Run My Store
Select The POS Software First
Tips for Selecting POS System Software
Questions to Ask Yourself About POS Systems
What to Do Before You Buy POS Software
POS System Components 1
POS System Components 3
POS System Components 4
POS System Components in Detail - Page 2
Barcode Scanners - Barcode scanners are a key component in making the check-out process quick and efficient. The most common use of barcode scanners is at the check-out, where the cashier scans UPC / EAN codes. Typically, these scanner are attached to the PC with a cable or with a base station connected to the PC. In both cases, the scanning the barcode enters the UPC number on the PC just like typing it on the keyboard.
Increasingly, POS systems take advantage of wireless mobile computers with integrated barcode scanners. With these barcode scanners connected to the POS database using a wireless connection, you can update inventory quantities and complete item orders in real-time. In hospitality applications, servers can complete and add to orders without returning to a stationary POS terminal. These barcode scanners also allow "mobile kiosk" functions, where the device can act as a portable cash register complete with credit card processing capabilities. All these functions help your business become more efficient and profitable.
We cover all barcode scanners in great detail on this site. Our Get Started with Barcode Scanners page is the most popular place to start. Or, you can review the Corded Barcode Scanners page specifically for scanners hooked to the POS PC with a cord. The Mobile Computers page gives descriptions of portable computers with integrated barcode scanners.
Touch Screens - The POS system will need a monitor to provide feedback to the cashier. Touch Screens allow the cashier to use the screen itself to enter data - independently of using the keyboard and mouse. For many employees, touch screen interfaces are more intuitive to use than keyboards, and increase overall efficiency. If you are considering using touch screens with your POS system, make sure that the software you select is specifically designed for their use. This is a fairly costly option, however, with a unit cost of between $400 and $900 per station for LCD models.
Keyboards - Grocery stores and other retail POS businesses predominantly prefer keyboards with programmable keys. These special keys are programmed with keystrokes that perform special functions within the POS software. Commonly, they can come with a built in magnetic stripe reader for reading credit and gift cards. If the environment requires, you can purchase spill-resistant keyboards to assure long life and continual operation.
Receipt Printers - Giving a receipt to the customer is a given in all POS transactions. The printers that perform that function come in a variety of types and capabilities. Receipt printers use one of two print methods:
Impact Receipt Printers - Impact receipt printers are similar to old dot-matrix printers that were originally used with PC's. They use pins in a print head making impressions on the paper by impacting an ink ribbon. Impact receipt printers are the most economical option and offer the unique advantage of being able to print on multiple-ply paper for journaling and multi-copied receipts. They have disadvantages as well: they are noisy, have relatively slow print speeds and require periodic replacement of the ribbon.
Thermal Receipt Printers - Thermal receipt printers use heat-activated paper and a thermal print head to generate receipts. They are more expensive than Impact Printers, but they are faster, quieter and have fewer moving parts than an impact printer. The resolution of the printed receipt is much higher. Some thermal receipt printers come with receipt design software that adds a header and footer to every receipt. You can provide promotional advertising or coupons using this extra space. The printing is programmed directly on the memory of the printer and is independent of the POS software. An example is provided below:
Now on to some of the 'optional' or specialized POS Components - POS Components 3
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