Choosing the right EPOS: the five things every retailer needs to consider

| January 23, 2019 | By

EPOS providers play an essential part to running a successful in-store experience, but it’s not easy to find one that can check all boxes. Sachin Patel, product manager (APIs & SDK) at Yoyo, reveals the five things retailers need to keep front-of-mind when deciding which EPOS provider to choose from.

Choosing the right EPOS: the five things every retailer needs to consider

With hundreds, if not thousands, of EPOS (electronic point of sale) solutions available on the market, it can be a painstaking process deciding which one to choose from. Some common requirements which retailers initially consider are aesthetics, cost, stock control, reporting and staff rostering.

Although the above are all important things to look at, this blog aims to highlight additional considerations, which if overlooked, can cause serious headaches to the retailer.

1. Formfactor

Beyond the look and feel of a pretty till, understanding the extensibility of your hardware is key to future proofing business operations.

Let’s take a slick looking iPad/tablet till, for example. Typically, these types of machines are slim and don’t offer ports to easily plug in peripherals such as scanners, cash drawers, printers, etc.

You need to consider using Bluetooth to connect to a wireless scanner (which will likely need to be kept on charge) and Wi-Fi to connect to a network printer, meaning that your local network needs to be reliable. The last thing you want is the network going down and your receipts stuck in a queue.

That being said, if you have the tech know-how or appropriate assistance, an iPad will provide you with ample counter space, hopefully a quick physical install and an easy-to-clean & replaceable piece of kit.

2. Ease of deployment

Traditional EPOS systems often require a server (or powerful computer) to sit somewhere on the retailer’s premises. This means space is required for a bunch of back of house hardware, network and power cables; most likely in a server cupboard or rack. The reason for this is so that each till can connect to the server and push/pull data – such as sales, stock, pricing & promotions.

Does your premises allow for this? If not, don’t worry.

These days, we’re lucky enough to have software services ‘in the cloud’. This essentially means minimising on-site equipment and polling data over the Internet, to a storage facility where it’s your EPOS providers’ responsibility to keep up-and-running. All you need is a good Internet connection.

Cloud-based services offer other benefits such as automatic software updates. Although it is always good to have a plan with your provider to understand the impact of such things.

3. EPOS support

We all trust service providers to be there for us in the event of catastrophe.

When things don’t work, it can be painful and costly (especially in a highly transactional environment). Imagine not being able to push that new product out to your tills, not being able to deploy a heavily advertised promotion or not being able to update your stock count, effectively taking the product off of your sales channel.

Disaster can even go a few levels above. What happens if your credit card reader goes down or your till loses Internet connection?

You may one day be unlucky enough to face either or all of the above issues.

When selecting an EPOS provider, it is recommended that you request the supplier to provide a clear list of their support responsibilities up front. Will they be available on the hours that your store operates? Do they provide on-site support, remote support or both? What do their Service Level Agreements look like?

Know how the customer support teams work – you may really need them one day!

4. Data capture

EPOS systems can provide various reporting capabilities to the retailer, i.e. reports covering daily sales, stock levels, purchase orders, etc. Alongside this, more and more retailers capture full SKU basket data through their EPOS, which is used to profile customer transactional behaviour that can create hyper-relevant rewards and marketing campaigns.

Retailers should be asking questions like ‘what data can you currently capture with each transaction?’

The answer to this specific question provides a foundation upon which future insight can be created, whether it be a customised report, dashboard or third party export to another system.

5. Integrations

Retailers often use multiple systems for multiple purposes. EPOS is used for processing sales, but there could for example be accounting software sitting on a finance manager’s computer.

Integration of both of the systems above would allow for an automated dataflow, such as feeding daily sales figures from the EPOS into the accounting system.

For this reason, it is a good idea to select an EPOS provider which has significant integrations that will be meaningful for your business. If they don’t have the integration you need, do they have the ability to build and support it? It’s worth checking before committing to them.

Yoyo offers EPOS providers the ability to integrate with the Yoyo platform, which processes more than 3 million transactions a month. It is a welcomed approach as the EPOS provider can quickly extend their own software offering, by harnessing Yoyo. 

Closing notes

It’s not easy selecting an EPOS provider that checks all boxes. Every business is different and as such, requirements vary. Exploring the above options could save you time, hassle and money