An electronic point of sale will only ever be as good and productive as the software that is used to make the whole ePos system work. While the possibilities offered by ePos software seem limitless, the prospective buyer should take note of several points to watch, before he takes his pick among the ever-growing list of software vendors.
Features and benefits of ePos software
Recently released software allow much more than a simple checkout.
1) Core features
The most basic features of ePos software is to handle sales data management in a high-street or online shop.
Installed on a sales terminal running windows, linux or macintosh, ePos software will typically manage the connection with the server to retrieve price information when an item is scanned and compute an invoice which will be printed out for the customer, while sales data will be saved in the shop owner’s database.
2) Advanced and optional features
However, in a connected environment, modern software have many more features.
• Stock management features may include automatic alerts and reservations when sold items are depleted beyond a given level;
• Accounting features may be so developed as to eliminate the need of specific, additional software, or at least allow a connection with such specialized software;
• The same can be said about CRM features, which may be totally included within the ePos software, or just implemented as a bridge towards other CRMs;
• Specific developments may have made ePos software more adapted to the needs of special industries, like retail or restaurants, automotive, book, pharmacy, tourism, fast food, general retail, hospitality, tour operators, tourism, manufacturing, apparel, or even fuel or jewellery !
As ePos software is going through the cloud computing revolution, traditional vendors are more and more challenged, and the access to an ePos system with fully operational software is no longer restricted to large corporations.
1) Established software vendors
Most of the traditional, established software vendors are the usual suspects within the computing industry :
• IBM, Epson and Fujitsu, which double up as ePos hardware vendors,
2) Cloud-based vendors
The introduction of cloud computing these last few years has led to the appearance of an ever-growing list of specialized vendors, disrupting the oligopoly in this market.
While it would be fastidious to list them in this guide, the reader should know that the novelty and power of cloud-based features may make the choice of cloud-native vendors over more established companies relevant.
Points to watch
Prospective buyers should be careful about a few points when selecting their ePos software.
1) Ease of installation and cost
Modern ePos systems may be so complex that their installation may look like a daunting task, so much that ePos system integrators may need to be hired.
Furthermore, the cost of acquisition of software will very often be quite high.
A cloud-based solution greatly avoids both of these issues.
2) Compatibility issues
Connecting ePos software with other software to benefit from added features is a great opportunity, but compatibility issues will have to be considered.
• The CRM features will need to be compatible with the third-party CRM used within the company;
• As will the accounting features - some ePos software is guaranteed to work with Sage.
The fact that ePos software relies on competing standards does not help.
• NCR Corporation, Epson, Fujitsu, Microsoft promote the OPOS standard,
• Oracle, IBM and NCR support JavaPOS.