Would you agree that modern retail is extremely competitive? It is, especially with the advent of online shopping. That means traditional retailers have to work extra hard to remain competitive. They have to provide the same level of service and convenience along with good prices. Thankfully, there is technology for that.
Electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) technology is helping today’s retailers compete. It is technology that provides both hardware and software designed to help retailers create a custom buying experience that meets all of the consumer’s needs in a timely and efficient manner. Implemented correctly, an electronic POS solution can also be used as a universal business tool for inventory, marketing, accounting, and so on. It is technology the successful retailer can’t afford to live without.
The EPOS System
Point-of-sale (POS) is a rather old term used to describe how an in-person transaction takes place between retailer and consumer. Before the introduction of the internet, POS was essentially a cash register transaction. The retailer would ring up a consumer’s purchase on a mechanical or electronic cash register, the consumer would pay with cash, and the entire thing would be recorded on a paper tape.
As good as these old technologies were, they were only good for conducting sales transactions. Everything else had to be done manually. Shop owners still had to count every item manually in inventory at the end of each month, and they had to reconcile their books at the conclusion of the business day. Today’s electronic POS systems integrate everything into a single system that can be contained on any tablet computer.
The iPad as a Business Device
Electronic point-of-sale apps are available for the Android OS, but iOS is the dominant player. Therefore, in describing how this technology can be used by retailers – especially enterprises such as gift shops, boutiques, and clothing shops – we will focus primarily on iPad POS.
The first thing to note is that the power of the iPad makes it ideal for this sort of application. IPad has a reputation for ‘just working’ under a wide variety of conditions that may stall other systems. Installing an electronic POS on an iPad is the first step in realizing the wonders of this technology.
What the retailer essentially gets is a single device that does it all. The iPad acts as an:
- Electronic Till
The iPad can be used to complete transactions in a variety of methods from cash to credit cards and electronic transfers, including Cashless, Apple Pay and Android Pay. You can even purchase credit card scanners and printers to go along with the iPad to create a complete till solution.
- Inventory Tracker
Integrating inventory with an iPad cash register is the ideal solution for tracking inventory. Imagine how beneficial this would be for the gift shop owner who might stock hundreds of different items, if not thousands. Every time an item is purchased and scanned by the iPad, inventory is adjusted accordingly, and clever integrations can make sure an alert is triggered when stock is running low to order and / or restock as necessary.
- Accounting Platform
Every transaction recorded by an iPad point-of-sale app sends data to a central server that records and stores it. End-of-the-day accounting is made a lot easier due to transactionsbeing added to the total in real time. At the end of the day, the retailer only needs to reconcile the cash on hand with the daily sales report.
Just the business functions associated with iPad POS are enough to warrant looking into it if you are a boutique owner, gift shop owner, or clothier. But there’s more.
The iPad as a Marketing Device
Imagine being able to tailor your marketing efforts to each customer that makes a purchase. In the old days, making that happen would mean asking customers intrusive questions or encouraging them to fill out customer service or contact cards. With today’s electronic POS systems, that is no longer necessary.
You collect customer information once at initial purchase. After that, your iPad point-of-sale system tracks all subsequent purchases. It also analyses the data associated with each purchase.
As an example, say you own a clothing shop offering high-end men’s and women’s apparel. Some of your regular customers will prefer specific styles of clothing. They will also have size and colour preferences as well. Every transaction you complete using your iPad cash register transfers customer data to a central database, where it is analysed accordingly. You can use that data to create marketing campaigns targeted to your customers.
As a marketing device, the iPad can be used to do all sorts of incredible things. It can be used to schedule regular e-mail newsletters, offer digital coupons, and send special offers exclusively to a unique set of customers you want to treat as special.
The iPad as a Convenience Device
Last but not least is the reality that an iPad POS can be used to create a very convenient checkout system from anywhere in your store. You no longer need a central cash register and counter to complete transactions. Every staff member armed with an iPad can wander around and help individual customers find what they’re looking for. They can then complete transactions from anywhere in the store.
What happens if the customer sees a display item in your boutique and wants to purchase it? You can use your iPad to check your inventory. You will instantly know whether you have one in stock for purchase. And if not, just use your iPad to place an order with your supplier on-the-fly.
All of this is enhanced by the fact that you can take your ‘show on the road’ as well. Today’s electronic point-of-sale systems work both online and off, so you can carry your iPad till with you if you want to set up shop at a local festival or pop-up venue. As soon as you are back online, everything syncs automatically.
Without a doubt, EPOS technology is technology that today’s retailer cannotlive without. If you want to compete with online retailers offering convenience and digital transactions, you have to get on board with the electronic POS.
Scott Heron is an avid blogger in the field of technology. When not writing, he can be found researching on the latest technologies. When writing on POS technology in everyday business, he recommends intellegentpos® as his preferred choice.