Everyone recognizes the sound of an old-fashioned cash register. It has been turned into an icon by its depiction on TV and film screens all over the world. The ka-ching ring is synonymous with a cash sale and winning everywhere you go.
However, a lot has changed in the last decade or so. Store owners and food outlet retailers, in the vast majority, have replaced old-sounding cash registers with POS terminals instead—and these machines can do so much more than simply ring up a sale. Point of sale (POS) machines can carry out tasks that will empower owners and operators to new heights of stock-taking, accounting, and sales.
POS Terminal Facts
POS terminals are not cash registers. They are standardized computers that run on software specifically designed to make the store’s point of purchase operations easier. Wherever transactions take place in the retail location, the checkout area or counter will have a POS there.
The most basic form of POS will merely be a terminal where customers can ring up their purchases. The system includes reading the customer’s debit or credit card, gaining authorization for the sale, and printing a receipt. Over and above these functions, a POS can perform other services as well.
Besides being a point of sale terminal, POS systems can play a significant role in helping to manage store inventories. They can indicate to the owner/operator if an item is on site, how many units have been bought, and how many are left in stock, so they know when to reorder. It can do this by feeding all the information into the system and producing it upon request—automated information at the touch of a button.
How POS Systems Work
A store, restaurant, or food outlet can have as many POS terminals as they need. Each one will consist of a credit or debit card swiper, printer for receipts, and a cash drawer of some kind. They are all connected to the same server.
This provides a central database where the information is processed and collected. Every transaction that occurs in the store happens through one of these points. When necessary, shop owners can also have a barcode scanner set up, which is just one of many equipment choices the store owner can choose to add to the POS terminal system.
When the POS system has been set up, y means of activating and loading the UPCs and codes for the outlet’s inventory, all the store clerk or server has to do is scan an item or barcode for the data, and it’s recorded into the main server. The main terminal then sends the correct price to the POS system’s display. It continues to do this, adding more items to the total as they are scanned until the final amount is calculated.
This is not the only thing the system is doing at that time. It’s also sending essential data to the server for inventory, and letting the owner know who made the sale. This is just a fraction of the helpful service a POS system provides, too. The list of advantages POS systems present is endless.