Features and Functions of Modern Point of Sale Systems
In order for a retail transaction to be completed, the customer must pay the retailer for the merchandise. In exchange for the goods purchased or services rendered, payment must be handed over to the merchant at a place called point of sale or POS. This place is also known as the checkout counter, and in this is where a receipt of the transaction is issued.
How does a typical POS system work? It is quite simple. The system then calls up the sales price based on merchandise number, product description or inventory code, among others. It makes an accurate computation of the price if there’s more than one item of the same kind purchased. The total amount of all the items bought is also quickly determined and presented to the customer. In relation to this, modern POS systems also provide users with different ways to track pricing and updating the inventory.
Modern POS systems and their capabilities
There are many different types of point of sale systems being used today by merchandisers. With the advent of computerization, there are now numerous innovations in both the hardware and software used. Many modern POS system allow users to add devices such as credit card readers, bar-code scanners, invoice printers, and electronic cash drawers. The very best systems are designed to serves as all-in-one package that includes accounting modules as well as inventory and purchasing control systems. The features of a particular pos system are largely dependent on the requirements of the intended end user. The latest POS devices and utilities provide users with many different functions, encompassing activities such as financials, inventory management, and warehousing, which used to be done manually. Today, the term “point of service” can be used alternatively with “point of sale.” The argument behind this is that the whole process actually entails a customer order or point of return, and not only a sale.
Industry specific features
The technological innovations of the digital age have given rise to advanced scanners and electronic cash registers as well as touch screen terminals. Digital technology also allows for networking of checkout terminals and customization for more personalized customer service.
The manufacturers and designers of point of sale hardware and software take into consideration the specific requirement of the retail industry. There are POS packages meant specifically for a particular niche. These days pos software can be tailor-made based on the products, services, and model of business of a specific company. Since each business has unique needs, manufacturers of POS utilities and devices offer features not usually provided by basic systems. For instance, retail operators of specialized stores such as those selling electronics, hardware, etc) can specify additional operations such as mechanisms for handling rental programs or retail orders that a typical POS package does not include.
Additional functions of point of sale systems
Many point of sale programs for retail store businesses are also capable of monitoring and tracking supplies and orders, as well as analyzing the inventory on a per item basis. Some of the point of sale systems available in the market today is equipped with software that is capable of determining inventory levels on a per-item basis. These systems make business operations more efficient since the inventory is never outdated compared to the outcomes of using a manual system.
Cloud-based POS vs. Traditional POS
Today, POS functions can be accessed using an Internet browser. This is the latest incarnation of point of sale systems and they call this new trend the “Cloud-based POS system”. This system does not require any installation since it is usually deployed remotely. One of the main advantages of this type of system, which takes advantage of current cloud computing technology, is data centralization. Another advantage of cloud-based POS systems is that the software can be made compatible with a mobile device, making it possible to access information anywhere for as long as a stable Internet connection is available. How is this facilitated? The data storage is accomplished via remote server and not on a local computer hard disk. Additionally, there are available applications that make POS transactions faster and more accurate, and developers continue to work on new apps. Another huge advantage of cloud-based systems over traditional POS systems is the affordability of the whole package. Despite the advanced technology used the start up costs are markedly lower than the cost of most traditional POS systems.
Advantages of modern POS hardware and software
Here are some of the advantages of utilizing top of the line POS software.
- A state-of-the-art POS system helps users make better decisions on the job. As a result, the system helps increase profitability because the best option is chosen with regard to merchandising and ordering.
- POS systems can be integrated with credit card authorization mechanisms and bar-code scanners for more accurate pricing.
- The system is also used to maintain a sales history in order to assist the management in making decisions related to purchasing trends and purchasing options.
- POS systems can also be implemented in making adjustments on purchasing levels based on data on how well the items are selling.
- Point of sale systems contains features, which can be utilized to manage the cash flow more efficiently.
Must-have features of POS systems that business owners look for
A retailer that is looking for a POS system expects to find certain technical features that they intend to use in their business. However, when choosing between options, one of the deciding factors is the ease of use presented by the graphical interface. Oftentimes, retailers also want to know whether the user needs to enter sales information automatically or manually.
In choosing a a point of sale software, it is also critical for business owners to determine whether the system has reporting features such as costs, sales, profits using varying parameters. This is one of the most important functions of any system that is utilized in the retail industry. There are many advantages to using a program that has reporting capabilities, one of which is having the tool to determine which promotional activities are contributing most to an increase in profits. Another advantage of having reporting features is having immediate access to information with regard to the best selling items. A system that provides cash reconciliation reports and inventory work sheets at the end of the day also makes day-to-day operations more cost-effective and efficient.
For retailers who are using modern POS system for the first time, or are currently on the lookout for a more updated system, here are some useful guidelines:
- Study the trends and find a point of sale system that will not be outdated in a month’s time.
- Look for a system that is multi-functional and full-featured but easy to set up and use and can be mastered by personnel quickly. The POS system must be easy to learn in order to foster employee satisfaction.
- Check that the manufacturers or distributors of the POS system provides assurances with regard to technical support and offer an open line of communication should questions or problems arise.
- Choose a system built on a platform that is flexible and adaptable to technological trends.
- Go for a system that offers adequate security and powerful POS software.
Current point of service systems removes the factor of human error. This is one of the reasons why retailers are keen on installing modern systems which boost profits by making entry errors obsolete and improving operational efficiency.