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Exactly what is a point-of-sale system?

A Retail Point of Sales system typically includes a computer, monitor, cash drawer, receipt printer, customer display, and a barcode scanner. The POS system software can typically handle a myriad of customer based functions such as sales, returns, exchanges, gift cards, customer reward programs, BOGO (buy one get one), quantity discounts and much more. POS software can also allow for functions such as date sensitive promotional sales, foreign currency handling, and multiple payment types.

The POS unit handles the sales to the consumer but it is only one part of the entire POS system used in a retail business. Other functions of the POS system include inventory control, purchasing, receiving and transferring of products to and from other locations. Other functions of a POS system are to store sales information for reporting purposes. Customer information may be stored for receivables management, marketing purposes, and specific buying analysis. Many retail POS systems include an accounting interface that "feeds" sales and cost of goods information to an accounting package.

What are the benefits of computerizing a store?

The number one job in retail, of course, is serving the customer. A point of sale system is a tool which makes that job faster, easier and more profitable, but there has to be a cost benefit to computerizing. With today's technology, the benefit is there as long as the retailer commits to using a system's full potential.

Computerizing your business does not necessarily give you an advantage over your competitors - you may have to do it simply to stay competitive. Three areas where immediate benefits can be seen are:

  • Increased margins due to better inventory management and reduced shrinkage
  • Increased sales due to prompted suggestion selling, staff performance tracking and targeted marketing
  • Speed and accuracy in the chores surrounding reports, invoicing, purchase orders and inventory control

Should I choose a retail software package that was designed specifically for my industry?

Not necessarily. While there are many industry-specific software packages available, many of them don't offer all of the features available in a general retail software package. Often times, a general retail software package can do everything that industry-specific software can do, plus a whole lot more. Ask yourself what features you need now and in the future. Do you want a customer loyalty program? Do you need faster credit card authorizations over the Internet? What about a Dashboard view of your key performance indicators? Make sure that you don't lock yourself into industry-specific retail software that can't handle all of your needs.

There are so many different retail POS systems out there. How will I know how to choose the right one?

First and foremost, take the time to understand the specific needs of your store. Establish your total technology budget. If necessary, break it down into the things you need this year and things that can wait until next year. Find reputable technology companies with years of expertise in the retail industry. Ask for references and call them. Many customers are happy to talk about their business challenges. Consider all factors, such as retail software, technical support, service after the sale, the point of sale hardware, and integration with accounting packages or other business software you use.

Should I buy the point of sale hardware or the retail software first?

The single biggest mistake retailers make when choosing a new retail POS system is buying the point of sale hardware before the retail software. The retail software you choose to run your retail business may not be compatible with your new point of sale hardware. Not all scanners, weight scales, or card readers will work with all retail software packages. Buying both the point of sale hardware and the retail software from the same vendor can reduce or eliminate compatibility issues and can often reduce your overall technology costs.

How will a retail POS system help me make more money?

A retail POS system can help you increase your profits in many ways. Quicker, more reliable checkouts mean less manpower is needed. Sales reports allow you to maximize your inventory levels and control costs. Built-in loyalty programs encourage higher ticket averages and repeat business from your customers. Integrated eCommerce services generate additional revenue from Internet sales. Talk to your technology consultant about other ways a retail POS system can help increase your bottom line.

How can a retail POS system help me run my business more efficiently?

A good retail POS system increases your efficiency by eliminating unnecessary work. Instead of using separate systems for your retail, mail order, e-commerce, and wholesale divisions choose one retail software package that can manage your entire business. Choose a retail POS system that increases your speed of service with faster ticket entry, on-the-fly data entry, and data-driven lookups. Make sure that the retail software you choose can automate all of your process-oriented tasks, such as physical count, purchasing, label printing, and customer loyalty.

I have a lot of volunteers and elderly that work at my store. Isn't it too complicated to teach them how to work a computerized retail POS system?

Learning the basics of a retail POS system is just as easy as learning to use a cash register, and if someone makes a mistake, it's much easier to correct that mistake on a point of sale system—plus you'll have a detailed transaction record of the mistake. Many of today's user-friendly retail POS systems feature touchscreen technology. Your cashiers can use their fingertips or a mouse to touch the large, color-coded buttons to process sales. Any concerns you have about training seasonal employees or volunteers will be relieved when you see how easy touchscreen interface is.

I already have an electronic cash register, why should I spend the money on a retail POS system?

While an electronic cash register is a suitable way to track money, installing a retail POS system will simplify your life as well as your customers'. With a retail point of sale system, you'll streamline operations, increase checkout times, make more money, increase efficiency, keep better inventory records, and have the most robust reporting capabilities right at your fingertips. The right retail point of sale system will pay for itself over and over again with its functionality.

Is my store too small to benefit from a retail POS system?

More than likely, you can't afford to have a retail point of sale system. Today's retail POS systems come in all sizes and are designed to fit businesses of any size—from single location mom-and-pop shops to the mega-chains with thousands of locations. Do your research, distinguish your wants from your needs, and talk to some technology vendors. You'll find that there is a retail POS system out there that meets your needs—and your budget.

What type of database should I choose?

Any retail software package with inventory management and reporting features will have some underlying database. This database is where all of your items, customers, and sales history are stored. The underlying databases differ among various software manufacturers. The key to choosing the right database lies in its format. You want to choose a broadly-understood data format that offers compatibility with third-party software applications. With the right data format, you can view your data just about any way you want to. For example, a retail software based on Microsoft SQL may offer compatibility with Reporting Tool or Microsoft® Excel. Compatibility with third-party applications gives you unlimited reporting and analysis options.

Be sure choose a database architecture that ensures data integrity, so you know your data will always be accurate and reliable.

How important are backups?

Backups are critical. They protect your valuable business information from the unforeseen. Disasters—from hurricanes and floods to system failure or theft—can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. Choose a retail POS system with easy-to-perform backup procedures. Keep a running log of your backups and make sure that someone is responsible for the backups. It's also important to store your backups off-site.

Why is scalability important in retail software?

A scalable retail software package will grow with you as your business grows. Choose a retail point of sale system that can readily accommodate additional users, additional workstations, and additional stores. When considering your future growth, keep in mind features you may one day need, such as multi-currency support or support for multiple tax rates across different regions. If history is a concern, make sure that the retail software you choose can store years and years of data.

Is it best to start with the accounting system and tackle inventory control later?

Computerizing the accounting functions will have a very small impact on your profitability but inventory is your number one asset. Managing it well is a key factor to business success. Good inventory control means balancing the expectations of your customers and your bankers, so you have to avoid being either under or overstocked. Some systems offer both inventory control and accounting modules but most successful retailers use completely different systems for each one. This is because the software that tries to do it all usually ends up doing some of it badly, and the few that don't are extremely expensive. If you computerize your inventory control first you will get a much better return on your systems investment. Timely details about sales, inventory, invoicing, margins, orders, and customers will help you earn more money than a new accounting system will save.

Is taking inventory more complicated once a POS system is installed?

No, it can be done much faster and more accurately if the POS system can read data from a hand-held barcode reader. These units are carried to where the stock is and the counts are scanned or punched in. The information is later transferred to the computer by a cable. The computer then pops up a table showing where the shelf counts do not match the computer data and give you a chance to correct it quickly and easily.

What are the advantages of having barcodes on the stock?

Barcodes greatly increase the integrity of the point-of-sale transactions. If cash personnel have to enter a stock code for each POS transaction the chances of making mistakes are higher. Good retail management software should print barcode labels in two sizes and can automatically print a label for every item in the last shipment. Since the UPC barcode is industry assigned, you should use another barcode scheme for your own stock such as Code39. There is no problem associated with having UPC and Code39 labels in the same store because barcode scanners can auto-recognize which type of label they are reading.

How Safe is my Data?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for a business to manage its interactions with its customers. A CRM system is an essential tool for business that helps you manage your customers, sales and marketing. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and notes the Customer Relationship Management system lets you keep accurate records of phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and quotations. You can share this information with colleagues, plan ahead effectively, and offer clients the right level of contact and support.

I've seen retail software with hundreds of reporting options. Why do I need so many reports?

The extensive reporting capabilities built into better retail software packages offer business owners and managers an in-depth look at their businesses. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can drill down into multiple layers of your report or create boardroom quality graphs and charts. While you may not need every single report available in a particular retail software package, you do want to choose the retail software package with the most flexibility. Retail software that integrates with the industry-leading reporting tool, offers the most customization capabilities. If you want to be able to customize the built-in reports or create your own reports from scratch, make sure that the retail software you choose can handle it.

What reports should we look for in a good system?

There should be a dozen to choose from, though most retailers use only three of four on a regular basis. Which ones you use will depend on the nature and style of your business. Better systems can limit the scope of a report to a given department, supplier, stock code range, etc.

Does entering a customer name and address take too long and annoy the customer?

It might, and it is important to be very sensitive to a customer's reluctance. However, this information is so valuable that not trying to gather it may be a mistake. Experience shows that it costs a lot more to get a new customer into your store than getting an old one back. This kind of marketing has proven to be the most cost-effective way to drive up sales. Better software systems allow for a variety of customer data and mailing capabilities which can identify customers by last purchase date, birthday, purchase history, customer type, and salesperson. This is powerful information for the retailer because it gives us the ability to target promotions where they count, measure advertising results, purge inactive names from mailing lists and do follow-up phone calls. Once people are in the system they do not have to be re-entered but can be called up by name, phone number, company or customer number. A good system will also give you the option to avoid re-typing the city, state, and pin code for every new customer.

How long does it take to get a point of sale system up and running?

The setup phase can be a headache if it is not properly planned and then rushed through. Don't decide on Saturday that the system has to be installed and fully integrated into the business by Monday. Allow lots of time for you and your staff to get used to a new routine. It would be ideal to run the new system in tandem with the old one for a week or more, but this is a luxury that many stores cannot indulge in. The POS system should start providing useful information about inventory control and customers after a month of full-time use.

Do I need a software subscription service or AMC?

Yes. When you purchase new retail software, you get the latest software release that's available on the date you purchase it. As new features are added to the retail software in subsequent releases, only those users with active subscription services with active AMC will receive those updates. And no matter how good the retail software is, it may have a few bugs in it all. Your subscription service will provide you with product updates, new features, and bug fixes for as long as your subscription service is active. Subscription services also encourage software companies to continue to invest resources in improving their retail software.

How do I choose a vendor?

Talk to more than one technology vendor. Just talking to vendors doesn't cost a thing, and you'll learn a lot about retail software and point of sale systems in the process. Don't just consider the retail POS systems available from each vendor. You also need to consider the vendor's location, areas of expertise, and a number of years in business. Does the vendor offer extended support hours if you need them? If you have stores in multiple regions, can your vendor support all of your stores? Make sure that the vendor you choose can grow with you as your business grows. Most importantly, choose a company you trust. The company you choose will be responsible for keeping your retail point of sale system running for the next 5-7 years.

Why do we need a software for accounts?

Even if you are a small business or an enterprise, you still need to have good accounting software for your business. There are many reasons that an accounting software helps you boost your business performance. Here are some of the main reasons:

  • It saves you time and helps you work faster.
  • It's easier to use and understand.
  • It shows you exactly how your business is doing.
  • Software simplifies reporting.
  • Make better, more informed business decisions.

We are already using popular software for Accounts, what improvements should we require?

Although there are so many good accounting software in the market and it is good to use them for your accounting needs. Whereas, you should choose an accounting system which is either on the same platform of your ERP (Inventory Module) or can be easily integrated with the same. The reason you should go for an integrated accounting is that there would not be any kind of data consistency error, you just get rid of duplicate data entry which may lead to erroneous results as well as you get the added privilege of other functionalities of ERP on your accounting data.

What should I consider before implementing an Integrated Accounting Software?

Check whether your existing accounting software has the capability to grow as your business in terms of handling a large amount of data, having close interaction with your billing and inventory system, multiple and flexible accessibility patterns, dynamic and analytic reporting system. If any of the above checkpoints has a negative answer, then you need to think of upgrading your accounting software.

Why it is required to close interaction of billing and accounting systems?

Almost about 60-80% of data entry tasks reduced when your accounts and inventory software is linked, as all entries from inventory get automatically posted into accounts thus reducing the amount of data-entry tasks as well as nullifying human errors and inconsistency.

Our accountants are used to the older system which either operated manually or electronically, should I still have to think of implementing new accounting software?

It is a general human tendency that one does not want to go beyond its comfort zone. As a business owner or sitting at higher positions, it's your responsibility to think beyond the comfort zone for the betterment of the company.

Can I access my accounting reports from my laptop at home?

Using zOrder's exclusive cloud-based service named "zConnect", it is possible to work from anywhere in the system. Apart from taking only reports, you can enter vouchers, reconcile bank and many more operations.

What is CLP?

CLP means Customer Loyalty Program. The primary need of a CLP in the business is to have an application or a system in place to effectively manage the sales process and customer relationship, capture vital data and information about customers - purchase history, revenue generated, up-selling / opportunities, etc.. The requirement is to have a 360-degree view of one's business. This is why Customer Loyalty Program has gained so much popularity among all businesses.

What can a CLP system do for me?

A CLP system helps you recognize customers and prospective customers, understand their preferences, frequently anticipate their needs and respond to their requests quickly and effectively. It enables you to track, organize, and consolidate the interactions dealership staff has with current and prospective customers.

What should I consider before committing to a CLP product?

Everyone should adopt a customer-focused culture. Many will add new responsibilities to their current roles. All areas of operations should be involved in evaluating the CLP products. What may meet the needs of one department may not be useful to another.

How Safe is my Data?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for a business to manage its interactions with its customers. A CRM system is an essential tool for business that helps you manage your customers, sales and marketing. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and notes the Customer Relationship Management system lets you keep accurate records of phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and quotations. You can share this information with colleagues, plan ahead effectively, and offer clients the right level of contact and support.

I run a small business and I don't have that many customers. Why do I need special software to manage them?

CLP can benefit a small business by consolidating customer data into a single system. As a business grows, keeping a record of all transactions can become overwhelming. CLP tools allow you to manage your customer interactions more efficiently, so you have more time to focus on your service or product.

Is CLP difficult to set up?

CLP should not be difficult to set up, however, sometimes it is. This is because some traditional CLP implementation requires hardware and software installation, followed by a long period of customization for the requirements of a particular customer. Some CLP software solutions require customization which can only be done by a developer.

Is CLP easy to use?

A good CLP solution should be easy to use. CLP solutions are no more complex than other applications that most people are already familiar with. CLP solutions drawing on proven tools and are easy to understand and use.

How does the customer service portion of CLP help a business grow?

Customer satisfaction is a key element of customer loyalty. Loyal and satisfied customers become long-term customers. Loyal customers are also your best advocates. Word of mouth recommendations creates the most persuasive marketing for your company. In an age where negative customer feedback propagates quickly to online reviews and blogs, customer service cannot be overlooked.

How Safe is my Data?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for a business to manage its interactions with its customers. A CRM system is an essential tool for business that helps you manage your customers, sales and marketing. Instead of juggling spreadsheets and notes the Customer Relationship Management system lets you keep accurate records of phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and quotations. You can share this information with colleagues, plan ahead effectively, and offer clients the right level of contact and support.

How does consolidating customer information benefit the operations?

  • Respond quickly to customers' inquiries while being aware of their prior needs and preferences.
  • The data combined with sales and service history links to customers' contact information for a comprehensive view of the customers' needs.
  • Voice and digital (email) systems combine their communications history with customer and prospect contact data.
  • Effective service management increases customer loyalty by enabling consistent, personalized interaction across all customer touch-points including, telephone, e-mail, Web, wireless devices, and in-person meetings

How does a business assess their requirements for HR and Payroll software?

The purchase of a new HR and Payroll software system should not be taken lightly; there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration to establish your requirements prior to making contact with potential suppliers. Sufficient planning at the start of your project and being clear on the requirements of your business from the onset will help to ensure that your project runs smoothly from start to finish.

What are the advantages of integrated HR and Payroll software?

There are many advantages to using integrated HR and Payroll software with a single database but perhaps the biggest advantages to your business will be time saved and increased efficiency due to the fact that you no longer have to duplicate information into standalone HR and Payroll systems. A single fully integrated HR and Payroll system will provide you with a single point of entry and the ability to view information immediately anywhere within the system, subject to the level of access which you have been granted.

Does HR Software integrate with TNA machine installed in my premises?

Yes, our integrated attendance mechanism directly attached to the TNA machine installations in your premises. However, it gets a little bit of RND for those machines if their SDK is not available.

Is there a limit to the size of the database?

There is no practical limit imposed on the size of the database, the only limits are restrictions implied by Microsoft SQL Server, therefore we have clients using zOrderHRM to hold tens of thousands of employee records with no reported problems.

What industry areas is the software used in?

zOrderHRM software is used in a wide range of public and private industry sectors, however, zOrderHRM has particular knowledge of implementing HR and Payroll software solutions for organizations in the Retail, Manufacturing, Transport, and Logistics, Charity/Not-for-Profit, Education and local authority sectors.

What training is required to use the software?

As with any software package, a certain degree of training is required to ensure that you get the maximum return on your investment. The amount of training that will be required to use zOrderHRM will be based on the number of modules you have purchased, how you intend to use the system and whether we have conducted any special configuration to meet your individual requirements.