Running a retail business without a retail point of sale (POS) system is like
taking body temperature without a thermometer: you may have a vague feel for
how well the business is, but you cant know exactly how it is doing.
Retail POS systems are relatively inexpensive and can easily pay for themselves
in a short amount of time just by reducing errors and deterring shrinkage.
Yet the real power of a retail
POS system is that it can increase customer
satisfaction by speeding up transactions including taking orders, accepting
credit cards and printing receipts.
Heres the 411 about what a retail point of sale system can do:
Retail Done Right with Input Devices
Sales are entered into retail
POS systems through handheld or stationery screens
or through a barcode scan. Menus on screens are customized to match inventory.
Menu selections are made by touching the screen or through a keyboard. Touch
screens are often used for food service whereas barcode scanning is the usual
choice for retail establishments having many stock keeping units (SKUs).
The point of a predefined entry system is that all sales must fall into existing
categories, reducing the chance that the customer will end up with the wrong
product due to unclear or incomplete handwriting.
POS Systems Reduce Pricing and Calculation Errors
The price of every item resides within the system, so servers and clerks cannot
accidentally or intentionally under or over charge. Tax, when applicable,
is also calculated by the retail
POS system, so businesses can be sure they
are collecting what is due state and federal agencies.
Many businesses use cameras to view and record the comings and goings at their
doors. A retail POS system acts like a camera to the cash drawer. It records
who is accessing the drawer for each transaction and it records what the
dollar value is of each transaction. Although a retail
POS system cannot
prevent theft, it is a great deterrent to employees who might be tempted
to give away a free meal or drinks or borrow from the drawer.
Increase Retail Customer Satisfaction
Retail POS systems can read credit cards and loyalty program cards, tally up
totals, and print receipts and coupons. Printed receipts can reduce fraud when
items are returned, and coupons help keep customers coming back. All these
activities are much quicker when done by a POS system than by hand, respecting
the customers time and instilling confidence in the professionalism of the
Interface with Back Office Systems
When configured to interface with back office systems, retail
POS systems can
help automate inventory management by printing pick lists and checking against
minimum stock levels to generate orders to vendors for replenishment. POS
systems can also be integrated into bookkeeping and accounting systems so
that business owners and managers can see the results of daily activity on
their profitability in near real time.
Deliver Sales Reports
Since every transaction is tracked within a retail
POS system, there is a wealth
of data to be mined. Reports from the system can help inform decisions about
when during the day, week or month more help may be needed to handle traffic,
and which items to stock more, which to stock less and which to discontinue.
By matching door counts with drawer receipts it is possible to learn which
employees or shifts are the most productive, and by extension, to learn how
to train other employees for better results.