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The Extremely Useful POS System Software for Retail Stores

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choosing pos-systemsIt’s not been very long when the cash register was everything for entrepreneurs. However today even the smallest business may have its cash register connected to a computer through “point-of-sale” or POS systems. The reason behind the growing popularity of these systems over conventional cash registers is they not only record sales, but also collect important, real-time information about inventory and customers. As per Intuit market research, a good POS system for small business can cut costs up to 10%, thus saving around $30,000 a year.

The base of these systems is a standard-issue computer operating specialized POS software, normally having a cash drawer and receipt printer, and also usually a bar code scanner and credit card reader. Generally vendors sell these systems pre-set, or you go on adding these peripherals according to your growing needs. It typically costs less than $1,500.


The biggest benefit of POS system is you get an instant, up-to-minute, exact estimation of your inventory. Every time you check out a customer, the items you record are instantly subtracted from your list of inventory, which is saved on the hard drive of the system.

The inventory may be unexpectedly large. For example, several clothing stores will stock SKUs in thousands, with real count more than 10,000 items. This happens even with shops selling everything from cameras to bicycles to cosmetics. Tracking thousands of items included in a small business can be a big task. But constantly keeping rare items in stock can be a competitive advantage over much bigger competitors.

Here a good POS system can help to strike the balance, by enabling you to set an alert that notifies you whenever certain item comes to the re-order point. Some POS systems even tell you both the latest price you paid and also the average price you paid previously. This will enable you to make the best deal with your vendors. In an off-hour you can take a report that provides you inventory activity for the day, week or even month. Some POS systems even give you a bigger picture by enabling you to compare current year’s orders with last year’s. This can help you foresee where you wish to head in the upcoming months.

Taking inventory is perhaps the most prolonged task for store-owners. Though a POS system doesn’t replace a physical inventory count, several shop-owners find that the number of times they have to do this time-consuming chore is reduced. And when it is time for that, a portable wireless scanner along with a POS system can reduce your footsteps a lot, saving hours.

Another advantage of a good POS system is it can tell you about your best customers and their choices. With the purchase history of a customer seen at the cash register, an owner of a camera shop can share with a wildlife photographer the news of a new high-speed 35mm film, perfect to capture raptors’ photos, or an owner of a nursery can alert a tea rose lover about a new consignment of those flowers. On the other hand, an auto part shop can query the POS system with a swift barcode scan to reply a customer’s question about the availability of a spare part.

How to Find the Right POS System?

  • POS systems vary tremendously regarding prices ranging from a few hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, thus making the decision difficult. Here are some tips:
  • All POS systems will help you record sales and track inventory. But a good one will do that with ease and in detail. You should look for a system that helps you set alerts for items in shortage, add new items readily when they arrive, account for back-orders and also create purchase orders to send to suppliers.
  • Overall, the more complex your orders, the more features you will require. But you will also have to take into account the time required to hire new employees and the time you’ll spend in training them. The best POS system provides a balance of both.
  • If you are on budget, you can start with a basic setup, i.e. POS software operating on a PC with only a drawer and receipt printer. You may also have credit card reader and bar code scanner. Then as your needs grow, you can add pole display, an inventory tag printer, or PIN debit pad, and so on. Also you can see to it that the system doesn’t require someone to set it up for you which can elevate its cost by thousands of dollars.
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