Think accounting, analytics, inventory tools, payment options, staff management, card machine integration and customer loyalty features. You don’t just get the ability to take face-to-face payments through an EPOS system – you often get a whole software service to help you run most aspects of a business.
How POS became EPOS
Now to a more pressing question: why the distinction between POS (point of sale) and EPOS? The answers lies in the development of points of sale over the past few decades. Back when POS started, the means of taking payments were literally cash in hand and into a cash box. Eventually, this was known as cash registers or tills.
Fast-forward to the 1990s and 2000s and tills started to become computerised systems with a touchscreen monitor and software created for inventory management and registering payments from customers. For a while, these systems were run on local computer networks with all data saved on a server installed on business premises.
It was during this transition especially that the term EPOS was coined to distinguish between older, non-electronic points of sale and electronic systems made possible through computer software.
Why EPOS is POS again
All but a few POS systems today are fully fledged EPOS systems. Since it is the norm, many companies have stopped referring to their software as “EPOS”, instead opting for the snappier “POS”.
There’s a consensus among industry leaders that all POS systems in the near-future will be SaaS (Software as a Service), to use another acronym. This means the software cannot be owned permanently, but rather paid for periodically as a subscription for each licence. Included in the software is customer support, ongoing cloud maintenance and software updates.
By Emily Sorensen