Spilling the tea on café POS systems

Global caffeine consumption has been increasingly rapidly, and is predicted to perform at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% from 2020 to 2027. [1] The growth in caffeine consumption is largely driven by demand for coffee in Asia, as coffee morphs from a beverage to a lifestyle choice.

Accordingly, consumer preferences have changed. This article will highlight key trends and recommend POS devices with outstanding features for each type of coffee shop. The cafes highlighted are independent cafes, international coffee chains, and specialty experience stores.


Minimal café POS systems, from the ground up

Whether they are located in your neighbourhood, a shopping district, or your workplace, independent cafes are where you can get unique roasts for your morning coffee. As its name suggests, independent cafes only have a single outlet, likely run by the barista. Some are even run as a coffee cart or truck! For those who frequent the same café, the barista may know your name and order by heart, creating a warm and inviting experience.

Just like the sleek and minimal design of many independent cafes, café owners may appreciate a sleek and minimal POS terminal which nevertheless does its job well. Look out for POS devices which have a solid processor, but isn’t weighed down by an unnecessary suite of functions or pricey add-ons. Also, beware of high setup fees or subscription plans which are beyond your budget.


iMin D2, a sleek and snug desktop device

A good choice is the iMin D2. The D2 fits snugly on the countertop of cafes, yet is powerful enough to run café operations smoothly throughout the day. A neat trick is to thread cables through the stand of the D2 to create a clean and clutter-free countertop.


Serving high-volume cafes, from Java to China

Within East Asia, international coffee chains own a stunning 63% of all brick and mortar coffee shops [2]. Deploying devices across whole countries is a mean feat, and POS devices should have robust features to keep up with the following consumer trends.

Need for speed. More so now than ever before, consumers expect fast coffee service in stores and for deliveries. Speed is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction, particularly for the peak hour crowd eagerly awaiting their caffeine fix. Thus, to keep customers happy, POS terminals with high processing speed is key.

Pay by app. Forget cash and credit card payment. Consumers in countries with developed coffee cultures pay directly with their mobile devices. More and more coffee chains are rolling out their own app payment and loyalty program, making use of e-wallets to store credits. Hence, instead of finding a POS device with credit card readers, coffee chains may consider POS devices with app payment methods or scanning functions.

These alternative payment methods can also double up as marketing tools if used correctly. For example, by combining a rewards program with a payment app, cafes can maintain positive customer relationships. These payment methods can also be matched with third-party integrations, such as a delivery integration function, providing a true all in one experience.

Consider the iMin D3 as a reliable POS companion. The iMin D3’s 4-Core, Quad*Cortex-A17 CPU ensures that it runs perfectly even during the busiest times. Café owners can also add on a customer-facing display to make sure that orders are always accurate.


iMin’s D3 and X1, a desktop POS and scanning device respectively

Even better, connect the D3 to the X1 to take advantage of the X1’s scanning capabilities. All in all, larger businesses may find advanced hardware solutions such as the D3 the most suitable POS device.


Strong customer service using cafe POS systems, from bean to roast

Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery has been making waves around the world, since Starbucks opened its first outlet in 2014. The Reserve Roasteries of today offer distinctive sensory experiences with coffee, such as caffeinated cocktail bars and coffee made using exclusive brewing methods [3].

This is a prime example of experience-based retail, a phenomenon not limited to international chains like Starbucks. For example, you may have noticed the speciality coffee shop around the corner starting cupping workshops or creating other standout events. These cafes are a class of their own, and require POS devices which enhance, not detract from, the customer experience.

The key feature required for POS devices in this category is mobility.

Experience based retail in the coffee industry thrives on two things: personalisation and premiumisation (whether real or imagined!).

Personalisation. Customer demand for personalisation is increasing in every industry, particularly in beverages [4]. From the number of espresso shots to alternative milk varieties to seasonal specials, consumers have an unprecedented number of choices for every single order. This is tricky for cafes, which must ensure that employees remember all possible combinations.

Imagine a situation when your staff takes an order from a seated customer, finds out that ingredients for the order has run out, and has to head back to take the order again. Or when staff take an incredibly long time just to print receipts and bring it back to the customer. Standard cafes may get by (risking poor online reviews), but specialty experience stores will not be excused for this level of service.

To avoid such nightmare scenarios, look out for solutions such as a mobile POS with a built-in receipt printer. Alternatively, café owners may wish to segment the store into different experience zones, and have dedicated staff waiting on each zone. However, this runs the risk of blowing up costs.

Premiumisation. Many commentators have labelled high-end coffee as an aspirational yet affordable luxury for a growing middle class. This characterisation is spot on. However, when paying premium prices, consumers will also expect premium service. This means short waiting times, and possibly service at the table like in restaurants. Consumers may also be willing to spend on exclusive merchandise, as well as gift cards for friends and family.

To keep track of product sales, reporting tools for sales and inventory management are useful. A cloud-based POS will enable real time updates and advanced reporting, both outstanding features for a POS device.

Combining insights from these two trends, it is evident that a compact, handheld device will best serve coffee experience stores. With such a POS device, staff can walk around the store for prompt and personalised service. In the long-run, riding the wave of these trends will also increase sales and customer loyalty.


iMin M2 Pro, handheld POS device

Enter the iMin M2 Pro. The iMin M2 Pro weighs just 435g, about twice the weight of an average smartphone. This makes it easy for staff to carry around without strain. Furthermore, it has an intuitive interface and a user-friendly touch screen, so your staff will be able to pick up the M2 Pro easily.

With the M2 Pro, your staff will also be able to monitor real-time stock levels of popular items and print receipts almost instantaneously using a built-in Seiko printer which has a print speed of up to 100mm/s.

Note: if your experience store is huge like a Starbucks Reserve Roastery, you may need the combined power of more than one POS device. For example, deploy a desktop POS to manage active tables, drum up access to integrations, and vendor management. Then, use your mobile POS for ordering, payments, and customer service related tasks.


Let’s grab a coffee together!

The coffee shop industry is not easy to thrive in.

Keen on upgrading your POS device? Whether you are running a coffee cart or international coffee chain, there is a POS terminal to suit each type of coffee shop. Consider your options carefully to create the best customer experience!

Interested to know more about POS Solutions? Clink here to explore more.


[1] https://gcrmag.com/global-caffeine-market-to-be-worth-more-than-us23b-by-2027-coherent-market-insights-report/

[2] https://www.worldcoffeeportal.com/Latest/News/2020/November/East-Asia-A-nexus-of-opportunity-for-global-cafe-b

[3] https://digiday.com/retail/starbucks-experimenting-experience-based-retail/

[4] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/personalizing-the-customer-experience-driving-differentiation-in-retail

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