History of Point of Sale


Dan Rafter

There was a time when cutting-edge point-of-sale technology meant a cash register. Who could argue that the humble cash register wasn’t an advancement over scrawling out sales or calculating sales tax on a piece of paper?

Today, though, point-of-sale technology is advancing more quickly than ever. It’s allowing store owners to reduce their operating costs — by installing self-service checkout lanes — and send personalized email marketing messages to their steadiest customers. It’s even helping them reduce employee theft.

What does the future hold for point-of-sale technology? And how can it help boost the bottom line of your business? Here’s a look at point-of-sale technologies that can help your business boom.

Self-Service Checkouts

Jeff Haefner, on the Point of Sale Software Guide site, points to the growing number of self checkouts in grocery stores, department stores and other retail venues as evidence that point-of-sale technology can bring big savings to business owners.

In a self-service checkout, customers do the work of expensive cashiers. They scan their own items using the latest in point-of-sale technology. These systems have built-in safeguards.

Consumers, for instance, must weigh certain produce items, such as apples or broccoli. If they try to trick the system into thinking that they are buying something less expensive, like a tube of lip balm, the checkout system’s scale will immediately sense that something is wrong and won’t allow the transaction to continue.

These systems are also set up to make life as easy as possible for consumers. Shoppers can usually pay for their items with cash, credit cards or debit cards. The benefits to store owners are immense: They can greatly reduce their labor costs by replacing salaried cashiers with un-manned self-checkout lanes.

Reducing Theft

RetailSystems.com does a good job summarizing the benefits of biometric fingerprint IDs, which the site labels as the future of retail point-of-sale security.

Before accessing important store data, employees must first swipe their finger across a biometric scanner attached to the point-of-sale device. Employees have to repeat this scan every time they try to access a password-protected area of the point-of-sale software.

This offers an important level of protection for business owners. It prevents the wrong employees from accessing sensitive data. It also leaves an evidence trail showing which employees have accessed which areas of their employers’ point-of-sale software.

Advanced Customer Marketing

Haefner points out that retailers can use point-of-sale technology to further cement their relationships with existing customers. This is important; it’s far easier to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones.

Retailers can program their point-of-sale software to automatically send customers email messages after they purchase a product. For instance, if a customer purchases a lawnmower from a hardware store, the store can send an automated message to the customer later that day thanking him for making that purchase. Three days later, the point-of-sale software can send another email message asking the customer if the lawnmower is working properly. The auto responder can even be set up to send the customer regular maintenance reminders.

This does require that cashiers first ask customers for their email addresses. The system should also include an option that allows consumers to opt out of receiving email messages in the future.

These are just three ways in which point-of-sale technology can help business owners boost their profits and reduce their losses.

The best news? Point-of-sale technology continues to improve. And as that happens, it provides even more benefits for savvy business owners.



Prepare for Mothers day Shoppers


mothers_day_03With Mothers day fast approaching there are a few ways to lead people into your stores for your great shopping deals. Some people do not like waiting in lines or searching for the perfect gift.

One company suggests possibly making a video of your store and displays on all of the great things that you have for “mom” and posting it on your website so that when customers come in they know exactly what they are searching for.

As retailers we need to understand that mom’s, or Women, of the household do most of the shopping, and as it turns out they do a lot of online research.

The best way, it seems to get into mom’s pocketbook is to utilize your online advantages through websites, or networking this is a great way to let women know what you have in your store, your sales, and your great prices.

With this in mind we have some great ideas that will help shoppers pay for their sought out merchandise. eBay has now purchased a program called Fig, which really reminds me of food, but it is a paypal based program that people can load onto their cell phones.

This application doesn’t show any of their private information but what it does do is allow the purchaser to use their phone to pay with their paypal account.

It seems as though it is easy enough, the consumer will download the application to their phone and the retailer will need a simple USB device that will attach to their point of sale machine.

It also seems to have added security because the user’s picture will show up on the register interface so that the retailer can verify that this is the person standing in front of them. We know that everyone is going with the telephone applications so this might be an added bonus for companies to make better, more efficient sales and as internet marketing and buying continues to grow, so will paypal accounts.

On the same note Visa Inc has made a great investment on the point of sale company Square. With this, square offers retailers the ability to process their cards through their ipod or cell phone applications also.

This would make it much easier for retailers to get the “quick” check out and turnover for customers. These devices may all add to a greater end result for most retailers, and the convenience that customers are looking for.

To help with the set up of some of your newer software and devices CETW lists some of the mistakes that you can easily avoid when offering self serve and implementing this into your business.

For anyone thinking about this there are some mistakes you don’t want to make, like hiring the wrong person to set this system up for you.

Mothers Day Promotion Ideas
Giving some great ideas on how to bring mothers to your store, and how to sell sell sell for mother’s day

Are your stores connecting with today’s connected Moms?
Realizing that moms make up the bulk of the shopping decisions could help you to appeal to the necessary shopper to get your items noticed.

Where Fig Fits in eBay’s Quest for the Digital Wallet
The new program Fig and how it could work for all retailers with a simple USB connection.

Visa makes strategic investment in Square
Visa invests in the company Square who will also bring new and innovative ideas to retailers with apps to pay by “phone” or pay with phone.

CETW: Avoid these mistakes when implementing self-service
Great tips in helping retailers implement self service, you don’t want to miss out on these tips to help make it the way you want it.

Jumping on the bandwagon….. or not?


horizontal_solution_PPeCheckMany companies now are taking part in the acceptance of debit and credit cards, but what is it that they “give up” to accept these wonderful cards?  Of course, it’s money.  Most retailers may find that accepting this type of payment is a great way to make more sales, but what are the odds that this is going to cost you more than you make?  According to some, the price for a small retailer to accept this payment type is costing them big money.  They are paying 2 to 4 percent in

terest on purchases that their customers make.  Ok I know that can’t be too bad, but what if they are paying .10 on a simple 2.00 purchase.  It may not sound like much but we have all done it, gone into the store and not carrying cash and charge that pack of gum.  Honestly who in the world carries cash now a day’s anyway?  Well we may find that companies are going to start making it a minimum $10.00 purchase to use your debit card because that’s the only way they are going to keep up with the fees.

This is going to make the emergence into the future on “easy” shopping much harder for many people.  In the era where we are announcing new products to help people “leave their wallets at home” and pay using their phone and other easy systems.  How is this going to work for the customers?  They do not have to pick up the bill for the credit card processing fees that the banks are pushing on the small business owners.  In all this technology and the things that are heading to a “cashless” society this may not be good for small retailers and there may need to be other ways to make some money to make up for the loss in credit card or debit sales.  Maybe fighting the banks for this new found ability to take these cards will be the way to go.

One way to combat some of these problems would be by “facebooking” your company.  Some companies and especially smaller retailers can post on facebook and get some sales there, but they will still need to watch for those “fees” from the debit and credit card companies and banks.  The facebook era has sparked a great way to get noticed and “liked” for your business.  This may be a great way to advertise without all the advertising expense.  If anyone has used facebook they know that word spreads like water on there, so it may be a great way for a smaller company to do a little extra.  Many companies have already jumped on the bandwagon listing ways to buy their merchandise from their facebook site and get their name out there by networking and “liking” each others facebook pages.

Either way, something has to be done or this idea of a cashless world and easy shopping might end up going back to checkbooks or cash and all those new inventions for POS phones and easy checkout will be a thing of the past. Customers want easy, and convenient while company and retailers want cheap.  Can we put the two together?

ValidSoft Presents Its Solution at “Payment Card Fraud” Event in New York

This company is working to make the fraud a distant memory  for credit and debit card users, trying to help the customers feel safer when using their cards and helping them to battle the ever growing fraud that is associated with this type of payment.

Zenius aims to be ‘Microsoft of the NFC world’

Zenius is working with Microsoft to enable virtually all users to leave their wallets at home.  Don’t worry about bringing your purse into the store or even having your wallet with you.  With their help you may be able to do it all from your mobile phone with an app that will allow you to make all of your purchases right through your cell phone using the “electronic wallet”.

Will Big Banks Stick It to Small Business — Again?

Big banks hurting the small retailers with their fees for credit and debit card users.  This may be the end to the growing easy to shop ways that Americans have come to have comfort in conveniently not using their checkbooks and leaving their cash in the bank instead of their wallets.

$10 Credit Card Minimums Coming Soon?

Due to the wide spread of charges accumulated by small retailers to allow their customers to use their debit and credit cards, we may see a growing trend of small businesses making it mandatory to have a minimum purchase required for using our cards.  What will this do for the growing “cashless” society that we have started to grow into?

Selling Via Facebook Benefits Few, Study Finds

Although it may not be as widely spread as it could be, many small businesses are trying to find a way to use Facebook as a free advertiser for their businesses.  This could help cut cost of advertising and web  page building of their own, but will they get the wide fan base they hope for?

New Point of Sale Technology


POS and retail newsAs technology emerges yet again into another world we as retailers are under the thumb of the patron.  Many times we think that upgrading will cause problems with our current systems and it can be costly, although the benefits seem to outweigh the expensive costs when it comes to new advancements in technology.

Emerging with the POS systems are the new VeriFones that will be able to us POS systems in place of credit cards, checks and other means of payments.  The problem is that it would need to be widely accepted by retailers for it to work.  The VeriFone would work in place of the physical credit card for easier and faster check out. This may be the new wave of the future for payments.

This may only work if there are already retailers on board with the capabilities of using the verifone.  It also may help if there were a “rewards” card or some type of incentive to get our patrons to use this new way of paying.  All of the glitches need to be worked out because with peoples credit information they are not so willing to just use it for anyone.  They need the confidence that their information is secure and safe.  This can all happen with the new POS systems.

1.  Keeping tabs: Restaurant corporation integrates video with POS system – Information regarding the ease and capabilities of the POS systems used in restaurants, according to David Starmer this is a great way to help with loss prevention, integrating the POS system has helped with time, loss prevention, surveillance, as well as  ordering and a lot of help with extra “eyes” to watch the cash flow in the business.

2. VeriFone puts money near mouth, says it’ll include NFC in all new POS terminals – Continue to upgrade your business to keep up with the changing times.  This VeriFone idea could very well be the lead of the next best thing.  Keep your business in the running by changing your system to accept this type of sale, allow patrons to pay with ease and stay ahead of the changing technology to better succeed in your business.

Point of Sale Software: Big Strides


phone-voicemail-20090608It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted the weekly roundup. Well I’m back and will be keeping you up to date with the latest point of sale and retail news for the Holidays.

This week is all about mobile, whether it’s implementing the newest POS mobile hardware, the latest app or wooing your customers mobile is the new way to go. Old Navy has started using iPod based POS systems just in time for the busy Holiday rush. Discover has also joined the ranks of mobile technology and started offering their first contactless point of sale payment devices.

The third article featured in our roundup this week is the integration of mobile and digital signage for the new age future customer, giving them all the information they need to make an informed decision about a product. We then go into a new directory that allows mobile users to find brick and mortar retailers in their local area including their current inventory. We end the round up this week with 10 retailers that show you how mobile and retail integration should be done.

1. Gap testing Apple’s point-of-sale system at Old Navy stores
– Apple has now partnered with Old Navy to run a pilot program testing the use of mobile point of sale equipment before bringing it to the mainstream market. The POS hardware has a special backing on the iPod Touch to allow for the swiping of credit cards and signature can be obtained with a stylus pen or a finger!

2. Discover Begins Rollout of Contactless Devices to Consumers – The major credit card company will begin to roll out it’s Discover ZIP, a contactless credit card and stickers to allow for lighting fast speed at the point of sale checkout. Customers will begin seeing their new payment options arriving in the mail any day now and it’s sure to be a hit during the busy shopping season.

3. A two-way integration of digital signage and mobile – This might sound foreign to you but EnQii and Kombi have joined to bring a great integration between digital signage and mobile technology. The digital signage will include a QR code, which are “quick response” matrix 2-D codes that contain data, like text, images or website URLs.

“Forever, brick-and-mortar loyalty has meant consumer loyal to brick-and-mortar; it has never had to mean brick-and-mortar loyal to consumer,” he said. “If brick-and-mortar is going to have a future, they need to solve that problem, and we’re giving them a mechanism by which they can do that.”

4. Goodzer Includes Small Retailers in Local Real-Time Product Search– Another mobile way to engage with your customers. Goodzer has launched their shopping search engine in a limited market to test the results. Currently it picks up the inventory availability of 15,000 New York City brick-and-mortar retailers, both large and small. It’s available on the web and iPhone with plans to expand to Droid and the iPad. Customers have your entire inventory at their fingertips before they enter your retail store.

5. 10 retailers show what can be done with mobile – Mobile commerce is a rapidly approaching technology that’s here to stay. This great article gives you examples of how 10 retailers are using mobile to reach their customers and expand sales. Companies such as Walgreens, ShopNBC, and the Catholic Company. Read on to see what you should be doing in the mobile market.

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