In the past few years tills have developed from being standalone devices for collecting payments from customers, to being part of a complex "solution" that can support and even control many aspects of a business.
The first contactless cards in the UK were issued in 2008 but it is only in the past year that contactless payment has really taken off. According to the UK Cards Association, the trade body for the cards payment industry, £2.5bn was spent on contactless cards and devices in the first half of this year, compared with £2.32bn for the whole of 2014. With the spending limit on transactions recently increasing from £20 to £30, and smartphone applications now enabling users to pay with their phones, more and more people will expect retailers to accept contactless payment.
When tills, or pos as they are known in the jargon, became epos, it opened up a host of new challenges and opportunities. More than two decades later the suppliers are still bringing out new refinements to their systems, as well as entirely new functions, and if anything the pace of developments seems to be quickening.
This time last year payment by smartphone at the pump was in very early development. But by June 2013 a prototype mobile payments web-browsing service created by retail technology provider Micros Systems had been piloted and launched as MiFuel, a solution allowing drivers to pay for fuel using their mobile phones.
We use mobile phones for almost everything these days to find our way, for online shopping, or just generally surfing the net so why not pay for fuel with one? There may be a few regulatory hurdles to overcome first but mobile payment on forecourts could be a lot closer than people think.
So you're busy and you want a quick snapshot of how your business is doing. Not just headline sales figures for the forecourt, shop and car wash, but a deeper insight, such as what the current biggest sellers are as well as the under-performers.