The Early Days of POS Systems
Every trader in history has had some method of keeping his valuables and money which they retain and exchange, recorded in some fashion. The earliest method of trading was to exchange the product for services or vice versa. In the late 1800s, the first mechanical cash register was produced.
This was so innovative as it then meant that, not only could the merchant be able to transact money, but he could keep an account of his takings. The evolution of the mechanical cash register then became the cash register which could produce a printed till slip for the customer. This sparked a rapid growth of the cash registers, as the customer could then take a printed document for his own records.
Every time the cash register was operated and the cash drawer opened to put away the money, as well as hand out the change, a ”ka-ching” sound would be heard. This was done by use of a bell and striker. As the mechanical movement of the draw opening released the striker it would hit the bell to make the sound of “ka-ching”.
What was the purpose of this? If the business owner was in the back of the store or looking after his clients, he could hear the sound of every transaction in his business. Imagine the satisfaction of many cash registers transacting and the sound of those “ka-chings”. In today’s technologically advanced world this still happens. Business owners receive bank transaction messages that can also initiate a notification sound on their mobile devices.
What is POS?
The earlier machines were called cash registers, as they would transact cash. Then later other methods of payment (tenders) were introduced, such as credit cards, vouchers, electronic transfers, on account, and others besides just cash. Merchants started calling the machines “tills”. The operation and basic functions, however, still remained the same. As technology progressed the requirement was not just to account for the different tenders to put money into the till, but there became a need to account for products and stock management.
The word POS is actually an acronym for Point Of Sale.
By definition, Point of Sale is “the place at which a retail transaction is carried out.” Point of Sale is generally used for the system which transacts the sales. Some other definitions are used to depict the advertising and devices for the marketing of merchandise at the Point of Sale. In this article, we will focus on the system that does the transaction. In this case, the hardware and software associated with the system of transacting at the Point of Sale.
Who Uses POS?
Generally, any business that has a place where the customers of the business come to purchase the business’s products or services will need a Point of Sale system. The category of the business would then have different types of Point of Sale systems. For example, an accountant would do the transaction of invoicing the customer after the services have been provided, not necessarily whilst the customer is at their premises. A retail shop such as a hardware store would generally do the transaction at the counter (Point of Sale) where the customer would present their purchase to then enter the products and to accept the tender payment. The POS system, that we are referring to in this article is the POS System that would transact at the time of presentation of the product to be purchased.
What is a POS System?
The POS System (Point Of Sale System), is the combination of hardware and software which work together as a system to provide the recording of the transaction for the purpose of updating customer, product stock, and tender Information.
The recording of the information is then used for:
- Customer transaction information that affects:
a. Customers details
b. Transaction history
c. Customer balances
- Stock Maintenance by recording:
a. Stocks sold
b. Stocks returned
- Recording, tenders, and accounts of:
a. Current Account
b. Cash in Draw
c. Card transactions
d. Money in the safe
The Benefits of POS
There are many benefits of a POS System.
Ease of Operation
The POS Operator does not need to be a highly skilled computer operator. The POS System is simple enough to do the transaction. The operator need only do the following:
- Start the POS transaction
- Identify the product(s)
- The operator enters the unique identification of the product(s) onto the system
- The operator informs the customer of the amount due for the purchases. The customer then presents the method of Payment
- The operator then tenders the method of payment(s)
- End of the POS Transaction. (Next customer please)
Recording of Necessary Information in One Transaction
Every transaction, as simple as it may be, needs the following information to be updated:
- Customer transaction information
- Stock movement
In order to ensure an efficient and streamlined checkout process, the stock products must be uniquely identifiable, which is either the stock code or bar code so that when the product is presented to the operator, the operator can enter the unique identifier and the correct stock item can be sold at the correct price.
Using barcode scanning is the quickest, simplest, and most accurate method to be used during the transaction. The barcode can be the stock code so that both affect the stock movement of the same product.
If the Operator encounters products that have damaged labels and the codes cannot be easily determined, a full product search function can be done on partial names or product categories.
Special Product Pricing and Controls
On the POS, specials can be setup on selective individual or categories of products. This means that when the operator enters or scans the stock code/barcode the special price overrides the standard pricing. This can also be set up for a period of date ranges that trigger these special prices. Other specials can be automated, for example, buy one and get one free or special pricing for volume sales of a product. The benefit of which is that the operator doesn’t have to remember the specials. It is all done automatically.
Security Levels for Operation
The operator only needs to be kept to simple operations, so the need for returns, cancellation of sales, corrections, price overrides, discounts, etc should be done by Supervisors. In the POS all the security measures and levels should be adjustable to allow or disallow the POS operators’ functions.
The Point of Sale System as Part of a Business System
The POS Systems can all be integrated and linked to a Back Office System. Therefore transactions for customers, stock, and tenders are consolidated.
Omni Accounts Point of Sale (POS) system is unique in that it is an integral part of the whole Omni Accounts software solution. As such it has completely seamless integration with all the other aspects of the Omni Accounts functions, such as the full ERP functionality which includes functionality like manufacturing and job costing, etc. Omni Accounts offers the added advantage of being scalable because of its combination of Bundles and Switches so that you can tailor your system to best suit your unique accounting and management controls and requirements, no matter what your business type or size.