For Australian businesses that operate across both retail locations and ecommerce, it’s critical to use an integrated point of sale solution that can update inventory and order status in real-time across all of your locations and warehouses. Choosing the right point of sale system can help you reduce manual workload, ensure data accuracy, and deliver a great customer experience across all of your sales channels.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • POS system, explained
  • What features are important in a point of sale solution?
  • What are some key benefits of using a point of sale system?

POS system, explained

A point of sale system refers to any device that enables a merchant to process in-store customer transactions.

Traditionally, many merchants have used a till, or cash register, with an attached cash drawer for accepting money and providing change, and a receipt printer to provide customers with a record of the transaction.

However, with new advancements in payment technologies and point of sale solutions, retailers are also embracing more versatile POS systems, many of which are connected to mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. This can often negate the need for printing receipts, as customers can receive an email receipt or decline a receipt altogether.

These POS systems provide a broad range of functionality, and are far more portable than a traditional till, enabling merchants to cash out their customers anywhere in the store, or even operate the POS system at pop-up shops, farmers’ markets, and other external events. Mobile point of sale systems are particularly helpful at restaurants, where servers can swipe customers’ cards tableside, rather than making diners wait while they process payment at a terminal.

POS systems can be integrated with multiple forms of payment technology, including credit card readers and the ability to accept PayPal, gift cards, and other forms of electronic payment.

By choosing a modern, digital point of sale solution, Australian retailers can ensure that they’re able to provide a best-in-class customer experience, while benefitting from enhanced data insights that they can use to optimise their operational efficiency.

What features are important in a point of sale solution?

When making the move from a traditional till register system to a digital point of sale solution, it’s important to think about the features that are most important to your brand and your customers. Some of the most important criteria to consider include:

Recording transactions of all types

The ability to record invoices and payments is a crucial feature for any POS system. Many modern solutions can track order statuses beyond sales, however — for example, they may be able to track data including backorders, repairs, rental items, consignments, inventory transfers, and returns. Make sure that your POS system is able to support all of the use cases you might utilise in your store.

Unified inventory management

Your POS system should eliminate the need for manual inventory tracking, by providing real-time updates to your inventory status with every transaction processed. That’s especially important if you have multiple stores and also sell via ecommerce: You’ll need a POS system that offers an integration with Shopify POS or whatever ecommerce platform you use, so that you can ensure a comprehensive view of inventory across your entire ecosystem. Some POS systems also have the functionality to automatically re-order products when they’re running low, reducing your risk of stockouts.

Employee tracking and management

Many digital POS solutions offer tools for tracking employee hours worked and performance metrics, such as how many sales they’ve made over the course of a shift. These data insights can help you easily identify which team members are on track for promotions or bonuses, and which ones may need additional training. Hourly data can also easily integrate with your payroll solution, eliminating the need for you to chase up with your team to record their hours worked.

Customer relationship management/Loyalty programme

By encouraging your customers to join a loyalty programme, you can easily track and measure their spend across your stores, and keep tabs on which items they’ve purchased in the past so that you can build personalised marketing campaigns on their behalf. You’ll also be able to monitor interactions they’ve had with your customer support team, and take note of returns they’ve made, for a holistic view of their customer journey.

Granular reporting tools

Your point of sale solution should include the functionality to not just collect data, but to analyse it across a variety of reporting types.

For instance, a restaurant might use their point of sale system data to determine the least popular times of the week for sit-down orders, and can come up with weekly specials and events to bring in more business at those times. You can also use your inventory data to determine which products are most and least popular, so that you’ll be able to adjust your restocking accordingly. You can also integrate returns data into your POS system, enabling you to monitor and respond to returns fraud more easily – a problem that accounts for $101 billion USD in total losses for retailers.

By studying trends across your order history, employee activity, customer activity, and other data, you’ll be able to surface new insights that you can use to improve your business operations.

What are some key benefits of using a point of sale system?

Moving away from a manual till system and embracing a modern point of sale solution offers a range of benefits. Key among them:

Increased business efficiency

Using a modern POS system can help you automate many of your previously manual business functions, such as managing inventory and the re-order process — cutting your operational costs and reducing the likelihood of manual errors.

A better merchant and customer experience

Shoppers will benefit from a flexible cheque-out experience that empowers them to checkout more easily and quickly, using the payment method they prefer. On the flipside, merchants will appreciate the portability of a mobile point of sale device, which can be easily moved between different locations, unlike a till.

Improved data integration

A digital point of sale solution can integrate with the rest of your tech stack, enabling you to update inventory, sales, customer, and employee data in real-time across all of your apps. That can help you track and monitor performance trends across your entire business and all of its sales channels, both online and off.

By taking the time to research your point of sale system options, you’ll be able to find a solution that fits into your tech ecosystem and helps you optimize your business operations. Finding the right POS will help you automate your workflows and deliver data insights that you can use to inform your business strategy as you scale your brand. 

Loop integrates with many Australian POS solutions.