From cash registers and excel spreadsheets to the modern-age POS systems - retail companies have come a long way in terms of adopting new methods of collecting and processing payments. Today, an efficient, intelligent, integrated, and connected POS system has become an indispensable tool for brick-and-mortar retail businesses. Besides collecting payments, it can also help track customer behaviors, manage inventory, and generate sales leads.
A POS (Point-of-Sale) system is a terminal where customers pay for their purchases in any retail setup, whether a grocery store or a salon. Currently, smart and integrated POS systems are found in almost all the retail outlets to facilitate customers to easily place orders and pay bills. This way, customers can save time, and pay securely and businesses can mitigate thefts, and streamline the entire process of inventory management.
Covid-19 played a significant role in driving customers towards online shopping, making it challenging for retail businesses to survive in these tough times. To overcome this challenge, it became vital for retailers to embrace POS systems that are smart and integrated to enhance the speed and accuracy of the checkout process and improve services to achieve customer satisfaction at an extraordinary level. Moreover, as the use of eWallets via smartphones is becoming more prevalent to avoid the spread of infection due to touching currency notes/coins and ATMs, most retail shops and establishments are embracing integrated smart POS systems. These advanced POS systems can help collect payments flawlessly, stay organized, keep customers happy, and gain a competitive advantage.
Isabelle Durant , the acting Secretary General at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development reportedly said, "Businesses and consumers that were able to 'go digital' have helped mitigate the economic downturn caused by the pandemic."
The following sections of the blog will detail further about the integrated smart POS systems, its workings, its key attributes, and its purpose in modern retail businesses..
What is an Integrated Smart POS System?
A traditional POS software is a standalone platform that is not integrated with other business systems. On the contrary to this, an integrated smart POS system is connected to multiple business systems like inventory, accounting, CRM, employee management, reporting, etc. So a POS system integrated with inventory and accounting process functions like this - as soon as a sales transaction is initiated, the information gets updated in inventory management and accounting systems, thereby bridging the gap. A POS terminal includes a monitor, POS hardware, POS software, scanner, card-reader,and a printer.
An integrated smart POS system is a cloud-based platform that allows accessing and updating sales order related information on a real-time basis from any remote location. Moreover, it can work like any other app on your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to collect cashless payments that include debit/ credit cards, cryptocurrencies, and e-wallets in a wireless setup. Setting up an innovative and integrated POS system is so simple that anyone can start using the payment terminal and collect the payments instantly - no training is required.
Key-Attributes of an Integrated Smart POS System
Types of POS Systems
Retail POS Handles the entire checkout process, including barcode scanning, receipt printing/emailing, updating CRM, inventory, & accounting system. Some of its most Important modules are - inventory management, sales reporting, and analytics. For example, you can go through the complete details about Retail Pro International (RPI) - a global leader in retail management software, and Shopify POS system - iPad and iPhone-based POS application allowing you to manage your entire online and physical store business from a single interface. Also, you can browse through this complete list of best retail POS.
This type of POS system can accept multiple-mode payments & gift cards, update CRM, manage employees, issue loyalty programs, and generate analytical reports. Square and Toast POS are some of the most popular restaurant POS solutions of these times. Also, browse through this list of the best restaurant POS to gain insights into highly flexible systems and are known worldwide for their rich functionalities and capabilities.
This type of POS is specially designed for hospitals and healthcare organizations that can collect and process payments, notify scheduled payments, customize patient bills, manage employee payroll deductions, and much more. For example - EPOS is one of the best AI-Based POS platforms that can help in managing orders, inventory, payments, services, and much more for any hospital or organization in the hospitality sector.
This type of POS is designed to run on mobile devices like smartphones, iPads, tabs, etc., and allows users to collect & process payments from anywhere within or outside the work premises. Also, it allows the users to update the prices and inventory information from any remote location, offering high-end convenience and reliability. For example, a POS system like ESEEL is available for all kinds of devices and platforms and is the perfect option for businesses looking forward to achieving high-end efficiency and productivity.
Let’s now have a look at how an integrated smart POS system works and how it is different from a traditional standalone POS system.
In this era when checkout-free and cashless shopping is already here, using intelligent and integrated POS is critical for every retail business. Increased mobility, security, data analysis are some of the additional facilities that a modern-age POS provides. Companies that have already invested in smart and integrated POS systems can better meet their customers' demands and stay ahead of the competition.
As per a recent research report, the Global Point of Sale Terminals Market is likely to reach $130.91 Billion by 2028 from 81.86 billion in 2021 at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 6.9%.
This remarkable growth is due to increased demand for cashless and contactless payments, the need for customer engagement, employee management, accuracy in inventory tracking, and synchronization of online and physical stores.
Additionally, the technology and shopping trends mentioned below have triggered the demand for integrated smart POS systems.
Technology and Shopping Trends That Have Triggered The Demand for Integrated Smart POS Systems
Unlocked Capabilities of AI
The ability of AI to think, learn, work, and react beyond human capabilities is paving our way to a transformed world of technology and innovation. AI-powered POS systems help retail businesses to collect and analyze huge amounts of data and derive valuable insights to make informed decisions. The use of artificial intelligence in POS leads to promising integrated automation that makes it capable of processing data from multiple payment terminals on a real-time basis. Security is one of the most critical concerns when it comes to collecting payments in a retail environment. AI helps mitigate all the loopholes relating to security by identifying loyal customers and blocking suspicious transactions. Precisely, the use of an AI integrated POS software results in better productivity within the organization as it enhances automation and simultaneously delights the customers with an easy and secure shopping experience.
The retail businesses wanting to move a step ahead in customer service experience are quite optimistic about smart POS with mobility features. The customers are no longer interested in standing in queues for making payments. Line busting is a major step retail businesses take to provide unique experiences to the customers and build their loyalty. The retail companies that are adopting mobile POS in its early stages are going to benefit in this era of rapidly changing customer preferences; winning their loyalty and retaining them becomes the topmost priority. With the use of mobile POS, your retail employees can complete the transactions anywhere in the store and improve flexibility in payment collection & processing.
Omnichannel is a concept that refers to selling through different online platforms and brick-and-mortar stores. This is beneficial in terms of gaining visibility over multiple shopping platforms and growing a customer base.If you are owning multiple retail stores, then connectivity in real-time for all the processes is critical. Investing in an integrated and smart POS system can help you maintain synchronized inventory and sales records.
Growing Opportunities in IoT (Internet of Things)
IoT-enabled smart POS systems that connect with Bluetooth devices placed at different store locations can help enhance the customer touchpoints and track their behavior. These intelligent POS systems automate the process of updating inventory, tracking returns, and customer loyalty on a real-time basis. Moreover, it allows businesses to gain valuable insights about their busiest hours, make smarter decisions , and generate more revenue. Thus, the IoT integrated smart POS system goes beyond recording the sales transactions as it also helps gather valuable data and focuses more on providing excellent customer experiences.
Accelerated Online Shopping
The emergence of Covid-19 brought several changes in terms of buyers' behavior. Online shopping accelerated suddenly after 2020 due to stay-at-home and social distancing mandates. As per GoodFirms' survey - 69.4% of respondents have increased online shopping in the post-peak Covid period. The reason behind this is the convenience of getting the purchased products delivered to the doorstep. To handle this acceleration in online sales, retailers need to invest in smart and integrated POS systems to streamline operations and deliver better customer service.
Contactless Payments Becoming Prevalent
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed people towards contactless payment methods that allow them to make payments using their smartphones or debit/credit cards with a "tap to pay" facility. Integrated smart POS systems are capable of accepting contactless payments providing ease to the customers and avoiding the spread of the virus. POS systems that include a chip card reader and are compatible with cashless payment options should be considered these days.
The Emergence of Digital Technologies
It has become quite normal for consumers to browse through the products and look for the reviews before making any purchase. With the prevalence of online shopping , physical stores face the threat of lagging behind in terms of revenue generation. To be at par, physical stores are now digitizing their store by executing integrated smart point of sale systems that are equipped to handle multi-channel transactions and help them sell on different online stores and marketplaces along with their brick-and-mortar stores.
One of the most significant risks in any POS environment is security. POS hacking is a major opportunity for cybercriminals and fraudsters. POS systems contain a huge amount of crucial data that includes credit/debit card details and personally identifiable information that fraudsters can use for stealing money. A smart and integrated POS system has advanced security features to prevent unauthorized access and protect the data with two-factor authentication methods. Moreover, being in a cloud-based environment and centralized information available from multiple touchpoints, store workers can identify security risks before time and take the required action to mitigate the fraud and theft instances within the store.
Are Integrated Smart POS Systems The Future of Digital Payments?
As consumers' preference for making digital payments is steadily increasing, retail businesses are looking forward to incorporating highly sophisticated and modernized POS systems. Moreover, going for cashless payments is the "new normal" today. As the pandemic continues to scare people from visiting physical stores, the eCommerce industry booms, and consumers worldwide are considering digital payments as a convenient way to conduct transactions..
Fortunately, we have integrated smart POS systems available that can meet the demands of the consumers who prefer going with cashless transactions and making payments through different e-wallets and "tap to pay" credit/debit cards.
The global use of smart POS terminals is expected to rise from 13.7 million units in 2021 to 35 million units in 2026 accounting for an exponential growth of 156%.
(Source: Juniper Research)
The reason behind this growth is - physical stores are now facing tough competition from online stores and need to stay updated with the latest technologies that help them in accepting digital payments flawlessly and gain analytical capabilities to make better decisions. Moreover, every retailer should adopt an integrated smart POS system to help them target audiences preferring cashless & secure payments, ultimately leading them towards gaining a competitive advantage and generating more revenue.
To elaborate further, here are the top 10 reasons why modern retail businesses should opt for an integrated smart POS system.
Top 10 Reasons Why Modern Retail Businesses Should Opt for an Integrated Smart POS System
#1 Streamline Processes
With integrated POS, all your business systems are connected, and thus you have quick access to customer data, products, prices, and inventories. Also, it allows you to update the data from any remote location. Overall, it keeps all your departments synchronized and on the same page eliminating the chances of errors resulting in improved accuracy.
#2 Save Time & Money
The use of an integrated smart POS system enables cutting down on the piles of paperwork, automating tasks relating to entering customer data, importing/exporting sales data within other systems in the organization, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. Generating customized reports and gaining accurate information about the sales done in the past month or stock level of a specific product lying in the warehouse is just a matter of minutes using an integrated POS system. Moreover, the time-consuming checkout process is nothing but annoying for the customers. A smart integrated POS system makes the barcode scanning process quicker at the payment terminals making the checkout process quick and easy, ultimately helping you save time & money both.
#3 Augment Customer Experiences & Loyalty
A minor mistake in the payment collection can directly impact the customers' shopping experience. A single bad experience can drive your customer away from your store and never make them return for their purchases. An integrated smart POS system makes the entire payment process flawless, helping you deliver excellent customer experiences and win their loyalty. Moreover, an intelligent POS system follows a secure way of collecting payments, thus keeping the customers' important data confidential, like credit/debit card information. This helps build the trust of the customers in your business and enables them to pay for their purchases through the payment mode of their choice.
#4 Manage Inventory Accurately
Incorporating an integrated smart POS system means updating the inventory automatically as soon as a product is sold or returned. After entering a specific SKU in a point of sale system, it processes the transaction, collects the payment, and automatically updates the inventory count. You need not worry about low stock issues or overselling instances when you have an integrated smart POS system in use. Having an accurate inventory count at your fingertips helps you manage your retail business flawlessly and gain ultimate customer satisfaction.
#5 Make Smarter Decisions with Robust Reporting
Smart POS systems with robust reporting capabilities can provide highly valuable information that can help manage all aspects of your retail business. Analytical reports can drive better decision-making, whether it is about sales forecasting or planning smart marketing strategies. The integrated smart POS systems can help you generate intelligent and comprehensive reports relating to accounting, inventory, sales, customer loyalty, staff management, task assignment, payment processing, and many more facets of your business. Have a clear interpretation of what is going on in different departments of your business with the help of an integrated smart POS and keep track of your best-selling products, the busiest hours of your store, effective marketing campaigns, and excellently performing employees.
#6 Increase Productivity Through Integrations
What if your POS is not connected to your accounting system or inventory system? Every time a product is sold, you need to rely on inaccurate and inefficient ways to get the sales information updated in other applications you are using within your department. Chances are there that your employees might miss updating information about a few sales transactions in your inventory software. In that case, inaccurate information can lead to chaos, misunderstandings, and loss of productivity. With the right integrations in POS, you gain high-end flexibility and customization that can support your retail company's unique workflows.
#7 Offer Multiple Payment Options
If omnichannel retailing can drive more customers to your business, accepting payments through multiple modes is also another way to improve sales. Customers these days are exposed to different digitized payments and always go for the payment modes convenient to them. They hesitate to shop from the store that does not accept payments through the method of their choice. An intelligent POS system that allows you to accept payments through multiple digitized payment modes becomes necessary to deploy to engage such customers and win their loyalty.
#8 Reduce Risk/Fraud
The integrated smart POS systems are far more than digital cash registers. These advanced POS systems include a series of advanced features that add value to your business by providing a secure payment environment to your customers. One of the most significant reasons to invest in an integrated smart POS system is - it helps in lowering the risk of internal and external frauds and thefts.
#9 Better Cash-Flow Management
Incorporating a smart POS system is a step further in managing cash flow within your business. You might already have one in your store, but is it smart enough to display a detailed view of cash transactions done on a daily basis? If not, you really need to get an integrated intelligent POS system that displays the entire cash flow of your business from a single platform. It provides the full picture of the cash transactions done from all your payment touchpoints within your brick-and-mortar stores, and online platforms make it easy for you to comprehend and bifurcate your cash, credit card, and mobile payments.
#10 Access Information from Anywhere at Anytime
Last but not least, accessing information from anywhere at any time is the most obvious benefit that an integrated smart POS system can provide. Whether you are present at your office, home, or in a coffee shop, having real-time information about the inventory and sales transactions done from any of your retail locations is a blessing. On the contrary, on-premise traditional POS systems store the data in the local server and are not accessible from other locations or devices. These days, for any retail business, having access to updated information is highly significant to deliver better customer experiences and stay competitive.
With rapid changes in the way retail businesses work, obsolete systems can prevent from unlocking the full potential. So, if you are looking to invest in a POS system, then an integrated smart POS (Point of Sale) software system can be the best choice.
Finally, a smart thing to do when it comes to running a retail business successfully is to select the right POS system. By deploying a free and open source POS software, you can extensively customize your payment terminals and function exactly the way you require. On the other hand, a cloud-based POS system is easy to deploy and use - making it a perfect choice for small businesses and startups. So, depending on your business size and requirements you can choose the one that best suits you. Last but not the least, do consider going through this buyer’s guide to the POS software to make a smart purchasing decision.