll quickly guide you through the equipment that you need and how it fits together.

Hardware - the Fundamental Components of an EPOS Solution

What are the constituent parts of a standalone EPOS system for a small business? Obviously, every situation is different, but there are some key elements that will need to be considered.

The central component is a mobile computing device such as an iPad. An iPad is well suited as a business device, as we’ve explored before. This device will host the EPOS software and ensure that all the additional hardware components talk to each other.

As you’re in business, you’ll obviously want a device to take customer payment. Chip and Pin terminals allow you to accept credit cards, and iZettle is a very good options. Some small businesses are opting to adopt a cashless, credit card only approach, but if your business accepts ‘real’ money you’ll want a cash drawer.

However you accept payment, you’ll most likely need a receipt printer and Star Micronics offer a range of wired and wireless devices to complete every POS configuration.

That covers the basic equipment that you’ll need to start using EPOS technology in your small business. Other components that might apply to your situation include a barcode scanner if you sell many products, or a mobile 3G router if your business operates off-site. Of course, if you are unsure and / or unwilling to cherry-pick the components one-by-one, you might want to consider a pre-defined bundle to get you started.

Software - the Brain of an EPOS System

At the heart of an EPOS solution is the actual software that ties together all the hardware components and allows the system to function. You’ll need to pick a software solution that’s both reliable and fits your particular business needs.

This is perhaps your hardest decision to make; there are many options that you can select, each with different features. Think carefully about the aspects that your business will get the most value from. Here are some key factors that should inform your decision:

  • Does the software understand the legal and tax system of the country you operate in?
  • How often are updates released?
  • Is support included?
  • What are the initial and ongoing costs?
  • What software integrations are available?

Once you’ve narrowed down your software choices, try before you buy. Most options will offer either a demo or a free trial, so make sure to take advantage of these before you select the software to power your EPOS system.

It’s well worth spending time on this important selection, don’t be afraid to do so.

Your New Approach - Making the Most of EPOS Technology

Whatever EPOS software you ultimately choose, the technology has the potential to transform the way you run your business.

Yes, an EPOS system makes it easy to process payments, but you can also use the system to help your business achieve consistent growth. You need to know that implementing an EPOS system in your business can result in far more than simpler and faster transaction processing with benefits such as,

  • Business Reporting (Inventory, Timesheets, End-of-Day)
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Loyalty programmes
  • Enhanced Customer Service

These common - though not universal - features are another reason to think carefully about your vision for your business. Select the appropriate hardware and software that aligns best with your ambitions.

With the relentless growth of online retail, it’s also a good idea to explore how an EPOS solution can integrate with your digital marketing efforts. Mailchimp integration, for example, allows you to collect email addresses from offline customers and continue communicating with them online.

Your First Steps Towards an EPOS-powered Business

What you need to get started with an EPOS system will depend on your specific business requirements. If your sales terminals often operate off-site - if you trade at local markets, for example - then the portability of your EPOS equipment is an important factor. However, if you have a large online presence then a more important consideration is the software integrations that will leverage that particular strength.

When researching what EPOS software is best for you, weigh up which features your business needs right now, and which might prove useful as you grow. Be sure to think long term. Which provider offers regular updates, excellent support, and low monthly costs?

Don’t forget that EPOS technology isn’t just a customer-facing technology. With the right solution, your business can make a shift to digital back-office functions. Also use demo versions and, where available, free trials so that you can sample the software that is sure to become a vital part of your business process.

EPOS technology is being adopted rapidly and is helping thousands of small businesses grow. With the information you now have, you can carefully consider your options when assessing which standalone EPOS solution is best for your business.

Nick Blackbourn