EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale)

Choosing the right EPOS system

EPOS particularly benefits organisations with a large throughput of goods to a large customer base. The larger the organisation the more sophisticated the EPOS solution should be, but it may not be necessary for smaller organisations to invest in complex solutions.

  • Stand-alone EPOS systems – these cost around GBP 5,000. You receive a specialised EPOS terminal, software, a printer and a networked back office PC. Such systems often have XML or EDI links for connecting with your website or back-office systems. This would be suitable for a company with one or two retail stores, for example.

  • Software-based solutions – your existing PC equipment may be able to run an EPOS application, costing around GBP 350. Additional hardware (printer, magnetic card reader, POS keyboard, keylock, operator monitor, cash drawer and customer display) is increasingly available in plug and play form.

  • Software packages linking EPOS to your accounting system – these cost around GBP 500 per terminal. However, the back office PC will need its own software and you may need to buy additional modules for extras like Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), label printing or remote access. This approach can be cheaper and more flexible than buying an off-the-shelf system, but you may need advice on setting it up.

  • Outsource EPOS to a third party specialist – this is only just becoming available in the UK. An Application Service Provider (ASP) will ‘rent’ you specialised software and provide a secure, internet-based link to your system along with consultancy and management. The ASP can host and integrate your EDI system and deal with any technical problems. You will need a broadband connection. For more general information on ASPs click here.

  • Customised EPOS solutions – consultants and software specialists can customise / design an EPOS solution and integrate it with existing hardware / software and your web site. This is likely to cost over GBP 10,000, though costs vary enormously. This is likely to be cost-effective for companies with a large retail or hospitality outlet, e.g. a small department store or a warehouse-style shop.

Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) Business Advice: © Crown Copyright 2012

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