What is Point-of-Sale (POS) Software?
Point-of-sales software coordinates the execution of in-person retail sale transactions by supporting payment collection, receipting, and back-office processes.
Critical business benefits enabled by POS software include:
- More accurate and timely retail accounting based on the ability to integrate POS functions with core accounting applications
- Improved customer satisfaction based on more rapid checkout experiences
- Increased sales revenues supported by more effective promotions management and the delivery of cross-sell/upsell recommendations to retail staff
- Reduced stock management costs as a result of automated inventory count updates following customer transactions
Key POS Software Features to Consider
|Multiple payment method support||Point-of-sale software can support payments in multiple formats including cash, credit, debit card, check, gift card, and others|
|Refunds and return management||Returns management functionality provides coordinates the successful completion of return tasks such as evaluating item conditions, restocking, and issuing refunds/credits|
|Receipting||POS software allows for the creation of customer receipts documenting transaction details, often in a variety of receipt formats|
|Customer loyalty/rewards programs||Customer loyalty programs allow customers to accrue benefits or store credit based on order histories or other factors and can be used to improve customer retention|
|Promotions management||Promotions management capabilities include the ability to manage discount deductions item/customer eligibility checks and with automated cost calculation|
|Item look-up||POS systems with integrated invenotry control or access to separate inventory management systems allow cashiers to check on item availability from a POS terminal|
|Customer database||Customer databases are used to track contact information, buying histories, and other factors that can enhance ongoing relationships with retail customers and promote increased sales activity|
|On-account sales||On-account sales capabilities allow customers to receive items immediately and make payment on an issued invoice at a later date|
|Age verification||Age verification may be required for sellers of items such as alcohol and tobacco|
|Gratuities management||Gratuities management capabilities allow for customers to leave tips and provide support for gratuity calculation and reporting on compensation distribution|
|Paypal integration||The ability to enable the use of online payment services such as a PayPal is an increasingly common POS functionality that provides improved customer payment method flexibility|
|Touchscreen integration||Touchscreen capabilities allow for more rapid data entry of commonly purchased items|
Point-of-Sale Software: Examining the Opportunities
Point-of-sale represents the area where retail businesses conduct their most intensive data entry. At no other point is there such an opportunity to improve efficiency. From moving customers through the checkout line to automatically integrating with back-end financial management systems, point-of-sale software provides powerful tools to improve productivity.
Point-of-sale software opens up a host of other major business opportunities:
- Real-time access to accurate inventory counts
- Automatic integration with accounting software
- On-the-spot upsell recommendations
- Improved markdown and promotions management
- Tighter controls for return authorizations
- Customer info tracking for ongoing marketing
- Product sales trending
- The list goes on…
A Competitive Market is Improving POS Investment Returns
The recent years have also been kind to retailers eager to improve their technology advantage at the counter, but concerned about the cost of doing so. Three big factors have contributed to lowering costs and improving ROI rates for investments in POS software:
- Cloud-based, SaaS options mean retailers can spread costs over time, rather than make a large capital expenditure on a new system.
- An increase in the number of POS providers developing software is creating price competition while allowing for tighter targeting of niche industry requirements—limiting the need for expensive customization.
- Mobile apps have turned phones into portable payment kiosks, minimizing hardware requirements, while enabling retailers to take the transaction from the counter to the sales floor and beyond.
Automation at the Counter with POS Software
Automation and efficiency are keys components of how POS software generates a return. Accurately inputting items sold, quantities, and price can be automated in a number of different ways. Many point-of-sale applications allow for bar code scanners as a way of transmitting information about the item being purchased. Whether the information is gathered through touch-screens, bar codes, or manual input of item codes, POS software will associate the item and quantity input with a per unit price. The point-of-sale system is also responsible for summing the total of all items and providing a balance due figure. Research has shown repeatedly that errors are dozens of times more likely with manually calculated balances as opposed to those derived at automatically by software. Also, the ability to create line item records for every item sold is a first step in preventing fraud and theft.
Track Buying Trends with Point-of-Sale Software
An often-overlooked capability of point-of-sale software is the ability of intelligent software to assist in promoting increased sales volumes. The point-of-sale offers a tremendous opportunity to get to know your customers and to appeal to their consumer needs. Detailed sales histories let you see firsthand what your hottest sellers are and which products are not moving as fast as you’d like. Understanding the buying trends of individual customers further helps target sales opportunities—provided the information is shared with the right employees at the right time.
Access Key Point-of-Sale Reports
Point-of-sale systems capture data critical to making solid business decisions. POS software can be integrated with inventory software to deduct items from inventory as they are sold. Understanding precise inventory stocks and the rate of sales on products allows retailers to make good decisions on when to re-order items. Ordering stock wisely means ensuring availability without tying up cash in overhead expenses.
Enabling Multiple Payment Options
The cash only retail business is quickly fading into obscurity. Today’s consumers expect uniform access to the payment method of their choosing. Point-of-sale systems help to accommodate this business reality. Point-of-sale software modules easily allow credit card processing and are built to easily receive input from credit card swipers. While credit and debit options have reduced the number of checks being written, many customers still expect the option. Payment by check has historically offered an opportunity for fraud and lost revenues, but modern point-of-sale systems have introduced security tools to help minimize this possibility. Many point-of-sale applications can integrate with check reader hardware and check verification services. Of course, virtually all point-of-sale systems require the ability to support cash transactions. Tight integration between the point-of-sale software and the cash drawer is a must.
Point-of-Sale Hardware Integration
Most point-of-sale experts recommend choosing software and basing the decision on what hardware to use off of the software system, rather than vice versa. The basic reason for this is that the software provides the intelligence in the system and will have more specific requirements about which hardware devices can be integrated. Typical hardware needs for POS set-ups include: credit-card swipers, computer terminals, monitors, bar-code scanners, receipt printers, touchscreens, computer peripherals such as keyboards and mice, and cash-drawers.
Taking the Next Steps
Automation of your transactions will not only help you process transactions quicker, it will also speed up reporting and inventory management. Whether you are looking for a standalone POS solution, a solution to augment your current systems or a complete ERP solution, we can help you narrow down the number of options for you to consider.
Through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate a handful of solutions suited for your specific requirements. Get started today!