What is an EPOS and does my business need one?

May 30 2019 | PayPal Editorial Team

If you’re in the process of launching your new business, ‘EPOS’ is likely to be a term that keeps on popping up.​ An EPOS is an Electronic Point of Sale system. 
It is made up of a combination of device and apps (hardware and software) that enables a business to make a sale and accept payment.

It performs the same basic function as an old-fashioned till or cash register, but today’s EPOS systems offer so much more. It’s like comparing
Grandma’s old, black, land-line telephone to the smartphone in your pocket.

An EPOS system reduces administration and errors, improving efficiency and supporting better customer service. For small businesses, the best EPOS solution is often an app for a tablet or smartphone, usually combined with accessories like a receipt printer, cash drawer and, of course, a card reader.

EPOS apps are frequently tailored to specific business types, so whether you have a retail boutique, a taxi, a coffee shop or a plumbing business you can find exactly the functions you need – maybe an online booking system, the ability to sell online or table reservations.

Here are 5 key functions to look out for that every EPOS should provide:

1. Accept and record payments
This is EPOS at its most till-like: adding up what’s owed, taking cash and calculating change. Of course, in an increasingly cashless world, today’s EPOS should record card and contactless payments, too.

Ideally, the EPOS should be integrated with your payment technology making it seamless for both seller and customer to pay the amount owed.
Importantly, EPOS systems will keep track of your payments making it easy to cash-up at the end of the day, record your day’s sales and reconcile your bank account.

2. Create a product catalogue or menu
Reduce the chance of making errors, speed up service and be free to focus on the sale. Most EPOS systems let you create a menu of products and prices. These usually include images, making it easy to record a sale without making a mistake. That makes the process faster and helps the seller to increase eye contact with the customer. When you focus on the person, not their purchase, you build rapport, build loyalty and maybe even spot additional sales opportunities. 

3. Manage stock
By recording sales of each product (rather than just ringing up prices) you can quickly see trends: what’s selling well, what’s less popular. That helps you order efficiently so you don’t run out or over-order.
Often, you can add additional options for each item, too. For clothing, this could be size and colour. For food orders it could be “rare/well done”, “additional espresso shot” and so on.

4. Reports
With good reporting, an EPOS system can save you huge amounts of admin time and provide greater insight into your business. At a minimum, any EPOS should provide reports on:
  • Sales per period (day, week, month etc.)
  • Sales per person
  • Sales per product
  • Sales per payment method
Things to think about
If you are considering your first EPOS, think about what you need from the above. Are you happy with a paper report from a receipt printer, for example, or do you also need the ability to email the reports?

Think about future needs. You may not have staff today, but what about six months’ time? A separate card-only reader might be fine for now, but will it meet your needs when you’re busier?

Heard about PayPal Here?

Have you checked out PayPal Here? It’s our card reader for cards and contactless payments.
The PayPal Here card reader comes with a powerful, free point-of-sale app for iPhone, iPad or Android devices.

We’ve also partnered with other leading EPOS providers such as AirPOS to offer you custom POS solutions tailored to your specific needs. Learn more.
The information in these articles does not constitute financial or investment advice of any kind and does not count as a substitute for any professional advice. Always do your own research on top and seek professional advice if you want to ensure that what you do is right for your specific circumstances. Where we link to other websites, we can't be responsible for their content.

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