For UK-based retailers, using an integrated point of sale solution is crucial for helping you track inventory and get access to key insights on your data.

A point of sale system refers to any system that helps merchants accept and track payments from their customers. A simple cash till drawer and a paper receipt system is one form of POS system — but modern businesses are realising the importance of moving to a digital POS solution, where they can update sales data in real-time across all of their devices and channels and get insights that will help improve cost savings.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What is a digital POS system?
  • What are the key features UK merchants need in a POS system?
  • How can a POS system help you optimise your business operations?

What is a digital POS system?

A digital POS system is a modern solution that allows businesses to manage their sales, inventory, and customer data through one centralized platform. These systems are typically cloud-based and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. 

This means that merchants can make informed business decisions no matter where they are, using a tablet or mobile device. They’ll have the ability to sell from wherever it suits them, whether that’s a retail store, pop-up shop, or farmer’s market stall — adding convenience and portability to any retail business. Depending on their business needs, retailers can run a streamlined POS system from their iPad or phone, or add on POS hardware like a barcode scanner and receipt printer to enable extra functionality.

Digital POS systems also offer a variety of features designed to streamline the checkout process for customers. From contactless payments to mobile ordering, these systems make it easier for customers to complete their purchases quickly and efficiently. At restaurants, for instance, servers can cheque customers out directly at their tables, without taking their credit cards to a till for processing, expediting the checkout process and facilitating better service.

What are the key features UK merchants need in a POS system?

When looking for a digital POS system, there are several key features that UK merchants should consider:

1. Inventory Management: A good POS system should have robust inventory management capabilities. This includes real-time tracking of stock levels, automated purchasing and restocking, and the ability to set low-stock alerts. That will save your team time and labour doing manual inventory management, and help ensure that your stock levels are always balanced.

2. Sales Reporting: The best POS systems offer detailed sales reporting, allowing merchants to track their daily, weekly, and monthly sales data. You can track sales trends and top-performing products, as well as those that aren’t selling, and use that data to come up with strategic promotions to help reduce unwanted inventory, and make smarter decisions about future orders.

3. Contactless Payments: Since the pandemic, more than half of all shoppers have moved to contactless payment solutions: They’re both more convenient and more hygienic than using alternative payment options. A digital POS should enable you to offer payment options including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and digital gift card solutions, so you can meet your customers where they are.

4. Customer Relationship Management: Offering customer relationship management (CRM) tools allows merchants to gather valuable data about their customers and tailor marketing strategies accordingly. This can include tracking purchase history, sending targeted promotions and discounts, and creating loyalty programmes — for instance, when the customer ties their account to their phone number, they can get access to discounts after spending a certain amount with your store.

5. Integration with E-commerce Platforms: If you’re running an online store in addition to your physical one, choosing a POS system that seamlessly integrates with e-commerce platforms like Shopify is essential. You’ll be able to automatically update your inventory levels in real-time across both online and retail locations, and can move product from one location to another based on needs.

How can a POS system help you optimise your business operations?

Moving from a legacy POS system, like a cash register till, to a digital POS solution will give you the tools to streamline efficiency across multiple facets of your business.

With a digital POS system, you can:

  • Deliver a superior customer experience

Using a mobile point of sale solution lets you deliver a more convenient checkout experience for your customers. Rather than asking them to wait at a cash register, you can bring a card reader or contactless payment terminal to them. Empower them to use their preferred payment method, and complete transactions instantly. Link their account with a digital loyalty programme, where they can take advantage of store credit or rewards. They’ll appreciate the speed and ease of your POS system – resulting in improved retention.

  • Reduce manual labour

Using a digital POS system makes it easy to automatically track and update inventory levels across all of your sales channels, whether retail or ecommerce, and place reorders. That can save your crew hours or days of time spent manually tracking inventory, and ensure that you have real-time accuracy into all of your sales data. A digital POS system can also reduce the time spent on manual data entry for customer information, as customers can enter their own information directly into your mobile interface, reducing the likelihood of errors.

  • Use data insights to improve operational efficiency

An integrated mobile point of sale can not only track your sales; it can also track which employees are making the sales. Identify gaps in training by understanding which sales members are underperforming, and reward your top performers. You’ll also have clear insights to help you understand which products are big sellers and which ones aren’t hitting the mark, enabling you to run promotions to clear overstock and make informed choices on product reorders.

  • Run your entire business from the cloud

Your point-of-sale software helps you integrate data throughout your entire business ecosystem with real-time updates to inventory levels, instant access to sales reports, and integration with your CRM and loyalty programmes so that you can understand trends in customer behaviour and reward your most loyal customers. You can even integrate your pending shipments and returns data, ensuring that you have a holistic view of your entire supply chain for better inventory management. You’ll be able to view all of your sales transactions and other back office data in one centralised dashboard from an iPad or mobile device, giving you the insights you need to make strategic business decisions.

Want to integrate ecommerce returns data into your POS system? Loop Returns POS helps you streamline inventory management with better returns visibility.