Point of sale (POS) software is commonly used in millions of retail businesses through out the world. And there are thousands of different POS software programs to choose from...
They range from very simple POS programs... to extremely advanced programs with thousands of different features designed to streamline operations and improve efficiency. In addition, there are about 30 different vertical markets that software companies have customized their POS software to handle.
The term "POS software" is a little deceptive because most of the POS software programs handle MUCH more than just "point of sale" tasks. That's why the term "retail management software" is being used more and more often.
You might see websites and various sources refer to the same software package as "point of sale software", "pos software", or "retail management software". But don't let this confuse you. They're all referring to the same thing...
The term "POS software" is simply a phrase that software development companies came up with to describe their software. The problem is that each POS software system can be VERY different! And the software can have a huge impact on the productivity of your business.
Before we get into those details, let's start by defining POS software in it's simplest form...
POS software is utilized at the physical location at which goods are sold to customers. In other words... POS software takes the place of your cash register.
When using POS software, all sales and transaction are made through your computer. You tell the computer what you're selling, the selling price, and the quantity sold. Then it calculates the total, including tax, and tells you how much change is due. It also records every sale and tracks everything.
Since the computer remembers every sale, it can automate all kinds of tasks for you. For example, it will calculate your sales for the day, your sales tax totals, and tell you how many times you sell an item for a given time period.
This is an example of POS software in its simplest form, but there's a lot more to it.
In fact, POS software can serve as complete retail management system that will automate several areas of your business. The software might include:
Point of Sale
Automatic Purchase Order Creation
Automatic Price Updates
Bar Code Scanning
Customer Tracking and Follow Up
EDI (Electronic Ordering)
And much, much more!
Many people think that point of sale software simply tracks your inventory, tracks your books and all POS systems do basically the same thing. This is a common misconception. Every POS system has different features, strengths, weaknesses, and intended uses.
These differences can have a huge impact on your business! As you start the software evaluation process, you will see these distinct differences.