A point of sale (POS) system is the lifeblood of any retail establishment -- the place where a retailer collects the money from a customer. However, POS systems have much more complex functions than simply recording a sale.
A modern POS system can process and record credit card transactions, keep sales records, do cost analysis and track of inventory. A POS system can help with marketing by keeping a customer information database including purchases, birth dates and other significant information, and can also handle loyalty coupons and discounts. Advanced systems offer many other features.
A POS system includes at least one computer and monitor, along with a keyboard and/or bar code reader, credit card reader, printer and the associated software. If a company has technical expertise they can buy individual components and configure them, but many companies buy all the equipment and software from one vendor so they have technical support. Choose a quality vendor who can recommend the best POS system for the volume of business and provide immediate support for any problems as they occur.
A basic POS system for a small, one location business costs between $800 and $1,500 (as of 2010). Systems can cost more than $30,000 for a multistation, complex reporting system. There are a number of industry-specific systems tailored to businesses such as day care, hair salons, dry cleaners and auto shops.
Rachel Murdock published her first article in "The Asheville Citizen Times" in 1982. Her work has been published in the "American Fork Citizen" and "Cincinnati Enquirer" as well as on corporate websites and in other online publications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in mass communication at Miami University of Ohio.