CAM Commerce Solutions — Retail ICE

From the Oct. 2008 Review of Point of Sale Systems

Retail ICE from CAM Commerce Solutions is the single-user version of Retail Star, a more comprehensive version of the product that is designed for multi-user, multi-location retailers. Retail ICE is designed for small retailers with a single store location, and it’s free (you’ll only have to pay shipping charges).

EASE OF USE - 5 Stars
The Retail ICE user interface consists of a split screen with modules on the left side and the corresponding features available in each module listed on the right. The ‘Getting Started’ wizard assists new users with store setup, including entering licensing information, applicable taxes, vendors and products. A register profile will also need to be set up, which allows users to choose varying options for the register interface, including printing and hardware options.

The POS register interface features several quick access tabs that allow for lookup of store information, access to various register options, lookup of product information and the undertaking of a customer search. Sales transactions can be entered manually or by scanning UPC codes. Retail ICE handles very simple transactions as well as more complex transactions such as layaways, holds, special orders, coupons, returns and on-account payments. Users can easily search for products while entering sales information. Vendors, products, and customers can all be added on the fly, and data-entry screens are easily navigated with lookup screens available in all modules.

Retail ICE offers an excellent selection of modules alongside the POS module, including Inventory, Purchasing, iSTAR, Job Tracking, Maintenance, Reports and a completely integrated accounting function that includes GL, Sales/Order Invoice, AR and AP. When necessary, Retail ICE can be easily upgraded to the more comprehensive Retail Star, which provides retailers with more options than the single-user Retail ICE.

Retail ICE allows for the creation of multiple sales types, and also accepts multiple tender types for each transaction, including cash, checks, credit cards, store credits, ATM cards, gift certificates and coupons. Sales information can be entered via the keyboard or a touch screen monitor. Sales receipts can be easily modified, allowing users to change quantities, tax rates and totals. Product Information Lookup provides access to additional product information while sales transactions are being entered. Multiple pricing levels can be assigned for inventory products, and users can add special pricing based on specific criteria such as department, customer or quantity sold. Sales discounts can be applied using percentages, flat rates or by using the manager override function.

When processing voids and returns, specific lines on a sales receipt can be voided or the entire receipt can be voided. Along with layaways, users can also create special orders, hold tickets and exchanges. The Register Balance feature allows user to count down their drawer, enter the information on the Register Balance screen, and then print the Balance Report for their records. An excellent Inventory module integrates with Retail ICE and allows users to quickly add products to the database, search products by UPC code, and set different pricing levels for similar products. For instance, larger sizes can be priced higher than the same product in a smaller size.

Both Retail ICE and Retail STAR are fully integrated, offering a front/back office solution for small to mid-sized retailers. Retail ICE also integrates with X-Charge payment processing software, the iSTAR Internet Storefront, and the External Accounting module, which provides an interface to MAS 90 or QuickBooks by providing the ability to manually import or export data. Retail ICE also integrates with all necessary hardware peripherals including touchscreens, barcode scanners, card readers and pole displays.

The Customer Management module is a must for those looking to track customer buying habits. Users can easily keep track of customer buying history, the date of their last visit, YTD purchase totals, prior year purchase totals and e-mail addresses. This allows for tracking of a business’ best customer as well as the business’ best selling products.

Numerous reports are also available, including the Advertising Effectiveness report that reveals just how effective various advertising campaigns have been. The Management Overview report displays a summary of sales for specific departments. The Sales Audit report provides management with an excellent tool for reviewing sales activity. In addition to standard system reports, custom reports can also be created using Report Star.

Retail ICE is available for the cost of shipping and handling; approximately $20. CAM Commerce offers this excellent single-user system to small retailers in hopes of gaining their business when they look to upgrade to a more powerful system. Not a limited use program, Retail ICE is a fully functional product that can easily provide single-user, single-location retailers with all of the features they would expect to find in a more expensive product.

2008 Overall Rating: 5 Stars