Throwback Thursday: the complete guide to POS

Definition, history, and utilization of the points-of-sales

Throwback Thursday: the complete guide to POS. Source: shutterstock.com

POS has become an inalienable part of commerce since humanity invented money as a means to pay for goods and services. This abbreviation denotes the word combination “point of sale”.

This term has greatly evolved along with the development of the retail business. In a broad sense, a point of sale is any place where buyers make their purchases, like stores or market counters. In marketing, POS means a set of commercial equipment designated for the display and demonstration of goods, trading terminals, checkout area, as well as advertising and promotion tools that stimulate the purchase.

For the fintech sector, however, this term is directly related to the technical system used to record the sold products, calculate their total cost, create a receipt and accept this payment from the customer. It is also specifically known as a POS-terminal.

In most traditional stores, POS is located at the checkout counter. It is a system of tools and technological solutions that enable money-product exchanges. This may include a cash register, a barcode scanner, a conveyor belt, a credit card MSR terminal, a receipt printer, a keyboard, a monitor, an interactive touch-screen tablet, a PIN pad, a signature capture device, and some back office main server where all the product information is stored and revised with the help of inventory control business software.

The core functions of POS

Whichever type a seller prefers, modern POS systems perform many functions except calculating the total price and accepting payment. For instance, they manage all the inventory amounts, prices and discounts; provide paper and email receipts to customers as a confirmation of their purchase; allow to analyze sales data; store the sensitive information of customers taking part in any loyalty programs, etc.

With the help of POS software, business managers can check out their stock. They can see which items have been popular over a certain period and which products are stuck in their storage like dead weight. This helps customizing promotions, pricing policies, and wholesale purchases.

Moreover, those systems allow tracking individual sales records. You can easily register and reward the best salespeople as well as provide additional training to the not so good. You can also check whether shop assistants successfully promote additional services etc.

Modern POS systems perform many functions. Source: shutterstock.com

Virtual POS systems also consolidate all the ledgers. They keep accurate accounts of one’s trading deals, reciprocal commodity deliveries, credits, and bonuses.

The simplicity and intuitive design of modern POS enable installation of self-service checkout counters and touch-screen ordering pads. It saves human staff efforts, customers’ time and employers’ costs.

However, it was not always like that. POS systems have come a long way through centuries of evolving trade deals.

The history of POS

Complex retail systems, restaurants, and even small stores needed an effective way of controlling product outgoings and money income. Manual records were not reliable, time-consuming, and highly dependent on human factors. Initially, business owners sought solutions to prevent stealing by both customers and their own employees. Later on, they wanted service to become quicker so they could sell more during working hours. Evolved selling technologies also made staff training easier and reduced equipment cost.

SEE ALSO: How to create your own e-commerce store for free

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