Answers to some frequently asked questions

Friday, June 24th, 2016

What equipment do you have for my type of business?

We have a solution for most business types, from hospitality to more general retail. Some bespoke solutions for Dry-cleaning, Delivery and takeaway, Clothing and more.

We can provide mid-range cash registers, computer-based and touchscreen and cloud as well as Android solutions.

Where can I see a demonstration?

We can arrange to call into your premises with some equipment or for a short meeting.

That way we can get a better feel for your business needs and answer any questions you may have.

What is the approximate costs?

With cash registers from 595 euro we have something to suit all budgets

Touchscreen packages are from 1895 standard, depending on what you require (there may be some add-ons or software modules). We can give a quote more easily if we meet to discuss requirements.

What does price include?

Price usually includes setup of your departments and keyboard in case of cash registers and in the case of touchscreens all of the button screens needed to start using.

Training and setup is included as well. Support if required is free for 12 months.

Product file import may be included in price depending on formats etc – there may be a nominal charge for this if needed – (sometimes we get a dozen or more supplier files to import and these can take a bit of work)

Do you provide leasing on equipment?

Yes,  leasing can be arranged in most instances.

For a limited company in business for 3 years we usually have an answer on same day.

For sole traders our leasing provider may ask for extra information about your business.

Do you sell used equipment?

Sometimes we do, depending on what we may have traded in. Also some of our suppliers have reconditioned equipment to sell on at times.

Rarely we may have a cancelled order or a new model comes on market and we have some stock of previous one.

However not all used equipment is good enough to sell on – (age/wear & tear/warranty/new features)

EPOS buying guide. Cash register or Touchscreen POS?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Do I need a cash register (ecr) or touchscreen? Which should I choose and what are the benefits of each?

A retail business needs some form of system for cash management in order to process transactions with customer receipts, keep records of sales and store cash and credit card slips.

Our Entry Level ECR will serve the needs of many startup businesses. However the benefit of using a Pos system is the greater level of control over day-to-day operations.

The initial cost of either may seem high but it should be viewed as an investment in the business which should give years of service. 10-15 years is the average life-span of a good cash register with upgrades every 5-7 years.

There are a number of basic questions to ask you before purchasing any system and a good vendor should also help you determine your needs.

  • What type of business is involved? Retail or hospitality/low or high volume sales?

Hospitality outlets, with the potential of spillages/wet hands, may have particular needs. If you are dealing with lower volume/higher expense items……

  • How many different products are you retailing or likely to retail?

Does the product range you sell have barcodes?

  • Will you need to pay close attention to inventory?

A cash register won’t really help here regardless of what the salesman tells you. Trying to manage inventory on a cash register even with management software in use is not very efficient or accurate.

  • What vat or tax rates are attached to the products you sell?

This needs to be set up properly if you have more than one rate of tax.

  • Are you the owner/operator or will you employ staff/management?

If you are the sole user then a cash register may be sufficient. If staff or managers are involved you will need some control over tracking sales/voids etc

  • How busy will your shop be? A grocery store will have a higher volume of customers through each hour than would a footwear outlet and more than one terminal may be needed.
  • How much can you afford to spend initially?
  • What warranty comes with the equipment and are there any hidden costs?

Warranty can vary from 1-3 years. Or 0-3 months if buying used equipment.

  • Will you need much hand-holding initially and does your choice of vendor provide this?
  • Does it meet the requirements of the revenue commissioners regarding data retention and has this been configured correctly?

Cash registers benefits include:

  • Lower initial outlay
  • Less training needed to operate
  • Basic reporting of sales

Pos system benefits include:

  • More and better variety of reporting
  • Easier to handle stock inventory
  • Easier to upgrade

However, even with Pos system there is a choice between PC based and Embedded systems. These look similar and will carry out a lot of the same functions but only one runs on a windows platform and there can be good reasons for some businesses not to go this route. I will outline the main features of these 3 types.

Cash Register

These range from our basic stand-alone models to network-ready machines which can be connected together to share data and customer information. A range of devices such as barcode scanners, cctv and kitchen printers can also be attached as well as linking to a back office pc package to give a basic stock control and management system.

 

Epos System (PC)

Called Pc-Pos terminals these can come in the form of a traditional desktop computer with keyboard and mouse with or without a touchscreen monitor or as an integrated touchscreen computer where the hard drive and motherboards are contained within one unit.

These integrated terminals are designed for point-of-sale operation, being more robust than standard computers. They are designed to take up a small footprint and usually come with serial ports to allow a choice of receipt printer formats.

They can also be wall and pole-mounted and are frequently bundled with a receipt printer, cash drawer and barcode scanner.

A Pc-Pos terminal will have a windows operating system installed and requires an Epos software package. Your supplier will normally supply the unit with all of this included. If a number of applications are needed to run on a terminal then the Pc-Pos is often the route to go.

The addition of broadband allows remote support from your supplier as well as the ability to link outlets together.

Epos System (embedded)

These sophisticated terminals have been around for many years and were often the best choice in the days when pc based systems were much more expensive. With advanced technology these units match Pc’s for performance and have the added benefit of requiring neither windows nor hard drive, so no moving parts.

For example the AX-3000 from Uniwell has the touchscreen features of PC-Pos and can be used as a stand-alone terminal or networked together.

An embedded epos system is particularly suitable for hospitality outlets where speed of service is needed. Great for bars, nightclubs, fast food outlets etc.

They are very robust and because windows o/s is not needed these systems are less susceptible to data corruption, overheating and viruses than its Pc based cousin.

Start-up is in seconds rather than minutes and the terminal can be powered off mid operation without the loss of any data. This means downtime is minimised and also less maintenance.

Before Pc’s everything was embedded, cash registers, Atm’s, ticket machines etc. Because of improvements in technology the trend is towards embedded again. They are easy and quick to operate and also very stable and secure.

If you look around you will see many embedded devices, mobile phones, sat navs, games etc all use embedded technology.

How cash drawers work

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Ther are a number of options when choosing a cash drawer to use with  a computerised point of sale system.

The most common method is to  connect the cash drawer via a receipt printer. Most receipt printers have a port with an RJ11 telephone socket-type connector which can be used to power a cash drawer. These usually operate on a 24 volt signal so a 24v cash drawer is needed.

Your software must be able to instruct the printer to pop open the drawer solenoid at the appropriate time, usually when cashing a sale.

Cash drawers may also connect directly to the point of sale terminal or touchscreen, again usually through an RJ11 drawer connection on the terminal. This can be  useful where a receipt printer is not required. This connector usually supplies 12volt signal so a 12v drawer is required.

Though less common,  some cash drawers have a usb connector for direct connection to a computer. These smart drawers are more expensive.

Some, but not all printers can operate two cash drawers by using a Y splitter to connect both drawers. Again your software must be able to distinguish between drawers.

Cash drawers are usually shipped with two security keys which can be used to open the drawer, useful in the event of a power cut or if your system is down.  Some cheaper drawers are available without an opening mechanism but where the drawer can be locked only using the key.

 

Buying Epos hardware

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

There is a wide range of Pos hardware on the market.  The downward push on price has brought cheaper but not neccessarily better equipment.

How do you choose one from another? Do you go for the cheapest? Do you look on your epos system more as an asset to your business or merely another expense?

Do you want customers delayed because your POS terminal has locked up? Or printer jammed? The choice of hardware is at least as important as the software that will run on it.

These guidelines may be useful for those considering a purchase.

  • Don’t buy hardware first.  All software comes with specific hardware requirements and even if  specification is highlighted for a particular software it will invariably show minimum requirements.
  • Beware if intending to purchase used hardware, especially if not through a recognised supplier. Buying cheaper or used equipment can mean buying sub-standard equipment.

Reliability is key when purchasing POS hardware. What might work in an office environment is not neccessarily suitable for use in retail. For example printers can take a lot of abuse, from spillage to being knocked around.

Pos terminals use durable components designed for the retail environment. The screens are designed to keep dust and moisture at bay and the true-flat terminals such at our Vision and PT range are completely sealed with no break between cabinet and screen. Ideal for hospitality outlets where drinks are being served.

For  POS terminal reliability, build quality and processor speed should be taken into consideration. 

 

Epos and the Law

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Cash Registers/Point of Sale Systems and Irish Law

Revenue has issued an information leaflet which highlights the changes to VAT Regulation 8, which came into effect on 2 July 2008. The leaflet has been issued to all VAT registered customers who deal in cash and to cash register suppliers, including software suppliers.

The most significant change affecting cash register records is that each record must now contain the date, time and sequential number.

Cash register transaction records, whether electronic or in paper format (audit rolls or printed journal), are required to be kept for a period of 6 years

A revenue auditor will expect to see these requirements in place. Don’t get caught out.

All of our cash registers have the capability to store these records electronically either internally or using removable media. The alternative is to store audit rolls for a 6 year period or to periodically print the journal.

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