Guide to Purchasing a POS System

A POS (Point of Sale) system is essential for the running of any business. It tracks purchases, prints receipts, catalogs invoices, and keeps you in touch with other aspects of your industry or corporation. A quality POS system will handle most of the purchasing end of your business for you.

The best POS systems are open-source systems that handle input, output, managerial material, staffing, organization, leadership and customer databases. Essentially, the POS system for a successful business takes input, analyzes it, categorizes it, and puts it out into an external environment.

A quality POS system will have (at a minimum) the following functionalities:

– Mailing List Creation
– Customer History Management
– Multiple Templates for Sales Reports
– Transaction Processing
– Sales Tracking
– Inventory Management
– Barcode Scanning
– Layaway Tracking
– Purchase Order Creation
– Credit Card Processing

Most high-end POS systems have many more functions, and can be customized to meet the needs of a specific business.

The most important thing to remember when you are shopping for a POS System or a POS upgrade is that your business might very well grow in the coming years. Spending $20,000 on a POS system which you will outgrow in five years is not cost-effective. Finding a POS system that can grow with your business is next to essential.

Unfortunately for the newly initiated business owner, there are thousands of options from which to choose. POS systems range from utterly simply to mind-bogglingly complex, and if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into, you might end up with a system you don’t understand, and cannot train your employees on.

Next, you must look at your business from a purely functioning standpoint. Depending on the type of business you run, your POS system should be custom tailored. Excess functions for which you have no use can complicate your hardware and confuse your employees, not to mention your customers. Streamlining your POS system so that it meets your needs is imperative.

Here are a three of the POS systems that I have tried:

QuickBooks POS
www.quickbooks.intuit.com
– The QuickBooks Intuit 4.0 basic shows quite an improvement from previous versions and offers a convenient e-mail compatibility for purchase orders and transaction records. This is only for large businesses, as tech support is rather expensive and the hardware necessary is extravagant.

Retail PRO
www.retailpro.com
– Retail PRO is one of the easiest POS systems you can find. With one-touch screens, keyboard and mouse operation, tax-rate incorporation, and automatic generation of invoices, receipts, quotes, inventory, mailing lists and packing slips, this is a great buy. Version 8.51 is easier to use than previous versions, but bugs have been reported and tech support is not always sufficient to fix problems quickly, according to current users.

Microsoft
www.microsoft.com/businesssolutions
– Built using Microsoft technology, this is one of the post popular POS systems on the market. However, customers who seem much happier with the system are one-terminal retail stores where integration is not an issue. It is very simple and easy-to-understand, but is not idea for large businesses or corporations.

Here are a few other popular POS systems that you might want to look into:

ECR Software
www.ecrsoft.com

Retail Control Systems
www.rcs-pos.com

Winward Software
www.sportsstorepros.com

Xpert Mart
www.xpertmart.com

ARS
www.arss.com

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