Point of sale is changing. As new software and systems allow you to move away from expensive custom ePOS hardware and toward a more slimline, iPad-driven approach, we look at the available kit.
Now, until everyone and everything supports Apple Pay, you’re going to need to add a few accessories to your iPad to turn it into a fully functioning till. Here’s a quick guide to the best barcode scanners, most reliable receipt printers and cash drawers our product management team couldn’t jimmy open with a screwdriver.
Kicking things off is the Opticon OPN-2001 barcode scanner. This pocket laser scanner is as straightforward as it gets: scan the barcode to store it, press the clear button on the front of the device and re-scan the same barcode to forget it, charge via USB every 1000 scans or so. It can hold up to 10,000 codes with time stamps and weighs just 28 grams, so is great if you’re building a temporary POS and need to keep the weight of your setup down.
If you want something a bit more ergonomic, then try the very sleek Socket Mobile CHS 7Ci barcode scanner, which has the added advantage of being certified by Apple for use with iOS devices. It can read printed barcodes and those on screens, so if you’re emailing out offer codes to your customers on a regular basis, this is probably the one for you, especially given its 10 hour/10,000 scan battery life and impressive 508mm scan range.
Star Micronics are our go-to receipt printers, and we’re particularly fond of the SM-S220i and TSP143.
The SM-S220i is a great choice if you need something mobile. A lightweight Bluetooth receipt printer, it’s designed for queue busters and wait staff to take payment wherever the customer happens to be. Compatible with both iOS and Android, it’s the ideal partner for a mobile ePOS solution, and despite being tiny it can crank out an impressive 8cm of 230 dpi receipt per second.
If you’re looking for a fixed printer, try the TSP143. It’s a LAN thermal printer, meaning you get fast long-distance communication over Cat5 LAN cabling (nice and cheap), and includes a ‘print on disconnection’ feature that’ll print you an alert should you have any network issues.
An auto-cutter and all the accessories and software you need to get set up are included in the price (including a wall mount, in case you like your receipt printers vertical). The only thing that might set you back extra is a splash-proof cover that we imagine would be a sound investment if you’re a restaurateur or a particularly clumsy goldfish-seller.
And now to the most important bit: making sure no-one can run off with your hard-earned dosh. APG’s Vasario series of cash drawers are a popular choice: they rely on the popular MultiPRO interface, so will work with most ePOS systems, and the four-function lock offers you the security of locked closed, locked open, online and manual settings.
The Vasario 1616 offers great bang for your buck, giving you the security of that multifunction lock at a lower price point than usual, plus drawer status reporting and a two year warranty.
If you’re using a Star or Epson printer, a good call is the Star Micronics CB-2002, which is designed specifically to work with these printers and comes in eight note/eight coin and four note/eight coin variations.
It has a three-position lock with drawer release, includes a compulsion switch and RJ12 connection.