EPOS System: What Is It? How Does It Work?

Are you using a reliable EPOS system for your business?

If not, then it’s high time you do.

POS cash registers used to be perfect — until you start handling thousands of orders. Tracking your inventory eats up hours supposedly spent on other critical tasks, among others. 

This is why traditional POS cash registers or tills are now extremely inefficient.

With EPOS software, though, you completely revolutionize your business. Read on to answer questions such as, “What is an EPOS System?” “What’s the difference between a POS and an EPOS?” etc.

EPOS System: Table of Contents

  • What is an EPOS system (or software)?
  • What’s the difference between a POS and an EPOS
  • Types of EPOS systems
  • Tips for successful EPOS Purchase
  • Popular EPOS systems
  • Frequently asked questions about EPOS systems

What is an EPOS system (or software)?

An electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system is a combination of hardware and software that streamlines payment processing, tracking sales, and other related functions. 

You can connect an EPOS system to your ecommerce website, and its online-to-offline integration seamlessly gives customers stock information, improving the shopping experience.  

EPOS systems are essentially tills but are also the software that comes with your POS cash register. These help you monitor and understand your sales, inventory, and remaining stocks. 

Some EPOS systems with advanced features even let you set shift schedules to manage your staff and can integrate with other software. 

An EPOS system typically consists of software, hardware, and payment processing.

Software

Most of the EPOS system’s functions are dictated by the software. Depending on your specific business needs, common EPOS software features you get can include:

  • Order and purchase processing
  • Stock control and monitoring
  • Discounts and promotions
  • Ecommerce website integrations
  • Loyalty programs

You might also require additional or special functions to suit your business’ unique needs. This makes it crucial to find EPOS system suppliers offering scalable software and customized, best-fit solutions.   

EPOS Hardware

EPOS hardware component requirements can vary from business to business. 

Generally, the core EPOS system hardware consists of a terminal screen, usually a touchscreen display for quick data entry, where you input customer orders and process payments. 

Other EPOS hardware is linked through wireless connections or cables and may include:

1. Barcode scanner

This is an electronic scanner that reads barcodes and identifies product information within the EPOS system. The two types of barcode scanners are the handheld, which you hold directly to the barcode, and the multiline scanner that reads barcodes from various angles for quick scanning.

2. Receipt printer

This is usually a small printing device that creates customer transaction records for their purchase.

3. Point of Sale (POS) or credit card terminal

A device that interfaces with payment cards (credit, debit, etc.) to make electronic fund transfers.

4. Process Data Quickly (PDQ) terminal

A device used for accepting credit card payments

5. Cash drawer

A metal drawer you can lock to secure your cash. EPOS systems regulate who can open cash drawers on specific instances, minimizing theft.

6. Pole display or customer display

A standing device that shows prices and advertising details to customers at the POS.

7. iPad or tablet EPOS

A movable piece of hardware used instead of or alongside the traditional POS in streamlining business activities. This is best for small retail shops with limited space or enterprises needing greater mobility (e.g., quick-service restaurants, mobile vendors, etc.) 

Payment processing

Payment processing is a contract between your business and a bank to move money from your customers’ accounts to yours for a fee. 

What’s the difference between a POS and an EPOS?

The primary difference between a traditional and an electronic POS lies in the software connecting the hardware to the payment processing unit and their implications to your business.

Traditional POS requires manual operations and slow financial reconciliation and cannot support quick debit for business transactions.

On the other hand, EPOS works as a unified ecosystem that can automate several practical business activities. 

Its linked systems depend on the main server to share information and EPOS software to run and review transactions.

EPOS links up with the inventory (through the server) and purchased products (though barcode reading). Because of that, EPOS can instantly obtain the prices of millions of referred items and update inventories.

The linked devices in the EPOS also function to connect physical payment terminals with real-time networked card processing.

Additionally, businesses using an EPOS collection can brand their systems with their company colors and adjust the appearance and functionalities to their needs.

Types of EPOS systems

Following are the different EPOS types and business use cases:

Retail EPOS 

This system suits these businesses: the supermarket, grocery stores, pharmacies, flower shops, general and hardware stores, and others.

Fashion EPOS

The fashion EPOS software is best for boutiques selling apparel, jewelry, and footwear; suit shops, fabric stores, and more.

Beauty Salon EPOS system

Beauty EPOS users often include hair and beauty salons, gym and workout centers, spas and massage parlors, tanning lounges, treatment rooms, hospices, and all other salon kinds.

Service EPOS System

Businesses frequently using this EPOS type are launderettes, key-cutting booths, watch, shoe, and any other repair shops, garage jewelers, and transport and distribution centers, among others.

Hospitality EPOS System

The hospitality EPOS is most useful for standalone hospitality enterprises and multi-international franchises and chains, such as cafes and restaurants, inns and hotels, fast food centers, pubs and bars, and many more.

Tips for successful EPOS Purchase

Here are six essential EPOS purchase tips for your business:

1. Examine your unique business requirements.

Ask yourself: Which departments in my store should I focus on the most? Which processes need the greatest amount of improvement?

Consider also those sections and processes that, although you’ve already established, still run inefficiently, leading to misguided decisions and wasted resources.

Examine these business aspects, for instance:

  • Integrated mail order and ecommerce schemes
  • Online ordering for in-store pick-ups
  • Delivery tracking and other options
  • Hardware preferences
  • Business size and stock diversity and range
  • ID prompts and age authentication
  • Member loyalty and promotions programs
  • Mobile POS
  • Synchronous class and appointment calendars
  • Performance analysis and reporting capacities
  • Preferred hardware tools
  • Third-party app integrations

2. Check your business transactions and activities.

Study how you should process your transactions. For instance, will you need touch screens or barcode scanners?

Depending on your EPOS supplier, you can select your payment processor or integrate with one that your EPOS provider endorses.

3. Consider your long-term operations.

Getting the best EPOS system for your store is a long-term asset investment since replacing it again years later can be cost-inefficient.

So visualize your company’s future and ponder on these questions:

  • What do your customers require and expect from your business?
  • How can your store’s demands change over time?
  • Do you have plans to scale your business and offers?
  • Will you require harmonizing new sales channels or platforms?

Answering these conditions and ensuring your EPOS tool supports these potential future adjustments helps you decide which EPOS software to obtain.

4. Determine your installation needs.

Most shop owners set up their EPOS themselves, likely because they have internal staff to do it or overspend if they acquire installation services.

See whether you have the capabilities to set up your EPOS correctly. Otherwise, include affordable, expert installation services in your budget to ensure smooth operations later.

5. Think of extra app integrations you’ll eventually need.

Installing additional software tools is often necessary to accommodate your industry’s and customers’ dynamic needs.

If you believe you’ll be doing that in the future, get an EPOS that can support third-party app integrations. Ask your EPOS provider first if you can expand the system’s functionalities before buying.

6. Prefer buying over renting your EPOS.

While renting lets you acquire your desired EPOS equipment for low upfront prices, industry specialists recommend otherwise.

This is because, in most cases, you eventually end up spending more money than the software is worth. Plus, you won’t own it once the lease ends. If you choose to keep it, you’ll have to pay additional fees.

EPOS rental service providers are also likely to hand you used EPOS equipment. As with other mechanisms, used EPOS equipment can have several defects by the time it reaches your turn, disrupting your operations and profit generation.

What’s more, leasing contracts often come in lock-in payment schemes for extended periods,  disallowing cancelation. Should you close your shop and return the system, you’re still tied and required to settle the balance.

So, although purchasing an excellent EPOS software calls for higher upfront payments, you can turn out saving money. If you want, you can begin with the essential features and add accessories and other functions once your budget allows you to cover them.

Alternatively, while I advised against getting used EPOS equipment, you can buy them from highly trusted suppliers (with warranty provisions), ensuring you’re the first or second user and testing the compatibility and functionality before purchasing.

Used EPOS equipment is expectedly lower-priced than new EPOS systems but can still work well as proven by your supplier.

Popular EPOS systems

Following are some well-known EPOS software programs you can use for your business:

Pack4it

EPOS System: What Is It? How Does It Work?-Pack4it

Image Source: Pack4it.

Pack4it’s EPOS is a cloud-based platform that provides updated stock and sales data, transparently manages retail and online sales orders, and allows you to control your product and vendor stocks. 

Because it’s cloud-based, Pack4it is compatible with any device and operating system, be it Apple or Mac, Windows, or Android. It also accepts various payment types and service integrations, reads barcodes for rapid order processing, and functions with any POS hardware you’re already using.

Finally, it offers marketing features that boost your customer experience, e.g., loyalty programs and refunds. 

Pack4it best supports these industries:

  • Fashion, jewelry, and footwear
  • Beauty and health
  • Bookshop, stationery, and printing
  • Supplies and equipment

Shopify

EPOS System: What Is It? How Does It Work?--Shopify

Shopify is among the most popular EPOS software programs around. It lets you sell online, on social media, and in person, and comes with inbuilt functions to create and study digital marketing campaigns.

Shopify has a user-intuitive, comprehensive dashboard for handling orders, payments, and deliveries. Companies love its stock management tools, including its versatility and ease of use.

Shopify’s EPOS is best for several business types, excluding hospitality. Ecommerce, dropshipping, fashion retail, and cafe shops are its frequent users.

Lightspeed

EPOS System: What Is It? How Does It Work?--Lightspeed

Lightspeed is another cloud-based retail EPOS platform that helps you organize your stocks and purchase orders. It comes with cash drawer controls, accounting features, and several other functions, including a fully integrated ecommerce platform.

Lightspeed also has a clean, simple-to-use interface and is accessible on mobile and desktop computer devices. Users even laud it for its stellar customer support.

This EPOS software is suitable for restaurants, retail stores, and golf course businesses.

Frequently asked questions about EPOS systems

1. What are the benefits of EPOS systems?

Using EPOS lets you accept card payments, integrate accounting tasks, and manage operations and workloads more efficiently and your cash on hand accurately. 

It also enables you to generate in-depth sales analysis reports, digitize receipts, and streamline transactions and marketing strategies — all of which can enhance your customer experience.

Plus, with its automation and other quick-functioning features, you can conduct especially bustling activities and adjustment periods (such as a soft opening) without a sweat (or maybe just a little).

2. How long will it take to train my staff on using EPOS?

Remote training sessions can take one to three hours for every employee; on the other hand, on-site training, with group sessions, can extend to one or two days.

However, after formally training your staff, they’ll need two to four weeks (at least) of everyday use to adjust completely with EPOS.

For startups or businesses running a soft opening, I advise training your employees for that amount of time in advance. This ensures smoothly running payment and order processing tasks and less stress for you and your employees.

3. Is EPOS software practical for small businesses?

Yes, small enterprises (including those launching their soft opening) can benefit from using EPOS as it automates and harmonizes several operations, especially manual ones. This leaves them with more time and resources for profit-generating and other critical activities.

4. How much will an EPOS purchase cost?

EPOS providers can offer starting prices ranging from $29 to $89 per month for standard packages and $69 to more than $200 for premium services.

Depending on the vendor, you can also get custom quotes and prices that fit your business set-ups.

Final Thoughts on EPOS software

EPOS is a robust tool that effectively streamlines your operations, making it a must-have for your company. 

With it, you can now save time and effort in handling purchases and payments, heighten security-related and accuracy-needing aspects, access valuable data and insights, and more — on any device.

If there’s any better time to leverage EPOS, it’s now. Explore and ask the best providers to learn how you can implement this uber-efficient system according to your business needs.

Leave a Comment