Point of Sale or POS systems are critical to retail data management. POS system technology includes not only the front end cash registers but also the hardware devices and software programs for back room recording processes such as purchasing, receiving, and inventory valuation.
There are numerous POS systems in use today. Among the most common ones used by food co-ops are:
There also is COPOS for smaller stores and a Quickbooks program for a simpler launching of POS for retail operations.
The complexity of POS functions and capacity is indicated in the following list of some specs for evaluating POS systems (copied from cultivate.coop, listed below):
- Inventory Tracking
- Purchase order creation
- Vendor tracking
- Inventory turns, square foot analyses
- Sales reports
- Credit card through the register
- Compatibility with existing scales
- Member tracking
- Member pricing vs non member pricing
- Search function for items on the screen (like for produce)
- Wireless if possible
- 150 departments (for all the vendor and food categories)
- Report writer cababilities
- Exporting reports to Excel
- Importing reports (like large new items files, not having to enter each item)
- Compatibility with UNFI (importing of price tables)
- Shelf tag generation
- Supervisor functionality
- Up to 12 cashier names
- A Cooperative IT Support forum is maintained by the National Cooperative Grocers Association.
- See the two articles listed below from Cooperative Grocer
- CGN maintains a general listserve (in which POS topic recur) and a specialized IT (information technology) listserve for more in-depth discussions
- Cooperators in the NYC area have a wiki on POS systems, which includes a lengthy listing of specifications with which to evaluate POS systems.