Have you been wondering how to incorporate mobile solutions into your point-of-sale (POS) system while still accepting cash payments?
It's a valid concern, especially as many payment processes require little more than a tablet with a wireless connection. But you should know that cash is still the payment medium of choice for many consumers. And that's not going to change anytime soon.
An April 2014 report from the Federal Reserve indicates that cash still makes up 40 percent of all consumer transactions in the United States. Debit cards cover 25 percent of payments, while credit cards are used just 17 percent of the time. And retailers love cash, because the cost per transaction dwarfs that of credit and debit cards.
As you look for ways to simplify the in-store payment experience and bring the POS to your customers, take a look at how the right cash drawer enhances each retail environment.
1. Tablet mPOS environments
While the portability of tablets attracts many business owners, others are seeking the benefits of a computer-based POS system, with the lower price tag of a cloud-based, tablet-centered solution. And that means that some tablet solutions remain at a stationary POS, while others are truly mobile devices. In most cases, tablet POS solutions connect to a store-based PC or wirelessly to the cloud.
When configuring a cash drawer, a receipt printer may or may not be present. A common setup connects the tablet POS to a receipt printer, which then drives the cash drawer. While similar to a traditional POS, in this case, the printer talks to the tablet via Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth connection.
For merchants with electronic receipt programs in place, there's no receipt printer to trigger the cash drawer and no way to attach the tablet via cable. Instead, both the tablet and cash drawer connect to the network, and the tablet opens the cash drawer by IP.
2. Front-end POS checkout counters or lanes
High-volume food-service and retail environments often select traditional POS terminals and heavy-duty cash drawers designed to take a lot of abuse. But as some of these merchants consider phasing out receipt printers at each station, there are new options for driving the cash drawer.
When using a receipt printer, there are multiple options for cable-connected cash drawers, with most based on the number of required duty cycles. But for those establishments replacing the receipt printer with emailed receipts, USB is a good option for driving the cash drawer. Connection via USB port requires no external power source and raises security, because unauthorized devices can't open the drawer.
Another option is just a single receipt printer, shared by multiple fixed POS stations. For the few customers wanting a receipt, the option is easily accessible, with the receipt printer connected separately to the business network. Then USB cash drawers also connect to the network and trigger drawers to open.
3. Small-footprint POS
When space is at a premium in retail environments—think pop-up shops, food trucks, and mall kiosks—a tablet POS can offer streamlined payment processing. And because many of these setups don't have a network in place, the POS components can talk via Bluetooth or direct cable. A common solution includes a small-footprint cash drawer built into the counter.
When a receipt printer is used, mobile devices use Bluetooth for wireless communication. The printer uses either a wired or wireless connection to the cash drawer. Those environments without a receipt printer can use a tablet connected to the cash drawer via Bluetooth.
No matter the size or configuration of the retail environment, there's a POS solution that enhances mobility and security and gives every business owner what he or she is looking for.
What POS solutions are you using to accept cash payments in the retail environment?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeremiah Shea leads Ingram Micro’s DC/POS Payments Program and provides support for vendors like Verifone, Ingenico, Magtek, ID Tech, and Equinox. He has been part of the DC/POS division at Ingram Micro now for five years, working with all facets of the business for strategic execution. Jeremiah has also become the subject matter expert on EMV readiness and overall payments strategy. With a technical background and a sound understanding of the business, he is a great resource to tap for any and all questions relating to EMV, but more broadly anything DC/POS related as well.
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