For a retail business today, the notion of having a mere “cash register” is decidedly outdated. Even small shops now use multitasking point of sale systems and software that do such things as gather customer and inventory information, track purchase orders, scan bar codes, read credit cards, print receipts and display messages (like specials, events, etc) to buyers.
Using a POS system can keep customer data secure, make automatic backups and streamline inventory-taking. The ability to instantly update your inventory after each sale is huge. Point of sale software and hardware can tell you – by the day, week or month – what items are selling, what items aren’t, and what you need to order. Point of sale software and equipment can also improve customer service by speeding checkout and instantly answering customer questions about product availability.
Nine POS system essentials for small retailers
- Initial setup can be a bit of a pain for existing retail businesses currently using older methods so you may want to pay a vendor for help installing your new system. For new businesses, however, it’s simple to start out with POS software and a dedicated point of sale system, including a POS cash register.
- POS systems include many components and mix-and-match features. Whether you need a retail POS cash register, restaurant point of sale or wireless point of sale, you can start with the basics and add features as your business grows.
- You can skip the entire in-store setup process by choosing a Web-based solution that gives you access from any computer with a Web connection. Web-based systems are especially great if you have more than one location.
- A POS system can also incorporate credit card processing, so you can do away with the clunky processing terminals that take up valuable counter space.
- If you sell online as well as in-store, some POS systems can easily be used for both, so you can keep all of your sales information in one place. Or if you don’t currently sell online, use the Web store features of a POS system to get started.
- The customer display on a POS cash register (called a pole display) shows items, prices and other info to the customer, and can be used to display ad messages.
- A hand-held terminal can wirelessly transmit sales back to the base station; especially handy for restaurants.
- Some point of sales systems are equipped with store POS software that will automatically produce purchase orders for items running low.
- And keep in mind that POS systems are also a great way to capture customer information that you can use for mailings, special offers and loyalty programs.
Web-based point of sale solutions can do it all: Internet-based point of sale solutions and store management software applications offer a flexible, affordable alternative to the outright purchase of POS hardware and software. Merchant OS and EffortlessE are two Web-based POS services that can help retailers track and organize sales and inventory. These systems are simple and require no special training or software expertise.
A solution for independent, single-store retailers: Microsoft Dynamics is a low-cost, easy-start POS system specifically for single-store, independent retailers. It offers inventory management, start-to-finish automated transactions and customer tracking.
Bundle a solution with Dell: Dell offers several point-of-sale solutions geared specifically to small retailers. The complete system combines Dell POS hardware with QuickBooks POS software. You can select a pre-built system or customize your own solution from Dell POS.
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