Point of sale describes any place where a retail transaction takes place. When you swipe your credit card to pay for your groceries, that’s a point of sale. When you hand your waiter cash for your dinner, that’s a point of sale. When you hand your hairstylist a check for the great haircut she just gave you, that’s a point of sale.
Most retail businesses and restaurants use a point of sale system to complete customer transactions. If you sell products, and not just services, you also need a way to manage your inventory. The solution: a point of sale inventory management system.
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There are many benefits to combining your point of sale system and your inventory management system:
- Discounts and promotions are easy to implement. You can also track the success (or failure) of a promotion.
- Use your sales history to prepare a sales forecast.
- Search for items in your inventory that aren’t selling and take appropriate action. You may choose to change your marketing approach, or simply put them on clearance to move them off your shelves.
- If your business has multiple locations, you can manage the inventory across all of your stores.
- Look at trends in your sales history and stock up on inventory when it’s at its lowest price.
Data Accuracy: It’s Your Assets On The Line
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, having access to reliable transactional data about your business is extremely important. Whether you own two stores or 200 stores, you need accurate data to make critical business decisions—from handling inventory to managing your cash flow.
Let’s look at three concrete ways in which accurate data provided by an integrated retail management systems can assist your business and improve your bottom line.
Have the Right Products at the Right Place at the Right Time
Ask any business owner about inventory management, and he/she is sure to frown! Most companies use a stand-alone batch system to account for inventory and sales. Daily sales data is batch processed at the end of the day. For some retailers, “batch” means employees compile sales data manually—a process fraught with complications. Besides being vulnerable to human error, the batch system makes it impossible to get a “right-now” look at what you sold, and what you still have to sell. It creates problems in two primary ways:
- creating opportunity for lost revenue
- frustrating hard-earned clients by not having the products they want when they want them
With real-time transactional data, your business will be able to adapt to consumer behavior on the fly, ordering inventory instantly to accommodate your customer’s needs.
Boost Your Marketing Strategy with Data… Not Guesses
Having accurate data isn’t only essential to managing inventory; it’s also a key element to developing an effective marketing strategy. Knowing which products sell best, and when can reveal customers’ behavior….what he/she wants… and offer insight into how best to create targeted offers and pricing strategies.
While businesses in the past have often relied on labor-intensive (and generally unpopular) surveys, cold calls, or flat-out guessing, more and more businesses today simply use the data that should be collected in the course of selling. Imagine knowing what the next item to offer would be, or understanding if users are pre-disposed to add-on warranties, financing, or upgrades into more profitable products. Knowing buying patterns and behaviors can increase customer profitability, allowing you to spend more to acquire them.
Manage That All Too Precious Cash Flow
Having accurate financial data is crucial to managing cash flow. In retail, there’s always demand for money flowing out to vendors, logistics firms, employees, landlords, advertising, etc.
Real-time transactional data give you an idea of tomorrows deposits today…giving you the upper hand on needing to transfer money in from your credit facilities OR the opportunity to pay them down. Spend less time worrying about whether you have the funds to write a check. In the end, real-time data creates less stress for the owner and the bank!
Real-time Data Begins with the Right Technology
While almost every store could benefit from integrated retail management software, figuring out the best one for you can be a challenge.
When deciding on an integrated retail management system, here are some questions to keep in mind:
- Does it easily integrate into my current accounting and business systems?
- Is the software customizable for my particular needs?
- Can I see data and sell items from all my stores, distribution centers and partners?
- Are there regular software upgrades?
- What types of reports can I generate?