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    A point of sale is exactly what the name implies – the point at which a sale is made in exchange for payment. There are still many small businesses using the old-fashioned manual cash register that is not connected to anything. Today there are new retail point of sale systems that have made the cash registers look slow and unproductive. Sure, they record a sale, but they are not tied to inventory or do not record customer information that can be used to better serve their needs in the future.

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    Making the Exchange

    The new POS systems are often inexpensive so there is really no reason why a small business cannot exchange its obsolete cash register with a state-of-the-art system that includes a:

    • Computer
    • Monitor
    • Cash drawer
    • Receipt printer
    • Barcode scanner
    • Debit/Credit card reader
    • Customer display

    The computer-based systems can track sales by customer and improve sales records for financial reporting. POS systems can be networked with other business computer systems to improve inventory control and procurement processes. There are even add-on systems available like customer preference tracking software. One of the newest features is mobile payment processing, taking the point-of-sale to customer. Yet another advantage of computerizing POS is the ability to network more than one location.

    There are a number of good POS systems available that were specifically designed for small businesses. They include:

    • Groupon
    • PayPal Here
    • Quickbooks
    • Revel
    • Square Register
    • Shopkeep
    • SalesVu
    • Shopify
    • Vend

    Each POS system has different features. For example, Square Register is designed for selling on the road. The best thing to do is a Google search for “POS Systems Reviews” and read the system descriptions for systems that could meet business needs. Does the business need mobile and tablet functionality? Is it for one or more locations? Does the business owner want plug-and-play? Identify the potential systems and make a chart that lists requirements with the name of the systems across the top. Use the chart to identify the systems that meet the most requirements.

    Making the System Work for Your Business

    Some factors to keep in mind when shopping for a POS system include:

    • Compatibility with existing hardware
    • Price
    • Available add-ons
    • Vendor support, including training and ongoing assistance as needed
    • Upgrade policies and availability of upgrades to accommodate a growing business
    • Ability to meet needs of a particular type of business, i.e. restaurant, bakery, retail, etc.
    • Data backup (many small businesses are using cloud-based systems)
    • Special needs, like age verification software or ability to sell online and offline

    The POS systems for small businesses are affordable and can contribute directly to business growth. If the sound of a ringing cash register is still heard, it is time to consider installing a POS system. The new systems offer too many advantages to stay with the old.
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