POS TECH­NOL­OGY IN RE­TAIL

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Point of Sale (POS) is any lo­ca­tion where sales or trans­ac­tions may take place. Know­ing the amount of sale that a re­tail store has made is an im­por­tant thing to be known by any re­tailer. It gives an ac­count of the money earned which helps in de­ter­min­ing the profit made by the store. There are tech­nolo­gies avail­able in the mar­ket for meet­ing the ba­sic need of the re­tail­ers. How­ever, with the chang­ing trend and with the in­creas­ing rush of cus­tomers, the need of the re­tail­ers has changed. Know­ing just the daily sales of the store is not enough for meet­ing the chal­lenges. Ni­tish Ya­dav, a stu­dent of Master’s in Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy, NIFT, Delhi dis­cusses the tech­nolo­gies avail­able for keep­ing record of the sales made by the store.

One of the very first method for keep­ing track of com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions was the cash drawer that had di­viders to hold the bills and coins. These cash draw­ers had cer­tain lim­i­ta­tions like there was no way to eas­ily au­dit trans­ac­tions; dis­hon­est cashiers fre­quently aug­mented their in­come by re­mov­ing cash when their su­per­vi­sors were not present. To over­come these chal­lenges, there was a need to de­velop an­other POS sys­tem. There­fore, the me­chan­i­cal POS sys­tem was in­vented in 1879, by broth­ers James and John Ritty. The in­ven­tion was made when they no­ticed that they were get­ting ripped off by some of their em­ploy­ees. The POS sys­tem didn’t in­clude a drawer for cash; it sim­ply recorded the num­ber of sales and also the amount of each one. Ritty named his de­vice ‘ the In­cor­rupt­ible Cashier’.

Though these sys­tems served the pur­pose, with the ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy, there was a need to con­vert these me­chan­i­cal sys­tems into elec­tronic sys­tems.

The ba­sic level of tech­nol­ogy to ad­dress this chang­ing trend was the Elec­tronic POS or cash reg­is­ter sys­tem, which recorded the sales and trans­ac­tions elec­tron­i­cally. The sys­tem con­sists of a cash drawer, key­board, re­ceipt printer, mon­i­tor and mouse. The de­vice au­to­mat­i­cally prints a re­ceipt af­ter reg­is­ter­ing the value of the pur­chased item and it also records the cash trans­ac­tion. This sys­tem is ca­pa­ble of telling how much the re­tail­ers have sold. This cash man­age­ment sys­tem is most ben­e­fi­cial to the small re­tail­ers as they are easy to use and re­quire min­i­mum in­vest­ment. The brand sell­ing this ba­sic level of tech­nol­ogy is Quick­Books POS.

How­ever, with the shift in busi­ness trend and with the in­crease in the foot­fall of the cus­tomer, there arose the need for a more ad­vanced ver­sion of the POS, which in­cor­po­rates fea­tures such as in­ven­tory man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing in­for­ma­tion, em­ployee work hours and other busi­ness data. Also, with the change in pay­ment mode like card pay­ments, there was a need for a sys­tem that can adopt these changes and ful­fil the de­mand of the re­tail­ers.

The in­ter­me­di­ate level of a POS sys­tem in­cludes the ba­sic fea­ture with some ad­di­tional func­tions like credit card pro­cess­ing, cus­tomer re­ward pro­gram, cre­ation of cus­tomer ID cards, track­ing of avail­abil­ity etc. These also in­clude a bar­code scan­ner to scan the item bar­code in­stead of man­u­ally typ­ing the price of the item. This re­duces the amount of er­rors that are made and it also in­volves easy rec­ti­fi­ca­tion of mis­takes if they oc­cur. This also re­duces the ex­tra time that is in­volved in the man­ual typ­ing of the prices, which re­sults in im­proved ef­fi­ciency of the op­er­a­tion.

The other ad­van­tages of us­ing this sys­tem in­clude the abil­ity to man­age sin­gle and mul­ti­ple taxes, tax re­fund and tax ex­emp­tions. This sys­tem help in bet­ter stock man­age­ment as it en­ables all stock to be scanned upon delivery and to be en­tered into a dig­i­tal data­base. Mer­chants can there­fore re­view their over­all

stock lev­els at a glance and make ac­cu­rate pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions ac­cord­ingly. Em­ployee track­ing is an­other ad­van­tage of us­ing such sys­tems as they help track down the per­for­mance of each one of them. Also, these sys­tems help in giv­ing an ac­cu­rate re­port that in­cludes crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion re­lated to stock man­age­ment, com­mon sales trends which fur­ther help them in fore­cast­ing the de­mand of the prod­uct. One of the pri­mary brands sell­ing such a sys­tem is eHop­per.

This sys­tem serves the pur­pose of medium- level re­tail­ers, but the main dis­ad­van­tage lies in the fact that this is lim­ited to the lo­cal server and runs on a closed in­ter­nal net­work. Also, when the data has to be cen­tralised, it has to be ac­cessed from a re­mote lo­ca­tion. For ex­am­ple, a brand with a num­ber of stores in such a case will not be able to know the cen­tralised sales of ev­ery in­di­vid­ual store. Also, with the in­crease in busi­ness, there in­creases the need for cre­at­ing trans­parency in the busi­ness for a smooth work­flow.

To­day for in­creas­ing their reach to cus­tomers, stores are opt­ing for e- com­merce plat­form, and for this they need a sys­tem to keep a track of their sales and in­come. All the above rea­sons and the rev­o­lu­tion­ary re­tail de­mand has raised the de­mand for the most ad­vanced level of tech­nol­ogy which is cloud­based POS sys­tem.

These sys­tems can be di­rectly ac­cessed through the net and are com­pat­i­ble with most of the POS sys­tems. The cloud-based POS sys­tem in­te­grates fea­tures such as On­line or­der­ing, Loy­alty pro­grams and Pay­ments and fur­ther as­sists re­tail­ers in get­ting ben­e­fits that in­clude cen­tralised in­for­ma­tion ( im­por­tant for chain re­tail­ers) and the abil­ity to ac­cess data from vir­tu­ally any­where if an in­ter­net con­nec­tion ex­ists. How­ever, these sys­tems need to be up­dated from time to time and thereby most of the com­pa­nies pro­vide easy and free upgra­da­tion to the newer ver­sion. Also, the cloud based sys­tem makes the data avail­able on any of the re­mote de­vices like smart phone and lap­tops, and hence en­ables the man­agers and the own­ers to have ac­cess to the sales data and other in­for­ma­tion from any­where with just a touch. Also, the sys­tem al­lows one to have ac­cess to real time data in­for­ma­tion. The best brands serv­ing this pur­pose are Shopify and Light­speed.

Us­ing ad­vanced level of tech­nol­ogy is the need of most of the re­tail­ers to track in­for­ma­tion re­lated to sales and other in­for­ma­tion in a cen­tralised way. How­ever the other two lev­els also solve the ba­sic pur­pose or need of the re­tail­ers with a smaller busi­ness scale. Hav­ing a POS sys­tem not only helps in keep­ing record of the sales made by the store, but also helps in bet­ter man­age­ment of the stock level so that one’s stock level is main­tained and there is no sales’ loss due to that. The in­ven­tory level mea­sure­ment helps in bet­ter re­plen­ish­ment and also in fore­cast­ing the prod­uct’s de­mand.

With the shift in busi­ness trend and with the in­crease in the foot­fall of the cus­tomer, there arose the need for a more ad­vanced ver­sion of the POS, which in­cor­po­rates fea­tures such as in­ven­tory man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing in­for­ma­tion, em­ployee work hours and other busi­ness data.

The in­ter­me­di­ate level of a POS sys­tem in­cludes the ba­sic fea­ture with some ad­di­tional func­tions like credit card pro­cess­ing, cus­tomer re­ward pro­gram, cre­ation of cus­tomer ID cards, track­ing of avail­abil­ity etc.

Us­ing ad­vanced level of tech­nol­ogy is the need of most of the re­tail­ers to track in­for­ma­tion re­lated to sales and other in­for­ma­tion in a cen­tralised way. How­ever the other two lev­els also solve the ba­sic pur­pose or need of the re­tail­ers with a smaller busi­ness scale.

Point of Sale Sys­tem The me­chan­i­cal POS sys­tem was in­vented in 1879, by broth­ers James and John Ritty. The in­ven­tion was made when they no­ticed that they were get­ting ripped off by some of their em­ploy­ees. The POS sys­tem didn’t in­clude a drawer for cash; it sim­ply recorded the num­ber of sales and also the amount of each one. Ritty named his de­vice ‘the In­cor­rupt­ible Cashier’.

Me­chan­i­cal POS sys­tem

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