Video: What Is a Point of Sale System?

Video transcript

Hi all, Matt here again from Style Factory — the go-to site for ecommerce advice. In this short video, I’m going to explain what a point of sale system is, and how to choose one for your business.

But before I get started, here’s my usual reminder to like this video, subscribe to our channel and hit the notifications bell. This will give you easy access to all our ecommerce resources.

Right, let’s dive in.

A ‘point of sale’ is simply the place where you sell products.

Thanks to digital technology, these days you can sell products to consumers in any location — at home, at work, in a shop or at a market stall.

And a point of sale system is the software and hardware that lets you accept payments for those products.

But increasingly, the phrase ‘point of sale’ — POS for short — is being used to refer to the practice of accepting payment for goods in physical locations, rather than via an online store.

That said, because many retailers now sell both online and offline, point of sale systems often comprise both an online store AND the tools to sell in physical locations.

With an ‘all in one’ POS system like this, any time a customer makes a purchase, be that via an online store or in a physical location, the number of products recorded as being in stock is reduced accordingly.

This means that regardless of how or where a purchase is made, the merchant knows exactly how many products he or she has left, and when it’s time to order more stock.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, there are two main components to a POS system: the software and the hardware.

These days, the software usually comes in the form of a browser-based web application. This can be an online store solution like Shopify, which is geared towards merchants selling via an online store AND at point of sale, or a system like Lightspeed, which is more focussed on providing services to merchants that mainly sell in physical locations.

As for hardware, this will typically involve things like barcode scanners, credit card readers, receipt printers and cash registers.

To set up a point of sale system you’ll need to identify the software solution and hardware that’s most relevant to the locations you’re operating in, and the type of selling you’re doing.

You’ll find some links to some popular POS systems in the video description below, but the key questions you need to ask yourself when choosing one are:

  • Do I need a solution that lets me create an online store, or am I only ever going to sell products in a physical location?
  • Does the system I’m considering cater adequately for local tax rates?
  • Do I need to accept cash, or will credit card payments suffice?
  • Are there any POS systems available that are designed to work particularly well for my industry?
  • Will my POS system accept payments via mobile device — for example Apple Pay or Google Pay?

As with all forms of selling, the key thing is to find a system that best suits the needs of your potential customers, and makes it as easy as possible for them to complete transactions.

And that’s it – our quick introduction to point of sale systems!

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And if you have any questions about point of sale, just leave them in the comments below. We read them all and will do our best to help.

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