Non-tech savvy customers and corporate executives are familiar with most basic functions of POS system; namely, its ability to allow salespersons to manage the selling process, while creating and printing receipts. This is the most visible part of POS software but far more advanced functionality can be embed into a POS system, managing, customer relationships, customer service, inventory, allowing remote support procedures and standard hardware interface, for instance. Advanced features of good POS systems should also enable support for various command protocols, thus securing interoperability between different displays and printers, on the one hand, and various POS terminals and computer devices, on the other hand.
Recently, with the rapid emergence and development of Web 2.0, a growing number of vendors provide web-based and cloud-based POS solutions. An advanced POS platform may feature web functionality, allowing POS terminals to connect to a remote corporate server within a corporate local area network (LAN) or other type of enterprise computer network. In addition, such POS solutions can be hosted on third party servers, allowing businesses to take advantage of lower costs for licensing of software, hardware and software maintenance expenditures, and payroll costs related to maintain a larger team of IT specialists. However these POS platforms require very high reliability of networks, low latency and secure connection to the serves, preventing intruders from entering the corporate network and isolating POS terminals from other sensitive segments. Such network systems are not yet in place in most ASEAN countries and till they are clod based POS systems are not a viable option.
Ability to support touch screen technology is gaining popularity among both software vendors and end-customers. A POS terminal, featuring a touch screen, usually contains all hardware and software required to run a reliable POS system, therefore, no need for connecting additional peripherals exists. These are often referred to as all-in-one POS systems and can save counter space needed for other purposes, in addition to lower costs caused by a fewer peripherals a business is forced to purchase.
Furthermore, an advanced POS system offers functionality to process and manage promotional sales, maintain records of existing customers, validate coupons and handle various types of payments, including purchases in foreign currency. This is of special interest to retailers which deal with a fair number of foreign customers on a daily basis.
Inventory management functionality is a standard in modern POS software platforms, enabling managers and back-office staff to perform operations related to indenting, issues, receipts, transfers, stock take etc. Actually, the price of a POS system that features inventory functionality is already in the same price range as systems with more limited functionality, therefore, a growing number of enterprises prefer to purchase a POS platform that offers such functions. A relatively new technology in the sphere of POS devices is a built-in functionality to support tablet and other mobile platforms using a wireless network, allowing mobile POS terminals to be used within the store of a retailer.
In fact, programmability is not considered an advanced feature of a POS system anymore, with many vendors allowing enterprises to configure their newly purchased POS terminals to suit their business needs. Internet-ready and programmable devices are already widespread, so software and hardware vendors today focus more on improving features related to security, reliability, and interoperability rather than developing new methods of communication between devices. POS platforms vary greatly from vendor to vendor, therefore, corporate executives should carefully select software and hardware that can be best customized to meet their particular business needs and requirements.