The Point of Sale hasn’t really changed in the last 2,000 years. For millennia we’ve walked into a shop or market, picked up what we want to buy, handed someone some money and left. The queues have got longer, and more tech is required, but other than that not much has changed.
Point of Sale (POS) vary wildly in their functionality and quality, in our opinion there are only a few platforms which work well and are fit to help you make the most out of your business.
Depending on the size of your business you’ve got a few options available; for now this blog will focus on the best POS for a high street shop/cafe with 1 to 10 locations. If you’re interested in what’s best as you scale past 10 shops, we’ll be sending out a new blog in the coming weeks to help with this.
The OG ePOS (electronic point of sale) providers are iZettle, SumUp, and Square. In the UK you’ve also got ePOSnow who have grown fast in the last 5 years too. If you’re looking for that extra bit of “wow” for your customers, and for your team to have a really slick and satisfying experience, then you might want to splash out on Square’s Register system.
One set back to Square is that you’ll need to front £599 upfront to get your hands on the register, however it is by a long way the slickest option out there. Square’s system is also powerful for stock management.
iZettle and SumUp are close second and third, with an iPad app that connects to their card reader easily and versatile in how they work. Conveniently syncing with Triloand our iPad POS too 😉.
All of these three have the added ease of card readers coming alongside them, and similar to Dojo the cost of payments are blended into one fee alongside the subscription. Compared to old school POS systems where you need to pay extra.
If you’re looking for something a bit more rugged and old school, then ePOS could be your way forward. They’re more traditional, and have stood the test of time. There’s nothing much special about then, but as a POS system, it works, and is hard to fault. They serve their purpose.
I briefly touched on Dojo too, this is part of a new wave of POS called MPOS, or Mobile Point Of Sale. They work on a device that’s similar to a mobile phone, and like Clover and other platforms they can fit in your pocket. Some MPOS systems go another step further where you have an App on your iPhone or Android and can take contactless payments there. Although this tech is very very new.
We’ve taken lessons from everyone while building Trilo, and seen how they do things in Asia and Africa where they’re leaps and bounds ahead of us Europeans. Using Trilo merchants either have an app on their tablet or phone where they can show a QR code to customers, or customers can even more easily scan items as they walk around the store. Effectively negating the need for a POS system in its entirety.
“But who uses POS, and why should I care?”
A good, simple and intuitive Point of Sale arrangement will transform your business, your team will be happier, customers will be able to pay faster, and your sales will increase. Think about the last time you went to the train station and you tapped your card or scanned your QR code on your phone and breezed through in less than a minute. Now think back 5-10 years ago…
You arrive with only 4 minutes until your train leaves, you now need to get in line and buy your ticket. Someone in front of you has forgotten their card, so they’re counting out cash, another person hasn’t got their railcard and is arguing with the clark to get their discount. 3 minutes later you’re at the front of the queue, the card machine takes 30 seconds to whirrr up, and finally beep you’ve paid. The tickets take 20 seconds to print out, and you’re ready to go. Rushing over to the gates you slip the ticket into the slot, and the gate fly open, racing up to the platform you arrive just as the doors are beeping closed. Another 30 minute wait lies ahead of you.
This is the difference between a good simple POS, and one which everything has to be entered manually, and takes an age to link up to the card reader. But in a shop and cafe, you don’t have 4 minutes, you have 30 seconds.
When chatting with customers and merchants throughout the UK, the majority of people were clear that their customers time is the most valuable thing in the world. You want to give them the fastest experience possible, so they can get what they want, pay, leave and then return. For that you’ll need a system that’s blazingly fast.
But here’s a question, why do we still have a Point of Sale? When we all have our phones in our pockets, what if we could make a customer’s experience blazingly fast, and effectively get rid of the ticket gates entirely 🤔. Well that’s exactly what we’re working on at Trilo, giving people the ability to walk into a shop, pick up what they want and scan them all on their phone, pay and then leave.
With this, your customers can have a really simple experience, and most of all your team are freed up to spend more time with your customers, helping them find exactly what they want, rather than being trapped behind a desk.
We’ll be showing more off of this and other alternatives to POS-less shopping soon, so stay tuned…
As I write this on the run up to Christmas, I hope you have a great break 🎄
From Hamish & the team @ Trilo
p.s. Here’s a little history of payments and point of sale devices too, why we use them and where they came from.
Thousands of years ago mankind started trading, a chicken for a few loaves of bread. This is where the first POS came in, it was quite simply a book. A way to record what has been traded and who has “paid what”.
Fast forward to the Romans and you have Abacuses and other registers, making it easy to keep track of performance. Then through to the post-industrial era and the first machines come in, with the old school Till that we all know and love.
That satisfying mechanical “shecdun, click” with every key press stayed iwth us until the 80s and 90s, when more advanced computer bases systems came into play.
Over the last decade this area has accelerated tenfold, with more options coming through left and right. Now you’re able to run your business entirely from your phone, with tiny squares of plastic.
In the next 5 years, we reckon we’re going to move away from POS entirely, and enter a world where anyone can shop and pay from anywhere, with only the customers phone and nothing else… You ready?