An Integrated Point of Sale (IPOS) system is one that connects to a merchant’s “back office” computer, and handles both internal functions like inventory control as well as external ones like electronic funds transfer (EFT-POS). It normally combines an electronic cash register with a card reader and a PIN keypad.
Integrated Point of Sale (IPOS) systems offer businesses the ability to complete credit/debit transactions directly through the system over a broadband Internet connection without resorting to a separate processing terminal. The systems, which are proliferating rapidly in the retail sector, help speed checkout lines, thereby allowing more transactions per hour.
With integrated processing, transactions take under three seconds and pricing errors are minimized because manual entry steps on the credit/debit terminal have been eliminated. If you are shopping now for a POS system, these observations, and the following important considerations, should be foremost in your mind.
The Future Is Now
Some current POS systems are not capable of integrated credit/debit processing, and there are greater differences between POS and IPOS systems than the letters in their acronyms. If your POS software is fewer than three years old, but not flexible enough to keep pace with the latest industry trends, then you have first-hand evidence of a software developer that did not do sufficient R&D. You will pay for this oversight sooner or later, since IPOS is the wave of the future, and the future is now. Your antiquated technology will need to be replaced.
It would have been much easier – and cheaper, of course – merely to upgrade to the current version of your POS software than to move to an entirely new, and potentially quite different, system. Maintaining consistency in this area will eliminate the need to train yourself and your employees on a new system, saving you time and money – not to mention the money you will save by not having to buy that new system at all.
If you’re in the market for a POS system, you should get one that is
capable of integrated credit/debit processing even if you may not use
that feature right away. And remember that not every POS system will
properly integrate with every merchant service provider, so you should
do your homework in advance and determine what POS/IPOS systems will
integrate with your service provider.
Of course, if you are starting from scratch – and don’t even have a merchant account yet – you can do a thorough investigation of possible integrations to find the best combination of merchant services and POS system for your situation. If you choose a POS system without doing this due diligence, you will unnecessarily limit the range of compatible merchant service providers. Conversely, picking a service provider first will limit your choice of POS systems. With a coordinated approach, your choices will be maximized.
Support and performance
Your VAR (Value Added Reseller, the company that sold you your POS system) may be more familiar with one particular integration scheme over any others. In fact, the VAR may even have developed the integration software. If that is the case, then you can expect excellent support. When researching possible POS systems – but before choosing your merchant service provider – ask your VAR for input and advice concerning various possible integration approaches.
Integrating your credit/debit processing with your POS system is no longer the “latest and greatest” merchandising gimmick, but a proven way to increase your sales while simultaneously lowering your expenses. Do your homework, look at all the separate components (POS, merchant service provider, types of equipment, hardware/software) and consider a wide range of integration approaches in light of your particular business and its unique characteristics and operations. Whether customized or off-the-shelf, there is a system – and an integrated one, too – that has all “the right stuff” for your business.