NickelPOS - Nickel Point of Sale

 Thoughts about Point of Sale Systems 


Point of Sale Defined

POS is an abbreviation for point of sale (or point of service). This can mean a retail shop, a checkout counter in a shop, or a variable location where a sales transaction occurs.

Traditional stores
A check-out counter, checkstand (USA), or checkout (UK) is the aisle where people place items they have chosen to purchase from a store, such as a supermarket or department store. This is typically a long counter, which usually contains a moving belt or sometimes a rotating carousel, and a photocell to stop it when items reach the end. Old General StoreThe cashier rings up each item on the cash register and obtains the total. The items are placed in bags and the customer can take them after paying.

Point-of-sale technology

The term is often used in connection with hardware and software for checkouts, and in the case of variable locations, with wireless systems.

POS systems evolved from the mechanical cash registers of the first half of the 20th century. Examples of this type of register were the NCR registers, operated by a crank, and the lever-operated Burroughs registers. These registers recorded data on journal tapes or paper tape and required an extra step to transcribe the information into the retailer's accounting system. The next step in evolution was to move to operation by electricity. An example of this type of register was the NCR Class 5 cash register. In 1973 new registers that were driven by computers were introduced, such as the IBM 3653 Store System and the NCR 2150. Other computer based manufacturers were Regitel, TRW, and Datachecker. 1973 also brought about the introduction of the UPC/EAN barcode readers on the POS systems. In 1986, the POS systems became based on PC technology with the introduction of the IBM 4683.

During the late 1980s and throughout the 90s stand-alone credit card devices were developed so credit card processing could be more easily and securely added. Some popular models include the VeriFone Tranz 330, Hypercom T7 Plus, or Lipman Nurit 2085. These relatively simple devices have evolved in recent years to allow multiple applications (credit card, gift card, age verification, employee time clock) to reside on one device. Some wireless POS systems for restaurants not only allow for mobile payment processing, they also allow servers to process the entire food order right at tableside.

As of today, retail POS systems were among the most sophisticated and powerful computer networks in commercial use. In fact, most retail POS systems do much more than just point of sale tasks. Even for the smaller tier 4 & 5 retailers, there are many POS systems available that include fully integrated accounting, inventory management, open to buy forecasting, customer relation management (CRM), service management, rental, and payroll modules.

With all of these options available, one will commonly hear a variety of terms used when referring to a certain POS software application. Those terms can include: retail management software, business management software, POS system, and point of sale software.

Early POS software

The early electronic cash registers (ECR) were programmed in proprietary software and were very limited in function and communications capability. In August of 1973 IBM announced the IBM 3650 and 3660 Store Systems that were, in essence, a mainframe computer packaged as a store controller that could control 128 IBM 3653/3663 Point of Sale Registers. Old CashregisterThis system was the first commercial use of client-server technology, peer to peer communications, Local Area Network (LAN) simultaneous backup, and remote initialization. By mid-1974, it was installed in Pathmark Stores in New Jersey and Dillards Department Stores.

Programmability allowed retailers to be more creative. In 1979 Gene Mosher's Old Canal Cafe in Syracuse, New York was using POS software written by Mosher that ran on an Apple II to take customer orders at the restaurant's front entrance and print complete preparation details in the restaurant's kitchen. In that novel context, customers would often proceed to their tables to find their food waiting for them! This software included real time labor and food cost reports.

In 1985 Mosher introduced the first touch screen-driven, color graphic, POS interface. This software ran on the Atari ST, the world's first consumer-level color graphic computer. By the end of the 20th century Mosher's promotion of his unpatented software paradigm had resulted in its worldwide adoption by cash register manufacturers and other POS software developers as the de facto standard for point of sale software systems.

Today, most of the major retailers of the world use POS software.

Thoughts and Reasons to use a Computerized Point of Sale Software System

Your sudden shrinkage will no longer go undetected. Point of Sale systems are designed to immediately record any and all sales. Not only does that mean timely and accurate sales tracking, but a POS system also lets you readily identify inventory levels, particularly when what you have on the books doesn't jibe with actual stock.Man Thinking

You see it with the onset of sudden shrinkage — when you realize that inventory is missing or your numbers just never seem to match up. Almost every modern Point-of-Sale has a receiving and inventory module that, when used properly, can help pinpoint the cause of the shrinkage.

Markdown management is much easier. A common land mine for many small to medium-sized businesses is price reduction — knowing which items have been marked down and recording those discounts accordingly. Rather than wrestling with cash-register receipts at day's end, a POS automates the process of introducing markdowns and, in turn, tracking them accurately. The trends in Point of Sale are not just inventory accuracy but the use of pricing models to allow for markdown management.

Promotions can be tracked more successfully. A similar dynamic holds true with promotions. Whether through coupons, special discounts or other vehicles, promotions can be central to attracting and retaining business. Trouble is, managing and reconciling short-term specials — not to mention pinpointing their impact — can be nigh impossible without the automation and immediacy of a point-of-sale system. Many small retailers invest in things such as direct home marketing. At the end of the promotion, those with manual cash registers are hard pressed to tell you how successful the promotion was. The POS store can pretty much tell you to the penny how they did.

You can maintain control in absentia. You may be surprised to discover that you actually run two businesses: one when you're there and its evil twin when you don't happen to be around. Many operations suffer in employee efficiency and customer service when the boss is away. Automating a host of functions via a POS can help boost those areas, no matter where the head honcho happens to be.

You simply can't be there all the time. A POS lets you have that important level of control when you're not there.

Your prices are consistent from one location to the next. Nothing can prove more embarrassing than having a customer question why one item has one price at one store, yet a different price at another. If your business operates at more than one location, a point-of-sale system ensures pricing consistency.

Even better, a POS system automates overall inventory control, helping to keep stocks in proper balance depending on demand and other factors, which can vary from one location to the next. It really lends itself to a better overall customer experience — the sorts of things a customer expects when he walks through the front door.

You get many tools in a single package. Buying business equipment piecemeal can be pricey. If you find your checkbook wearing thin from the expense of software and other gear, a comprehensive point-of-sale system may include them in a single package. Most Point-of-Sale systems have add-on modules like payroll time clocks and customer preference databases. That removes the need for small businesses to invest in separate systems for those purposes.

You can make better use of your personnel. Little is more maddening to a business owner than watching his or her staff bogged down with inefficient, unproductive responsibilities, from double-checking inventory disparities to seemingly endless cash-register reconciliation. Perhaps the greatest advantage to a comprehensive point-of-sale network is the freedom it can afford your personnel to devote their energy to what genuinely matters the most: helping customers.

A good Point of Sale allows you to allocate your human resources to the customer service area of the business. That means they no longer have to be counting, calculating, ordering and checking cash-register accuracy.

A Few Business' That Should Use a Point of Sale Software System  

Art Stores
Beauty Supply
Bed, Bath & Linen
Bicycle Shops
Book Stores
Bridal Fashion
Children’s Store
Company Store
Consumer Electronics
Department Store
Duty Free
Eyeglasses & Sunglasses
Food & Beverage
Garden & Nursery
General Apparel
Health Care
Health Club
Home Furnishings
Home Improvement
Party Supply
Pet Supply
Pools and Spas
Lawn & Garden
Learning Materials
Leather Apparel
Men’s Apparel
Office Stationary
Outdoor Gear
Saddle & Tack
Ski & Surf
Smoke Shop
Sporting Goods
Sports Apparel
Sports Arena
Sports Team
Surf Shop
Tourist Attraction
Toys & Games
Western Apparel
Women’s Apparel
Quick Serve  


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