What is an EPOS System? 6 Quick Facts to Know

An Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS) is must-have equipment for modern day businesses combining hardware and software to allow you to take all types of payments. If you’re a company just starting out, then the ring of the till is probably the one sound you’re most eager to hear. In this is the era of contactless cards and digital wallets, a time when ‘money’ is not synonymous with ‘cash,’ wise business owners are those who are set up to take payments in all forms. In 2020, a quarter of all payments were made by contactless methods.

Fortunately, it’s easy – and doesn’t have to be expensive to get equipped to take contactless and card payments and even to get up and running with a fully-fledged EPOS system.

Square EPOS Software

Square offers free EPOS software to get your business up and running.

How do EPOS Systems Work?

Electronic POS systems link your card payment devices and till to a computer or device to allow you create a totally integrated payment processing system.

EPOS systems are amazingly versatile. The basic technology lets you finalise sales and accept all sorts of card and digital payment, all this requires is POS software and a card reader. EPOS systems also make portable payment systems a breeze, with their tech able to be squeezed into pocket-sized hardware, run on smartphones or loaded onto a laptop.

For large retailers like supermarkets, an EPOS can be made to work with barcode scanners, touchscreen input and weighing scales – all tech you’re sure to have noticed in your nearest self-check out. But EPOS tech isn’t just for the big names and high street giants, powerful tech is just as applicable to the smallest business. EPOS is about convenience and efficiency, no matter how big or small your business is.

Integrated hardware such as a EPOS Register is also a great solutions for those looking for a seamless experience between EPOS software, hardware and taking payments.

How is EPOS Different to Standard Cash Tills?

EPOS systems allow you to take all types of payment but also provide lots of other functionality to keep your business running smoothly.

If you are a cash-only business not yet initiated into the world of EPOS, you run the very real risk of losing sales. With the average Brit carrying no more than £22 in cash at any time, substantial purchases won’t be very forthcoming unless an EPOS/card reader is, too. Not only is the cash-only approach crippling to your sales figures, it also gives the impression of your business being old fashioned (an iPad EPOS vs a standard cash till makes for quite the contrast).

So, how is an EPOS different to a standard cash till? Simple, one is the past, the other is the future of your business.

Here are six key reasons you should get your business equipped with an EPOS system:

1. They don’t have to be expensive

Electronic cash till? £70. EPOS? Free.

That’s a pretty good argument. Cash registers are rarely cheap, require maintenance and need to be constantly plugged in, so they do your utility bill no favours, either.

A good EPOS (we think we know just the one) requires no more than your smartphone or iPad to run, can be connected with other EPOS hardware that runs wirelessly and only requires charging at intervals - and, in the case of Square, is completely free.

2. They’re fast

Cash is slow, you’re sure to know this. Waiting for customers to fish the correct amount out from their purse, dealing with change, trying to make sure you give the correct amount back. EPOS systems make it all digital. You pay by card or digital wallet – just press your phone or contactless card to the reader, or type in your PIN – and that’s it. The electronic POS system charges you the exact amount, no cash, no fuss and no human error that may end up with customers being short-changed. It’s faster, fairer and for your small business, it’s a game-changer when it comes to getting those sales through.

3. You don’t need to pay for yearly maintenance or monthly fees

Once you download Square’s EPOS app, it’s yours to use. No user fees or membership costs. Rates for accepting card and contactless payments are fair and low-priced, and features like employee management and customer feedback are completely free to use.

4. You can use them to process new payment methods like contactless payments

Contactless cards, chip and PIN, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, even magnetic stripe cards from overseas, Square’s EPOS combined with our Reader and backup magnetic stripe card reader means your EPOS will do far more than an old-fashioned cash register ever could. That means you won’t miss out on sales.

Square Reader is an entry level EPOS that has enough functionality to be a long-term payment processing solution for many small businesses. For a £19 investment you’re equipped with a mobile card reader that you can link to a POS on your phone to allow you to take card and contactless payments. It’s small, portable, reliable and extremely simple to use.

Square Terminal provides additional functionality, still at a great, low price. The handheld terminal is just as lightweight and portable as Square Reader and has the additional benefits of a built-in touch screen that customers can tap their PIN into, when necessary, as well as a receipt printer.

5. They save you time and money

EPOS systems are easy to learn (no need to have senior staff spend a whole day training new starters), easy to use (sales done in seconds) and do far more than they say on the tin (there’s a whole lot of value for money in this one little app). Plus, they run from your smartphone or tablet - EPOS watches, UK smartwatch owners will be happy to hear, are even a thing with Square being compatible with Apple Watch.

Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the ways our EPOS system could revolutionise your business, cut down your costs and boost up your sales:

  • Faster checkout
    Less staff needed to man the tills equals lower overheads and happier customers

  • Accurate, real-time inventory management
    Our EPOS software tracks your stock, so you can reducing the risk of waste or stagnant goods by always being on top of your stock

  • Improved customer experience
    Accept any way customers want to pay, send them a digital receipt and have their purchase complete in seconds

  • More accurate pricing
    You can save discounts, happy hour deals and other offers within our EPOS, so your staff will always price things up correctly at the till and customers always get the deal they expect

  • Affordable integrations
    Square has teamed up with top industry apps including Ecwid and Weebly so you can look after every aspect of your business from your EPOS. Better yet, it makes going omnichannel – the future of any successful retailer – a breeze, even for the smallest business

  • Real-time sales analytics
    Track sales by period or employee and get an unrivalled overview of what works best for your business, your customers and your sales figures

The Square EPOS system can also seamlessly integrate with your online channels to enable you to break into eCommerce and online sales too. You can set up a free Square online store to start making sales in just a few clicks and with no need for any coding knowledge. If you already have a website you want to use our EPOS with, that’s fine too. Square integrates with all the best eCommerce platforms. You can also create and customise simple buy buttons to allow sales from your social media posts or e-newsletters.

6. You can integrate them with other software like inventory and accounting

Because EPOS is all digital, it’s quick, easy and completely seamless to integrate it with other software. Our App Marketplace is full of helpful extra apps to let you make the most of your EPOS system. It’s not all about sales either, our app extras ensure the smooth running of your business at every turn. Xero gives you the option to perform online accounting and integrates with Square so your numbers are all there and ready to get calculated in-app. Shopventory gives you enhanced analysis of your business, stock, inventory and profit margin, with key facts and figures about the state of your inventory and profit ready at any time.

An EPOS is a small change that will make a huge difference to how easily and effectively you can achieve success in your business.

Related articles

How to Choose the Best Card Reader for Your Business
What’s the Best Point of Sale for my Business?
Accepting Card Payments: A Guide