If there is one thing that replaceable parts manufacture has shown the world at large, it is that modular construction is probably one of the most efficient ways of building a system. The iPad point of sale system also demonstrates this by its ability to integrate disparate systems into one single, seamlessly integrated package for the processing of point of sale information and integrated inventory management.
iPad image via Shutterstock
Shopify provides a complete system package that can be used to set up a point of sale system based off of the iPad architecture at a reasonable cost. As a retail user of the iPad modular point of sale system, you should be aware of how the different subsystems interact to make a complete point of sale system that interacts with many areas of the business.
The iPad and iPad Stand
The iPad is the brains of the operation here. All peripherals are connected to the iPad for quick and easy processing of sales data. How the iPad looks is almost as important as how it performs. The iPad is already a beautiful piece of hardware and combining it with an iPad stand that looks good is a good start. The stand should take into account the interior decor of the store while at the same time be able to secure the iPad from falling, and give the cashier a good angle from which to enter data. The stand should also be able to swivel, so that customers can get a glimpse of the screen if they so wish or in the case of digital signatures, it allows them to sign the screen in a comfortable position. The stand must also give access to the other peripherals that make up the system. These connect to the iPad through a series of ports and their data is used as input for the point of sale system and the inventory management system.
The input systems for the iPad point of sale terminal are twofold. Firstly, the product processing input system usually consists of a barcode reader. This reader has the codes for all the items in the store already saved on a handy database. Reading the code allows the point of sale system to add the cost of the item to the receipt directly, removing the worry of data entry errors by the cashier. This speeds up checkout times immensely. The second input system that connects to the iPad point of sale terminal is the card reader. This reader is dedicated to the processing of financial information. It works to deduct the price of the sale from the customer’s credit card and giving them a receipt to sign showing their verification of the purchase price. This is standard procedure with any credit card purchase and it allows the purchase to be verified by the point of sale terminal immediately.
These systems are also twofold. The first output system is the receipt printer. These printers are designed to print the receipt that comes at the end of a sale and counts as the proof of purchase. The receipt is usually kept by the customer in the event that the item needs to be exchanged. They are connected to the iPad directly and are also connected to the second output system, the cash drawer. The cash drawer is where the cash and cashless sales receipts are kept. It is usually well constructed because of the nature of the job it performs. Many of these drawers come with multiple levels of security, ranging from simply physical locks to electronic locking systems. Although most of the modular cash drawers come with a connection lead to the receipt printer, some have a manual open function, allowing them to be used independently of the printer.
The iPad as a point of sale solution makes for a heavily integrated environment that encapsulates all the basic functionality you would come to expect from a professional point of sale system. The terminal’s modular capacity makes it very easy to upgrade or to swap around modules between multiple points of sale. The functionality is very simple, because of the use of the iPad. The inclusion of apps to enhance the viability of the hardware makes it a very adaptable solution that can be used in a number of different situations. Retail points of sale will never be the same thanks to the invention of the iPad. Many small and medium sized businesses have taken to the iPad point of sale system as an affordable and viable method of increasing their sales and inventory efficiency. The usage of these systems will only increase as we all become more aware of the power contained within this tiny tablet. Systems will get smaller and more efficient and eventually we could be seeing the birth of an entirely new face of point of sale terminals, incorporating tablets to bring functionality and stability to checkout points around the world.