EPOS Guide - Helping you choose the right system
A basic electronic cash register will meet the needs of many small startup businesses with small product lines and low turnover. However, few purchases can have as dramatic an effect on your retail or hospitality business as a carefully selected Point Of Sale system (POS or EPOS system - Electronic Point Of Sale).
An EPOS system chosen to suit your business needs will offer a new dimension and level of control over operations, allowing you to react quickly to competitors and changes in customers buying habits. It will bring a host of business benefits, boosting profitability, controlling costs, increasing efficiency, and helping you fine tune your business model and processes.
Choosing to upgrade from a basic cash register to an EPOS system can be time consuming and there are many decisions to be made, however the benefits of an EPOS system and potential ROI (return on investment) will make it time well spent.
Point Of Sale systems can be broken down into three broad categories:
Apart from the most basic cash registers, most modern cash registers like the Uniwell LX5600, EX570, or PX6700 now come network ready and allow you to connect the cash registers together so data and customer bills can be moved or shared between machines. They also support devices like barcode scanners or kitchen printers and you can even link them to a PC-based back office software package such as EPOS Sales to form a basic low cost EPOS System.
EPOS Systems (Embedded)
These are highly sophisticated POS terminals well suited to high volume operations where speed of service is essential, like bars, nightclubs, stadiums, general retail, quick service restaurants, pubs etc. Designed to be networked together on standard PC-based networks they are available with either an operator keyboard or a touch screen, where items are sold by pressing buttons displayed on the screen.
These EPOS terminals offer greater functionality than cash registers plus more system integration options such as CCTV cameras, hotel room billing packages, loyalty software, kitchen order printers, cashless smart card devices and hand held order terminals.
Embedded EPOS systems do not have a PC engine inside them, they do not require a Windows operating system or hard disk drive (HDD) and there is usually no cooling fan, so with no moving parts they are ultra reliable and resilient.
Embedded EPOS systems are often selected for their robustness, they are less susceptible to overheating problems, data corruption, computer viruses or hacking and usually they aren’t reliant on a central server so down-time is minimal. They also have the added attraction of being energy efficient and startup in just a few seconds rather than a few minutes. Embedded EPOS systems can be turned off mid transaction without losing any transaction information or corrupting any sales data.
With low maintenance and longevity they have an overall lower cost of ownership than many PC-POS systems and can provide an excellent ROI.
Systems like the Uniwell SX7005, SX705, TX875, DX895 and DX915 may be installed on their own, but are typically networked together and often supported by back office software. Packages like EPOS Office offer stock control, ordering, reporting, daily & weekly cash sheets, product maintenance, price management and give you full control over your POS terminals.
Multiple outlet operations are well catered for with head office software products such as EPOS Office-MS, EPOS-HQ and Uniwell’s DataSmart web based reporting software.
PC-POS Systems (computer based)
PC-POS terminals traditionally consisted of a computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse, however many modern PC-POS systems now embrace touch screen technology and are manufactured as an all-in-one unit, they are specially designed for Point of Sale (POS) use increasing speed of operation, robustness and ease of use.
The Uniwell IX-15 and J2 580 are good examples, their modern designs also allow them to be wall or pole mounted along with a receipt printer and other devices such as a credit card terminal, or customer advertising screen, freeing up valuable counter or bar space. The J2 580 can even house an internal UPS to provide battery backup in the event of a power failure, allowing you to keep trading or shut down correctly without risking any loss or corruption of data.
In addition to choosing your PC-POS hardware you also need to carefully select a POS software package that meets your requirements, along with a cash drawer, receipt printer, order printer, scanner etc. Suppliers like Uniwell offer a bundled solution to ensure seamless compatibility and a one-stop solution.
PC-POS systems can potentially offer the highest levels of features and functionality and are by their nature more suited to running multiple applications or software packages on the same machine if this is what you require. So you may have your retail or hospitality POS software on the same machine as your restaurant booking system for example.
With a range of operating systems and POS software solutions they provide choice, flexibility, industry standard networking, user friendly operations, speed and many integration opportunities to third party applications or devices such as biometric fingerprint readers, point of purchase advertising screens, postcode lookup software etc.
PC-POS systems allow individual and multi outlet retailers alike to capitalize on latest technologies, and benefit from solutions such as a remote log-in software that allow you to access machines remotely or to view live data on the POS system. Suppliers too can take advantage by offering remote support, software upgrades or product, price and menu changes.
Choosing your POS system
When deciding if you need a Cash Register, EPOS System or PC-POS system it’s worth spending a little time understanding your business requirements to make sure you select a system that's right for you and that helps you build your business.
If you would like our advice you can call us on 01482 606800 or simply email us at email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.