CAM Commerce Solutions — Retail STAR/Retail ICE

From the September 2009 Review of Point-of-Sale Systems

Retail ICE is a single-user point-of-sale (POS) product from CAM Commerce. Retail ICE is scaled down version of Retail STAR, the vendor’s POS product designed for multi-user and multi-location environments. Ideal for small retailers as well as those wanting a closer look at Retail STAR, Retail ICE is free to consumers, with the exception of shipping and handling.

The main interface contains a list of modules on the left side of the screen, along with a sub-menu for each module to the right. Clicking on the POS option brings up the module’s features. The Getting Started wizard eases system setup, stepping users through various aspects of store setup, including basic information, product information, register setup and hardware setup.

Program navigation is simple, and employees can clock in and out at the register. The comprehensive search function provides for easy lookup of products. If the product is not found, it can be added on the fly, as can vendors and customers. Multiple types of transactions can be created, including regular sales, special orders, holds and layaways. Retail ICE supports multiple tender types per sale as well as foreign currency, and you can easily process returns or accept a payment on account all from the same screen. All other modules offer user-friendly data-entry screens, as well.

Both Retail ICE and Retail STAR are modular with an extensive array of options, including completely integrated GL, AP, AR and Sales Orders, along with Point of Sale, Inventory, Job Tracking, Maintenance, Purchasing, iSTAR and Reports. If a retailer finds that it’s outgrowing Retail ICE, it can easily upgrade to the very powerful Retail STAR.

The Product Association function allows users to display associated products when selling a particular product. Multiple sales tender includes cash, checks, store credits, credit cards, debit cards, gift certificates and coupons. Sales transactions can be easily modified, and Retail ICE supports both keyboard and touch-screen transaction entry.
The Inventory module allows for multiple pricing levels to be assigned to each product, and special pricing can be assigned based on criteria such as special sales and overstock items. The inventory search function allows users to look for items using a variety of criteria, including UPC code, item description or product code. Employees can easily apply discounts and credits to transactions, create special orders or process returns. Drawer reconciliation is simplified with the Register Balance, which displays register totals and compared actual totals that are entered.

Both Retail ICE and Retail STAR are fully integrated products, containing complete front/back office functionality. The products also offer various add-ons, including X-Charge, which is a payment processing function that quickly authorizes both credit and debit card transactions. The i.STAR eCommerce module allows for the setup and maintenance of a fully integrated website. The External Accounting module interfaces with various third-party software applications including MAS 90 and QuickBooks. Various hardware peripherals are also supported, such as touch-screen monitors, barcode scanners, magnetic card readers and pole displays.

The Best Customers tracking option allows for the monitoring of customer information based on data such as total spent, total spent during a specified date range or by specific products. Retail STAR also contains a complete Customer Relationship Manager module (CRM), where additional vital customer information can also be tracked. Reporting options are excellent and include an Advertising Effectiveness report, a Daily Summary report, and both Best and Worst Sellers. The Transaction History report shows all transactions entered for a specified time frame.

Retail ICE is available for $20 — the cost of CD replication, shipping and handling. With a very narrow market, CAM Commerce hopes to gain customer loyalty with its entry-level product so users will eventually upgrade once they outgrow the single-user Retail ICE. In the meantime, single-location, single-register retailers can use this fully functional product loaded with features for little more than pocket change. The vendor also just recently opened up its VAR channel, and the product is now being sold by partner resellers.

2009 Overall Rating: