As a pet product supplier, the last thing you want is enthusiast pet parents feeling disappointed because their online purchase or even in-store purchasing experience is anything less than pawesome! Quick, streamlined, and simple payment processing is the aim for both you and your clients.
If you’re wondering what solutions would work best for your pet store, you’re in luck, because we have it!
Combining point of sale (POS) with ecommerce has become more essential as digital commerce continues to evolve. Such synchronization lets you get detailed data from the system in real-time and streamlines payment processing and orders across offline and online channels. You won’t be left guessing about your sales, stocks, or who you’re delighting along the way (which will be pet parents, pets, and of course, your staff exposed to the daily sales operations)!
If you have an online or offline pet store, payment processing with POS software allows you to streamline your operations, improve customer satisfaction, extend your website’s existing functionality, and attract a broader audience to your brand. You’ll get a centralized solution for online and offline transactions with different payment methods and can benefit from automatic inventory updates for all sales.
Read on to learn more about POS systems and payment processing, how they work, supported payment methods, the benefits, trends, and choosing the right POS for your pet store business.
Defining Point of Sale Systems and Payment Processing
First of all, if you’re new to it, you may wonder what a POS is! A point of sale (POS) system is software or hardware that allows your customers to check out online or in-store. It’s where the customer executes the payment for goods or services, enabling your business to accept payments and keep track of sales. It can be a physical device in brick-and-mortar stores or checkout points in web-based or online stores.
Payment processing refers to a series of actions that allow your business to accept non-cash payments and includes digital communications between processing networks, banks, and POS systems. You must implement payment processing if you want your business to accept payments through credit cards, bank transfers, or virtual wallets.
The Evolution of Payment Processing and POS Systems
Payment methods have evolved throughout the ages from battering livestock for goods and services to using hard cash in the form of precious metal coins and leather money that was as large as one square foot. Paper money was eventually developed, but it faced various challenges, like maintaining and determining the value of paper money before gold started getting used as its standard of value.
Paper money later evolved into cheques and credit cards to make spending more convenient, and the rise of the internet led to the emergence of e-commerce and e-payments.
Technological changes have also allowed POS systems to evolve from simple cash registers to complex control modules. The POS was initially a simple mechanical device that could track cash transactions and prevent employee theft. They were enhanced in several ways, but significant evolutions occurred in the 1970s when computer-driven cash registers were introduced. Today, POS systems are entirely digital, allowing customers to pay using different methods from anywhere while improving clarity on all sides of the transaction.
How Does a POS System Work in Payment Processing?
Payment processing includes the customer, a payment processor, a payment gateway, a credit card or bank company, and a merchant or business account. Payment processing starts at the POS, where they present their payment method like a credit card. The POS system then communicates with the customer’s financial institution to verify that funds are available for the transaction amount.
The POS system also communicates with the business’s payment processor, usually the same company that issued the POS software or hardware. The card data, including the name and account number, is passed through a payment gateway built into the POS system, which connects the information from the customer’s bank account to the merchant’s account through the payment processor.
The consumer’s bank confirms whether funds are available, and the transaction is approved or declined. Once approved, the issuing bank lets the merchant know by communicating with the payment processor. The transaction gets recorded, and all parties involved, including the customer and merchant, are notified through the payment gateway.
Types of Payment Methods Supported by POS Systems
POS systems can support different types of payment methods, including:
- Cash – Requires a POS system connected to a cash drawer when an order is created, where staff receives money and pays back the change.
- Card payments – Requires card readers that let customers pay securely.
- E-wallets – Requires terminals or QR codes that support contactless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or WeChat Pay.
- Checks – Although less common, this requires a check scanner that scans an electronic copy of the check and submits it to the customer’s bank to check for fund availability.
- Digital Currency – Requires a third-party processor to offer cryptocurrency processing.
Benefits of Using POS Systems for Payment Processing
Improved efficiency and accuracy in transactions
POS systems help streamline operations through automated payment processing, reconciliation, settlement, and reporting. This helps eliminate manual, inefficient processes of capturing payments which can result in errors and delays in processing payments. Waiting time is significantly reduced for customers, and employees become more efficient in completing transactions.
Enhanced tracking and reporting capabilities
POS systems can track all your transactions and provide daily revenue insights. You can consult your data anywhere, anytime, and create reports automatically to get a real-time view of your business. You can track and get reports on various aspects of the business, including sales, prices, and purchases, to know how your store is progressing.
Better inventory management
Some POS systems feature inventory tracking capabilities where your stock counts update automatically every time a bar code is scanned into your POS, either at checkout or when you receive inventory.
Increased customer satisfaction
Customer expectations have grown rapidly with technological changes, and POS systems can ensure you satisfy such expectations. It gives customers different payment options and allows your store to complete transactions faster, reducing waiting times and increasing customer satisfaction.
Choosing the Right POS System for Your Business
Business type and size
The type and size of your business can determine the right POS system for you. For example, brick-and-mortar stores run differently from mobile or online stores. Although a single POS terminal can be sufficient for most stores, you’ll likely need more terminals if you have a large space and deal with increased traffic to ensure customers don’t wait long periods in line.
You need to consider the cost of the POS system, including the software and hardware, if necessary. The total cost of setting up and maintaining a POS system can depend on factors like the number and type of terminals you need, the size of your inventory, the type of industry or business, the number of transactions, and any additional features or payment processing support.
Integration with existing systems
It’s best to explore POS systems that integrate seamlessly with the tools, apps, and software you already use. You may also want to consider an open system instead of solutions featuring native software that locks you into using their tools or features.
Customer payment preferences
Consider which payment methods your customers likely use and choose a POS system that supports them. Providing customers with their preferred payment method can help you enhance the overall customer experience.
Trends and Future of POS Systems and Payment Processing
Current trends show increased contactless payment options like NFC and QR codes. POS systems are also integrating advanced technologies like machine learning and AI to improve accuracy and efficiency. There is an increased demand for cloud-based POS systems which store data in remote servers and allow you to access the data from anywhere through the internet. They’re also cost-effective, easy to set up, and require less hardware, making them a suitable choice for small businesses.
One example of a successful business that effectively uses POS systems is Home Depot, which implements self-checkout and in-store POS systems. Some of the best practices of the system include investing in mobile payments and devices across different stores. These allow easy inventory management, help in finding products, and faster debit and credit transactions and mobile payments processing.
Point of sale systems have evolved significantly and now provide tailored solutions to meet the need of any retail store, including pet stores. A suitable POS solution can save you time, minimize errors, increase customer satisfaction, and provide additional features like inventory management and data and insight to improve the overall growth of your business. If you run a pet store and need a POS system, check out eTailPet, which offers solutions designed specifically for pet stores.