Like their printer counterpart an all-in-one POS system combines multiple technologies and integrates them into one housing to maximize value plus convenience to the end user. When talking about an all-in-one POS system, we are referring to a system that will conveniently deliver everything a business needs to begin processing customers. While many manufacturers herald some of their products as all-in-one, they often fall short and in fact involve additional purchases and hassles.
So what exactly must an all-in-one POS system have?
Built-in Touch Screen Display – Naturally, we have to begin with the center-piece of a POS system – the user interface. Touch screens accelerate transaction processing in both the retail and food service industry. With on screen menus and quick access buttons even novice users will quickly find their way, reducing training time. The touch screen should resist spills and grime as well as demonstrate a rugged design to withstand demanding and often rough usage over time.
2. Built-in Customer Display – The customer insists to know what the clerk rings up, so that they may follow along. A built-in customer display addresses this need. Furthermore, it can serve as an advertising platform, where stores can run marketing messages and promotions, thereby potentially enhancing sales.
3. Integrated Printer with EASY-LOAD – While this may appear obvious at first, many vendors offer all-in-one products that do not have this basic requirement. This means the end user needs to buy and set-up a printer, rather than just take advantage an integrated one. While many argue that an external printer is easier to service, based on the previously defined criteria an all-in-one POS system should nevertheless come with a printer. You cannot process customers without receipts. The EASY LOAD allows users to simply drop in a paper roll, reducing downtime, when the paper runs outs. Especially desirable are fast, thermal printers to reduce wait time for customers. These should also support graphics for logos, bar codes, and marketing messages.
4. POS Software – Again this would seem obvious, but many all-in-one POS systems simply consist of an empty hardware shell with nothing running on it. Likewise, an all-in-one printer would not scan, fax, or print without software driving features. The same principle should apply to an all-in-one POS system. While one could argue that the merchant should choose what software they want to run, if we apply our defined criteria, then an all-in-one POS system should aim to dispose of additional headaches. Choosing POS software that will be 100% compatible and then having to install it, presents a major headache. If you want a complete system, this is definitely a must.
5. Interfaces – an all-in-one POS should provide the latest interfaces to support devices that are not integrated such as scales, PCs, or scanners. Especially crucial for future expansion are LAN interfaces, which allow for multiple POS systems to remain connected and share data in real time. Networking opens options for device sharing, office PCs, processing, and remote support as well. At the very least, an all-in-one POS system should include USB, RS232, and LAN interfaces.
6. Magnetic Card Reader – In order to offer services such as customer accounts, operator sign-in, or loyalty cards, you will want to have a magnetic stripe reader. This eliminates the need to manually enter data and makes such services more efficient.
7. Security – The more hardened a POS system is the better. All-in-One POS systems should adhere to this as well. Closed, embedded system will significantly reduce malware exposure, because there simply is less malware designed to attack it. Moreover, it does not allow for the installation of any kind of 3rd party software. PCs take the brunt of the abuse here due to their popularity. If we want to have something that delivers maximum value and convenience, then we should not have to install additional security or back-up software.
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