Over the last three months I have seen an increasing number of online stores start to sell in physical stores of a pop-up and permanent nature. Added to this are entrepreneurial clients engaging in trade shows where either samples are ordered or sold along with their online stock.
I have been asked how we can help them do this better, without traditional Point of Sale (POS) software as its expensive and there are long-term rental contracts or specialist hardware is required.
As always, thinking about what is needed is the best place to start. To that end the core functions of a POS system are:
- Stock Control
- Cash control
- Sales Documentation
- Account & Customer Information
Stock control for online & point of sale
Stock control is vital. Inventories must be managed so that as soon as something is sold, either online or at a physical store, the stock levels of both are updated. This helps protect customers from being disappointed and the retailer from unplanned out of stock refunds and other backorder processes.
Cash control at point of sale
Cash control is a very important part of a POS system. It not only helps the mathematically challenged with the amount tendered and correct change to give, but also provides for different payment types i.e. Cash, eftPos, credit card and accounts to name a few.
Almost every country has rules and regulations that relate to sales documentation. Taxation and proof of sale form their basis. So any system needs to be able to provide this.
Account and customer information
Many businesses have customer information of some kind, whether it be for marketing, account administration or invoicing. Having access to this, and being able to process payments, orders and collect information for marketing, all form an important role in your POS system.
As this information is confidential, it requires protection through a control process of a security nature.
Reporting enables balancing of daily totals as well as performance management. An ideal system should provide information on products, users and accounts so the data can be analysed to help a business grow through informed decision making and planning.
If you think about it, these core functions of a POS system are actually very similar to an online store where we have to:
- Show and control stock
- Take payments
- Provide sales documentation
- Manage account and customer information
- Provide reporting
There are some special requirements for cash sales, like managing the amount tendered and change to give, but all the core functions are there. This did get us thinking and we now offer a custom administrator / shop manager view that forms a POS system utilizing the ecommerce database to provide all the core functions of a POS system. Added to this is a touch screen for fixed bricks and mortar stores or just a tablet for trade shows and markets and there you have your POS system without the commitment of long-term contracts or the expense of rental equipment.
Talk with us about having an online and point of sale system that are one and the same.
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