Touch-screen point of sale systems make a substantial impact on a merchant’s bottom line. In fact, a POS system typically delivers 4% to 8% in operational savings, resulting in a significant improvement to a merchant’s profitability.

By offering POS systems, independent sales organizations (ISOs) and merchant service providers can take a more consultative sales approach and become a true business partner to their merchant customers.

The benefits include streamlined operations. While credit card terminals are limited to processing credit and debit card transactions, a POS system is an all-in-one business management tool. These systems enable small and mid-sized merchants to manage and grow their business while experiencing tremendous gains in efficiency.

A POS system can process sales by cash, credit card, debit card or check, all from a single interface—no more bouncing from the cash register to the card terminal and back again. This streamlined transaction process allows more customers to be served in a shorter amount of time, which translates directly into higher sales, while creating an excellent customer experience that encourages shoppers to return in the future.

POS systems also enable robust reporting.POS systems pay for themselves not only in streamlining customer service but also by dramatically reducing time spent on daily administrative office tasks. Integrated, comprehensive, on-demand reports provide any restaurant or retail business with organized, detailed data that offers a more complete picture of business operations and reduces bookkeeping and accounting expenses.

With an integrated POS system, merchants can access their key performance indicators to obtain a top-level picture of their business. Merchants can view total sales by specific day of the week, date or time, or even by sales associate, to evaluate performance trends, measure the effectiveness of promotional efforts and determine products that are in highest demand.

Another powerful advantage of a POS system lies in its effect on inventory management. POS systems provide a simple and accurate way to ensure an up-to-date product inventory. When all sales are tracked in the same system, it becomes easy to keep count of stock on hand and set re-order alerts to avoid running out of products and losing a sale.

Another selling point is increased customer loyalty.Customers love a personalized experience. To enhance customer service and engagement, POS systems retain customer data and purchase history for use in loyalty programs or marketing campaigns. Using that data can help create a more personalized shopping experience that customers will appreciate, and it can help boost loyalty, offer up-sell opportunities and encourage repeat business.

One of the most helpful features of a POS system is that it can also serve as a personnel management tool. That allows merchants to make short work of the usually time-consuming task of managing employees’ hours. Multiple time-keeping features, including an integrated time-clock, improve accuracy and eliminate the practice of employees over-reporting their hours. Detailed information about individual employees and their productivity enables business owners to make more informed staffing decisions, effectively reducing labor costs and increasing profitability.

Since Harbortouch first combined the POS and payments worlds with the launch of their “free POS program” in 2011, a number of tablet systems have been introduced to the ISO industry. It is important to keep in mind the differences between a tablet-based system and a full-featured POS system when considering which option to offer.

Tablet systems operate on consumer hardware which is not necessarily designed for use in high-volume retail and restaurant environments. On the other hand, more traditional POS systems use built-for-purpose hardware that is made to withstand the dirt, grease, humidity and smoke that are often present in merchant settings.

Additionally, tablet hardware typically does not have the same processing power as a conventional POS system. That limits the functionality available on a tablet system as well as the speed of operation.

The software running on tablet systems also tends to be more stripped down versions of traditional POS software.

All of these differences can reduce the ability of tablet systems to provide the numerous benefits listed above, and reduce the overall value to the merchant. Although a tablet system may be a good fit for lower-volume businesses, most substantial restaurants and retail stores are going to require a more robust solution.

All of these factors are important to keep in mind when selecting a POS system to offer your merchants. POS systems also require considerably more back-end support and specialized industry knowledge, so it is critical to choose a partner who has the experience in POS to support both you and your merchants.

 An ideal POS partner will also offer sufficient training so that you are knowledgeable about POS in order to compete with other POS resellers. Integrated POS systems deliver significant benefits to both you and your merchants.

By offering POS, you can shift the focus of your sales pitch from lowering rates and fees to providing something of real value to your merchants.

Because POS systems run your merchant’s entire business, they become an indispensible part of their operations and position you as their most important vendor. The end result is a more stable and profitable merchant portfolio.

Sean Berg is national sales trainer at Harbortouch.