A point of sales system or the point of purchase system is the processing program and hardware used to complete a retail transaction. The cashier calculates the total bill for each customer, communicates the amount and generates an invoice for them which is usually a print out from the cash register. There are usually two options for making payments i.e. cash and credit or debit cards with a cash register point of sales system. After the payment has been made, the receipt is printed and given to the customer to complete the process.
The amount a customer owes for their purchase is calculated by the cashier using a number of tools and methods such as weighing scales, barcode readers and cash registers. The payment is made at the payment terminal and can be connected to a computer or a touch screen as there are now many options available in software and hardware.
The point of sales system is also called the point of service because not only is the sale made at this terminal but also where the customer might approach for a return or change in order. New technology in retail POS includes software with additional features such as inventory management, financial costing, warehouse management and CRM which offers more functionality and utility than a typical POS system.
More and more businesses are adopting point of sales system and the biggest reason for this change is that with the POS there is no longer a need for price tags. The selling price is saved with the product code of any item when it is being logged into inventory. The cashier only needs to scan the barcode to add the price to the invoice. The change in price can also be easily managed through the inventory window. Other advantages of a POS system are that you can implement numerous discounts, add loyalty programs for regular customers and efficiently control and manage the stock.
Uses of POS Systems
Point of sales systems are predominantly being used by the retail industry although restaurant businesses are also jumping into the scene. The retail POS includes a cash register and also a debit or credit card reader. In most cases a weight scale, conveyor belt, card payment processing system, customer keypad device and signature capturing device is also included. The system comes with a keyboard and mouse but the latest POS screens are enabled with touch screen technologies and the processing unit is now built into the monitor to make it an all-in-one POS unit.
The all-in-one POS unit frees up space on the counter at the retail store. The software installed in the point of sale system is equipped to handle many customer queries and has the functionality to deal with sales, returns, layaways, exchanges, gift cards, wedding registries, promotions, discounts, customer loyalty programs and much more. The POS software can also make pre-planned sales for promotions, validate manufacturer coupons and handle payments of multiple types including those made with foreign currency.
The point of sales unit handles all the sales made but it is only one aspect of the system that is used by retail businesses. The computers in the back office are usually for handling other matters of the POS such as inventory management, purchasing, transferring products from one location to another and etc. The system also stores information on all sales made to assist with returns and creating financial reports on profits and sales targets. Usually the numbers from the POS are fed to another program. The customer information can be maintained in these systems for marketing and research purposes.