‘POS’ or ‘point of sale’ is a term that will be familiar will all retailers, regardless of the size and nature of the business. Whilst it is true that half of the battle is in getting the customers into the store and interested in a product, it is also true that the POS must be as simple and efficient as possible. This is the case for a number of reasons, as problems with such things as pricing, discounting, and refunds are the kinds of issues that customers find off putting. As the business begins to grow,up-to-date POS software is something well worth researching, as most businesses find it well worth the investment.
What Is It and Where Is It Found?
POS software is used in integration with computer hardware and equipment such as a monitor, barcode scanner, cash drawer and receipt printer. The software is one of the primary components as it determines the ways in which data is displayed, organised and shared, and provides users with customizable features and functions. Software is installed onto cash registers, computers, and now even portable devices such as tablets and iPads. Just as each individual business must determine the most suitable system hardware according to their needs, they must also choose the most appropriate system software. There is a great variety available, all of which with slightly different functions, features and appearances.
POS software is not only used at the point of sale for processing transactions, although it is certainly the case that this one of the most useful functions that it performs. It can also be used for a number of ‘back-office’ functions such as data analysis, organisational charts, and business reports. Here is a brief overview of some of the functions:
Access prices In combination with a barcode scanner, the software provides access to all up-to-date prices of each product on sale. This includes items that are in the sale and will automatically calculate the discount price or any promotional codes and vouchers. In the case of service providers, invoices can be used in the same way to automatically bring up and process the correct price.
Process refunds Refunds must be carefully recorded in order to keep proper track of inventory and takings. POS software makes this quick and easy, as the system will automatically be updated to make records of the item that has been returned to stock or written off, as well as the amount that has been returned to the customer and subtracted from takings.
Run simultaneous transactions Unlike the average human, POS software systems are able to run numerous processes and simultaneous transactions, without the risk of confusion or human error.
Provide receipts Receipts are automatically created and printed when a transaction is processed, without the need to physically write out individual receipts. This saves time and provides the store with a much more professional image. It is now also possible to send the customers email receipts if they prefer.
Create business and data reports Data reports provide an easy to comprehend overview of business performance and offers information such as best selling items, number of returns and overall profit. Analysing this kind of data is the key to identifying weak or problem areas in order to make the necessary changes and improve the bottom line.
One of the key features and benefits of the software is its ability to be tailored or customized to fit the specific and very individual needs of a retailer or business. This is a very important and useful feature that often gets overlooked. Each business is different in terms of the stores footfall, the number of daily transactions, the types of product or service offered, and the variety of items available. Customizing the software to best suit your businesses needs, will ensure that the chosen POS software is used to maximum affect.
Purchasing Software Separately Vs. POS System Packages
There are pros and cons both to purchasing the software individually, and as a complete system. Generally it makes sense to purchase all of the components at one time, particularly when initially getting started with POS systems. However, when it is a case of replacing an existing system, it may be that it’s only the software that really needs updating. Card readers, cash drawers and barcode scanners tend to be fairly heavy duty and long lasting. Software solutions on the other hand, are constantly being developed and improved so great benefits may be accessibly by simply updating the systems POS software solution.