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Use a Retail Point of Sale System to Get a Definitive Read on Business

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.

Shrink Shrinkage--Systematically
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 business.

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.


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