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What is Epos?

11 May 2020

small business epos

An EPOS defined in its simplest form is any computer based point of sale system, that can either be offline or connected to the internet.


What is Epos?
 

What does EPOS stand for?

 

EPOS, sometimes written as ePOS or EPoS, stands for Electronic Point of Sale. As a merchant, you will probably come across this term quite frequently, so this article will go into more detail about what defines an EPOS and how it can be advantageous to your business.


What is the difference between POS and EPOS?

 

The key difference between a traditional point of sale system and an electronic one is the software that links the physical hardware to payment processing. An EPOS acts as an ecosystem of connected devices that links physical payment terminals with networked card processing in real time.

Companies that use a fleet of EPOS systems can even brand their systems in company colours, customise and tailor the functionality and look to fit their business needs.  

 

Now, the structure of an EPOS will be broken down into its two main components, hardware and software.



What is EPOS hardware?

 

Hardware is equipment you can see and touch, for an EPOS the main piece of hardware you will be in contact with is the terminal. This is usually a monitor display that allows for input, very similar to a streamlined version of a desktop computer. Depending on what industry you’re in, additional input equipment can be tailored to the needs of your business.

For example, in a retail store selling clothes, your EPOS would require a barcode scanner, whereas for a supermarket or food services, a weighing scale would be advisable for loose fruits and vegetables. The list below details the hardware that most businesses may require:

 

  • Main EPOS Terminal
    A monitor which shows the user an overview of the transaction, houses payment processing software and collects all inputs from additional hardware.

 

  • Process Data Quickly (often abbreviated as ‘PDQ’) Card Payment Terminal
    This is where customers can insert their credit/debit cards and input any sensitive information like PINs and signatures.

 

  • Receipt printer
    A small printer that will print receipts on a roll of thermal paper. Receipts can be customised for each business with logos and specific returns information if relevant.

 

  • Cash drawer
    A secure drawer where cash, return receipts and vouchers are stored. This is usually only able to be opened via input through the main terminal. Businesses are able to restrict access to the cash drawer for extra security.

 

  • Barcode scanner
    An optical scanner that can translate printed barcodes into a string of numbers, usually matched with your inventory codes. Barcode scanners are a great way of quickly ringing up an order at the till with a customer.

 

What is EPOS Software?

 

The central part of an EPOS system is the software, linking everything together in a user friendly interface. Most modern EPOS systems don’t just process transactions, many of them have added functionality through their advanced record keeping and data collection. This means an EPOS can also help your business to:

  • Streamline reporting and analytics to inform merchandising and wider business decisions

  • Manage loyalty schemes

  • Manage stock levels and inventory

  • Collect and protect customer data

  • Tender discounts and process vouchers

 

EPOS software usually requires a license to run on a system, with many providers operating in the cloud on demand. This is based on the Software-as-a-service (SaaS) model where a subscription will allow a business to fully equip their EPOS systems with everything they need to process payments. Most subscriptions will include routine maintenance, software upgrades, and ongoing tech support.

As a merchant, deciding to opt for an EPOS can be a big decision but comes with several tangible benefits that can take a lot of stress and consideration from the day to day functioning of your business.

 

What are the advantages to using an EPOS?

 

  • Reduces human error

  • Gives you more pricing control

  • Faster transaction processing (and less queues)

  • Data collection and reporting

  • Handles promotions, discounts and loyalty schemes

  • Gives you an insight on inventory and stock levels

 

As a business if you are still collecting payments manually, and have no day-to-day visibility on your cash flow, a merchant cash advance can help you to invest in systems like EPOS to help take your business to another level.

 

Find out more about our EPOS solutions