A point-of-sale (POS) system is key to the growth and management of your business. Yes, a POS lets you check out customers, record sales, accept payments and route those funds to your bank. But the right POS should also help you move through transactions faster (which means sales for you and a better experience for your customers), make smarter decisions about your business and address issues in real time.
And that kind of functionality doesn’t mean that a POS system should cost you a tonne of your hard-earned money.
Traditional server-based POS systems are costly due to their hefty setup and licensing fees. Add expensive hardware and the monthly maintenances fees needed to preserve the security and software of back-office servers, and your bill ends up pretty sizeable.
Newer POS systems are cloud-based, lowering the costs of the system whilst improving security, scalability and uptime. Getting started with Square’s point-of-sale solutions is totally affordable: costing just £19 (+ VAT) for Square Reader. The POS software itself, which is packed with tools and features, comes free.
Just in case you need any further persuasion, let’s walk through the factors that influence the cost of your point-of-sale system.
The 3 biggest drivers of point-of-sale costs
Most POS systems are made up of three parts: software, hardware and payment processing. With a little research, you can determine what setup makes the most sense for your business.
POS software costs
When you’re evaluating POS software, you want to find software that works for your business (if you run a retail shop, make sure it has inventory), has integrated analytics and is easy to use for you and your employees. Even with all of these things, it doesn’t have to cost a lot — quality doesn’t always come with a huge price tags.
With traditional server-based models, as well as cloud solutions, some point-of-sale software comes with a monthly fee. But that’s not always the case — Square doesn’t charge any software fees for our standard POS.
You can buy or rent POS hardware depending on your budget and your long-term needs. The exact hardware that you need depends on your business type and the setup of your shop (or shops).
The first decision to make is whether you go with a legacy server-based system or an iPad system with a cloud POS. An iPad system has the most advantages: it takes up less counter space and you can potentially move it around the store to meet customers where they are (this makes for a great customer experience). Some modern registers either swivel to face the customer or have a customer-facing display, which helps to ensure accuracy and, again, creates a better experience for customers.
Depending on your business type, you may need to invest in a barcode scanner, scales or self-serve checkout kiosks. If you’re an agile bueinss, you can even get up and running with the lightweight setup of a tablet, cash drawer and credit card reader.
In addition to POS software and hardware, you also have to budget for credit card processing fees. You can choose a point of sale with integrated payments — like Square — or you might need to find a separate payment gateway provider to do the payment processing.
Before you choose your payment processor or your POS with integrated payments, make sure you’re aware of any long-term contractual demands or monthly fees (Square has neither). You should also be aware and prepared for the percentage cost of transactions.
Save more with Square POS
Square offers a compact, modern POS for your business. Below, you can see the hardware needed to bring your POS to life.
|Square Reader||Square Stand with Reader|
|Total cost||£19*||£109 + cost of iPad•|
|Free POS software?||Yes — Square Point of Sale||Yes — Square Point of Sale|
|Includes all hardware?||No — iPad/smartphone not included||No — iPad not included|
|Accepts chip + PIN cards and mobile payments (e.g. Apple Pay)?||Yes||Yes|
*Taxes, shipping fees and additional charges may be applicable.