Build your own Point-of-Sale (POS) System based on Android

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POS Terminal is a digital equipment used by merchants and vendors to accept orders from customers and for processing credit card, debit card or cash payments. POS systems also have the ability to connect with enterprise systems such as inventory management.

So far, POS systems were being built using custom hardware, making them costly and less flexible. A new trend is emerging now. Business owners have started using tablets as their POS terminals.

Here are the advantages of using tablets as POS terminals:

  1. Cost effective (up to 10 times cheaper than conventional POS)
  2. Portable and flexible with wireless connectivity (WiFi, 4G, Bluetooth, NFC)
  3. Requires much less floor space
  4. Looks modern and sleek

 

Building an Android Based POS System:

Android is becoming platform of choice for building dedicated devices. It is easy to take an off-the-shelf android device, install a POS app such as Square Register or TabShop from Google Play and convert the tablet into a POS terminal. You can accessorize it with a credit card reader for mobile devices (like Square or PayPal Here) and a Bluetooth/USB printer to set up a full blown POS System.

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Following are the steps for setting up an android POS using Square POS application:

  1. Get an off-the-shelf Android tablet with 7” or 10” screen size. Samsung Galaxy Tab series or Nexus series are good candidates
  2. Get a credit card reader for processing credit card or debit card payments like Square
  3. Download and install Square POS app from Google Play
  4. Login to your Square Dashboard on your computer. Create items that you want to sell with their unit price information. You can edit or import the items as wellsqaure_framed
  5. Go to the tablet and launch Square Register application. Sign in to start processing orders

 

Challenges:

Once the tablet has been configured to run as a POS terminal, you can place it on a stand for easier access and use by the cashier. However, Android is an open platform loaded with multiple apps and distractions. One small mistake by the user can result in the following issues:

  • Register application terminates and goes to background
  • Tablet loses WiFi connectivity
  • Tablet reboots and Register app does not start automatically after boot up
  • Register app may get uninstalled

 

Securing the tablet for maximum efficiency:

All the above mentioned concerns can be attended to by locking down the tablet and ensuring that Square Register is the only application that the cashier can use on the device.

You can use SureLock for Android to lock down the device into kiosk mode:

  1. Install SureLock from https://www.42gears.com/products/surelock/surelock-android/
  2. Launch SureLock and go through the initial set-up on-screen instructions
  3. Tap on SureLock Home Screen 5 times within 3 seconds to launch password prompt
  4. Enter default password of 0000 (4 zeros). You can later change it using Change Password option in SureLock Settings login
  5. On Admin Settings screen, tap on Allowed Applicationsallowed_applications
  6. On Allowed Applications screen, tap on Add App  
    add_app
  7. Select Register app from the list of applications and tap on Done select_register_allowed_app
  8. Tap on Home button on the device, this will take you to the SureLock Home Screen where only Register icon will be visible

 

You can customize the wallpaper on SureLock Home Screen with your business brand.

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  1. On Admin Settings screen, tap on SureLock Settingssurelock_settings
  2. On SureLock Setting screen tap on Wallpaperwallpaper_select
  3. On Wallpaper Settings screen, select from Landscape Wallpaper or Portrait Wallpaper
  4. Browse and select the desired wallpaper and tap on OKbrowse_wallpaper

 

What more can I do?

Android App Store has tonnes of incredible applications valuable to businesses. Apart from Register POS app, few other complimentary applications can be used on the same device e.g. you can setup a customer feedback or loyalty management app on the POS tablet, so that at end of every transaction, customer can submit his feedback.

 

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