As technology continues to evolve, Electronic Point of sale (POS) systems have adapted from simple cash tills to complex electronic point of sale systems. From corner street establishments to major franchises, today EPOS systems remain a vital and key component of the industry. The future of EPOS looks promising and proves to be a permanent fixture to any establishment wishing to ensure seamless management of their day to day operations. A good system can be a businesses’ biggest asset, functioning like a team of experts working behind the scenes, making sure everything moves along quickly and efficiently. Now able to track sales, cash flow, inventory and more, from its humble beginnings EPOS systems have now advanced drastically.
The following sections outline an overview of the journey of EPOS systems.
During its humble beginnings, EPOS systems weren’t much more than rudimentary typewriters laced with calculator-style functions, However, POS was set for a much-needed overhaul during the mid-1970’s, which triggered IBM releasing the IBM 3650 and 3660 systems. These systems were effectively a set-up of terminals that were all wired back to a central mainframe that took care of all the processing. Notably, it was this system that saw the first commercial use of technology such as Local Area Network (LAN), remote initialisation and peer-to-peer communication.
IBM firmly set the standard at the time, with increasing numbers of businesses opting to introduce these expensive and somewhat clunky POS systems. Dillard’s department stores in America claimed the stake as the first retailers to install these ground-breaking systems. The upside of this was that they were instantly catapulted above their rivals in terms of having a huge advantage over the competition who trailed in their wake.
A short time later, the world’s biggest fast-food chain of today, McDonald’s, decided to cash in on the idea of having the first microprocessor-controlled cash register systems installed in their restaurants. By 1976, McDonald’s had served 20 billion hamburgers, and system-wide sales exceeded $3 billion. There’s little doubt that, looking back, the boom in fast food helped the EPOS industry launch into previously unchartered heights.
The next big development that the EPOS world saw came during the 1980’s when businesses were able to install EPOS software that offered graphical interfaces. The first user interfaces to provide a colour-graphical and touchscreen functionality.
The 1990s came around, and the history of EPOS systems entered the start of more new advancements, which was thanks largely to the accessibility of local processing power, quicker networking, and local data storage. The operating systems began to find themselves becoming accessible as an off the shelf product. The result of this meant that prices lowered again and, for business, systems didn’t have to be exclusively tailor-made to suit individual needs.
During the 2000’s, retail POS Systems were among the most sophisticated, powerful, and user-friendly computer networks in commercial usage. Point of Sale Systems began to do much more than just traditional “Point of Sale” tasks. Integrated features such as detailed financial reports, inventory tracking & management, customer relation management, service management, operation reporting, and payroll modules were developed by dozens of software vendors.
Many solutions have been created to run on all types of machines and different operating systems. No longer were bulky metal cash drawers we call cash tills the norm. Instead, electronic point of sale had become the status quo – coming in a variety of modules, from traditional consoles to thin and sleek mobile tablets.
Nowadays, the strength of EPOS software lies in its ability to integrate. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the future of electric point of sale systems. Quite likely, EPOS systems will remain dominant among brick-and-mortar establishments who utilize multiple channels and integrations to connect and interact with their customers.
EPOS systems are generally considered to be regular cash registers. Read on here to find out why they are more than just electronic cash tills.
To learn more about the history of EPOS and how it went from cash tills to the intricately extensive system we see today visit eposEX.