Guide to POS Inventory Systems- Key Features & Hardware
A POS inventory system uses advanced software that enables businesses to streamline transactions and efficiently monitor stock levels as reorders and customer purchases take place.
For retailers, there is a constant flow of inventory entering and leaving the business, making it challenging to monitor product activity manually. However, modern point-of-sale systems automate stock tracking by continuously updating inventory records with real-time data. With access to accurate product metrics, businesses can promote sales by optimizing stock levels.
Point-of-sale systems offer many other features that provide businesses with the actionable insights necessary to make informed decisions.
Benefits of Point-of-Sale Systems
While startups may be able to conduct transactions and audits with a traditional cash register and accounting system, larger companies may need more advanced methods.
Point-of-sale (POS) inventory management systems act as a cash register, accounting service, and inventory control all in one. POS systems can track inventory across several store locations to adequately calculate stock levels and manage retail prices. This allows employees to quickly look up the location of goods and product variances, such as colors, sizes, and bundles.
Advanced solutions can even integrate with warehouse management software to access data on incoming shipments. This prevents businesses from under or over ordering stock, resulting in stockouts, backorders, and high storage costs.
It also enables the solution to generate routine reports on inventory turnover, sales, generated revenue, and profit margins with the most accurate data. Automatic data sharing saves companies the time it takes to manually consolidate information, which requires extra labor and introduces the risk of human error.
Retailers are the primary users of POS systems, followed by the restaurant industry. Retail businesses need to be able to actively track units of the product as they move from storage to the storefronts, so they can adequately restock depleting items.
Advanced solutions connect to accounting software and update inventory data based on sales, returns, exchanges, and refunds.
The restaurant industry, particularly fast-food chains, uses POS systems for inventory control and streamlined payment processing. These solutions can link drive-thru, dine-in, and take-out payment terminals to consolidate incoming payments.
Many restaurants use mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) systems, so customers can order and pay at their tables without employee intervention. Aside from retailers and restaurants, hotels, salons, and airports also utilize POS solutions.
Key Features Businesses Should Look For
There are many different POS systems on the market, making it challenging for management to decipher which solution best fits their needs. Regardless of what industry a business is in, there are key features that every POS software should have-
- User-Friendly Interface
The system should also be easy to install and transfer data to, enabling the business to immediately launch the program. Without a fast processor, it can take days or weeks to import old data, stalling operations.
- Standard Features
Some systems require businesses to purchase a premium package to unlock features that should already be included. However, most companies need real-time inventory tracking, stock level alerts, and automatic data syncing at the minimum.
- Seamless Integration
Without adaptability, companies can be left with disjointed processes that cannot share data and consolidate reporting. Therefore, management should ask the provider if the solution can connect to external software and share its features throughout the network.
- Multi-Location Functionality
Necessary POS Hardware
Businesses may require different POS hardware, depending on their industry. However, the main components include-
- POS Terminal - The terminal can look different depending on the provider. Some include a touchscreen monitor, while others use a desktop computer, tower, and keyboard. Regardless of the layout, the terminal is what runs the actual POS system and allows the employees to view sales and inventory information.
- Card Reader - A card reader allows the POS system to accept debit and credit card payments. However, there are different types of card processors, including the magstripe, chip, and contactless readers. It is up to the business to determine which card reader best suits their customers and budget.
- Barcode Scanner - A barcode scanner is a handheld device that allows employees to scan items during transactions and restocks. Typically, they are connected to the terminal wirelessly or with a USB cable.
- Receipt Printer - While many systems can generate email receipts, they also come with a printer that is connected wirelessly or via USB.
- Cash Drawer - Depending on the terminal, some have cash drawers already included, while others use separate drawers that are connected during installation.
Other hardware can be added at the company's request, such as a scale or check scanner. These tools allow employees to focus their attention on the customers' needs rather than manually tracking transactions, inventory, and payment data.
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