Advances in modern payment processing

Long gone are the days when mechanical cash registers were the norm at every store or supermarket. Today, thanks to technological advances, point-of-sale (POS) systems have evolved from simple cash registers ringing up sales, to fully fledged retail management systems. Despite these advances, there are still a significant number of retailers, especially in the convenience industry, who are still running stores on electronic cash registers.

First invented in the 1800s in Ohio, the cash register was the brainchild of James Ritty, a successful saloon keeper and liquor dealer, who was trying to find ways to avoid being fleeced by his employees.

Over the following decades, incremental improvements were made to the cash register, enabling cashiers to ring up sales faster and to efficiently keep track of transactions. By the mid-1900s, the mechanical cash register, featuring the crank, had become a familiar presence in the retail industry.

The emergence of computers in the 1990s transformed traditional cash registers into computerised POS and also led to the introduction of barcode scanners and PC-based point-of-sale systems.

The rise of PC-based POS also coincided with the evolution of payments from the usage of cash to card. While it remains debatable whether the rise of PC-based POS led to the demand for card payments or vice versa, the demand for card payments led to standalone credit card devices being developed and connected to POS systems.

The fact that retailers no longer have to transcribe the transactions data, printed onto paper tapes, into an accounts system has freed up a huge amount of their time. With a modern EPoS system, retailers can easily integrate their accounting; keep track of their inventory; forecast sales; and even manage customer relations all through one place.

With the widespread proliferation of mobile devices, it’s not surprising that the next step in the evolution of POS is towards mobile (MPoS). Now it’s commonplace to tap your iPad or smartphone to pay at your local coffee place and other smaller retail establishments.

While EPoS and MPoS are standard on the high street, the convenience industry is behind the trend, with numerous stores operating on outdated technology. It means convenience retailers are losing their competitive edge to the bigger players like Tesco or Sainsbury’s.

At PayPoint, we know how important it is to be at the forefront of technology innovation in order to meet consumers’ demands. PayPoint One, our new retail platform, combines three separate solutions (EPoS, card payments and PayPoint services) and is designed to help retailers run their whole store from one device.

The cloud-based EPoS solution also allows retailers to manage their businesses from anywhere with any device, providing important data and even real-time updates on the performance of their stores. Retailers are now armed with the necessary data to compete efficiently against the bigger players.

Point-of-sale software can only be as good as its ability to integrate with popular customer services and meet retailers’ needs. PayPoint One is built to be future-proof, built on a flexible Android platform giving the capacity to evolve according to customers’ and retailers’ needs.

In the next few years, this flexibility will play a key role in the evolution of POS systems. As consumers increasingly use multiple channels to shop, POS systems will need to evolve even further to provide features which allow retailers to stay up-to-date on various channels (offline and online) from one platform.

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