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retail point of sale systems



How a Retail POS System Will Help You Grow, Improve, and Secure Your Business

For many years, merchants have depended on retail POS systems for one sole purpose – processing payment transactions. The first retail POS systems were simple machines – little more than a large calculator – that allowed sales clerks to punch in the cost of an item, process the transaction, calculate sales tax, and produce change. As time went on, new technological advancements improved the speed and accuracy of transactions. Bar codes and scanners helped merchants ring up items faster while reducing the number of pricing errors.

Today, retail POS systems do much more than just move customers through the checkout line. They are the nerve center of retail operations, streamlining processes, sharing data and increasing productivity. Today's retail POS systems now actually help companies grow and thrive.

Benefits of retail POS systems

Modern day retail stores are nothing like the mom-and-pop shops of 20 years ago. Contemporary retailers often have to worry about online and offline payments, payment security, and multiple other responsibilities to help them remain competitive. Integrated retail POS systems help business owners manage all these challenges, and more. Let's take a look.

Inventory control – Managing inventory is a huge, never-ending process every merchant faces, but a retail POS system can simplify efforts. Every time a customer checks out an item, inventory records are automatically updated, allowing managers to see instant, accurate data at all times (1). In addition, some POS systems will automatically create sales orders when inventory reaches a low point. All it takes is a quick authorization from a qualified user, and the system will reorder the products needed.

Customer service – Businesses today need a more complete understanding of their customers in order to succeed, and a retail POS can help collect and manage customer data. When customers buy merchandise, the POS can update their profile in a customer relationship management (CRM) program, providing a clearer picture of the most profitable customers and their purchasing habits.

Faster checkout process – With the retail POS systems of old, sales associates had to enter a lot of information manually during the checkout process. This not only slowed down transactions, but also resulted in a lot of human error (2). Today’s touchscreen dashboards offer advanced, pre-set functionality that requires very little manual data entry. A few taps on the screen and the transaction processes. This time-saver also eliminates the possibility of errors that will need to be addressed later.

Mobile checkouts – POS systems easily run on computers as small as a tablet, allowing sales associates to assist customers anywhere in the business. If a customer needs help locating an item, a sales associate can use the POS to locate the item, and check out the customer right there on the spot. This ability to process payments anywhere helps merchants serve more people in less time, increasing revenue during peak sales times.

Better reporting – Businesses need data, and lots of it, to run correctly. Retail POS systems excel at providing information. An integrated retail POS system can provide sales reports, inventory levels and financial statements quickly and efficiently.

Managing employees – Managing employees is another vital yet time-consuming task businesses contend with on a regular basis, and a POS can make the process easier. Employees sign into the POS with a code that lets them access the system. The POS then tracks the hours worked for payroll processing.

Security – Data breaches are a real threat to businesses of all sized, but small-businesses may be particularly vulnerable. Many fraud victims may not even realize their businesses has been compromised until months later, long after the damage has been done. Modern POS systems offer several security features and benefits that help protect merchants from data theft. Encryption is one method used by most systems, helping protect sensitive information as it transfers to the acquirer by scrambling it into nonsensical text.

Tokenization also helps protect data. This process sends the customer’s actual data to a secure virtual vault for safekeeping while a “token” takes its place during processing. Tokenization hides and helps protect sensitive data while preserving it for later needs like recurring billing.

Lastly, storeowners should make sure their POS system is upgraded and ready for EMV acceptance. EMV helps protect customer data by using embedded microchips rather than magnetic strips to transfer data to a card reader. This technology offers better protection to consumers by using an encoded language to talk to the POS terminal, a language that expires after every use. When cyberattackers intercept this information, it is useless to them. Chip cards are also nearly impossible to reproduce into counterfeits.

Retail POS systems are the ultimate tool for creating a more efficient and productive organization. They link vital information centers together and allow for easier management of staff, inventory and marketing needs, all while adding layers of security that help thwart cyberattackers. A POS system is no longer a useful gadget. It’s a powerful business development tool that every retailer should use to their advantage.

  1. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77960
  2. http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/biztools/article.php/3922966/What-Are-Integrated-Payment-Solutions-and-Why-Should-You-Care.htm

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