2007 Review of Point-of-Sale Systems

From the November 2007 Issue

Point of Sale software is proficient, which can make it difficult to determine which system will work best for your business. The specialty high-dollar boutique may require a completely different system then the high-volume gift store or retailer. Customization capability can also be of importance, with the capability to customize the register interface playing an important role in the final decision of what product to use. We’ve examined six areas that we feel are the most important areas of consideration when making a decision to purchase a point-of-sale product.

EASE OF USE
This is an important area to assess when purchasing any kind of software. When looking at a point-of-sale product, it becomes even more important. The volume of transactions processed and the number of employees that will normally utilize the system in a retail environment dictate that the software must be easy to use or, at the very least, be easy to learn. Does the user interface screen allow users to process all types of transactions from a central location or do users have to page through numerous screens to handle layaways, refunds and/or voids?

MODULES/SCALABILITY
This area can be important for several reasons. If a retailer needs a front office/back office product, the modules available play a large role in the purchasing decision. If a business needs a stand-alone point-of-sale product, the modules available become less important. However, if a retailer plans to expand its operation in the future, modules and scalability can still play a role in the decision-making process. Scalability is important, particularly for those in the early growth stages. Can the product expand as the business does or will an upgrade to a different system be necessary?

FEATURES/FUNCTIONALITY
Perhaps the most important part of the review, this area looks at some of the features of the products. Does the product have touch-screen capability? Can barcode scanners or other hardware devices be used? Will the product accept multiple tenders or foreign currency? How difficult is it to process returns or voids? Is there an inventory function that will track products? Can multiple pricing levels be assigned to products? Can special pricing be assigned to certain customers? Can users look up customer accounts easily and determine what their credit limit is, what their buying habits are, and how much on average they spend?

Executive Summary -- POS Systems
  • A customizable sales entry screen is vital in POS products.
  • Gift Cards and Loyalty Cards play an important role for successful retailers.
  • Touch-screen technology continues to evolve over time to offer more sophisticated program capabilities.
  • Integration with popular hardware peripherals is necessary.
  • POS products suited for high-end gift shops may not work for retailers with high transaction volume.
  • Register security and monitoring capability is essential.

INTEGRATION
Does the product integrate with other modules? Will it integrate with the multitude of hardware peripherals that retailers utilize, including barcode scanners, card readers, receipt printers and cash drawers? Can data or reports be imported and/or exported?

TRACKING/REPORTING
This is another important area, particularly for those looking to keep a handle on customer and product performance. Can the product track best sellers or best customers? Can it track product performance by month? Are the reporting options sufficient or will the business need additional reporting resources?

RELATIVE VALUE
The relative value of any product is primarily based on a variety of factors including a company’s budget, whether or not the product performs the necessary tasks, and if it has the ability to expand as needed. The products included in this review vary widely. Some utilize touch-screen technology while others utilize a combination of the computer, keyboard and mouse. Whatever the needs of the retailer, each of these products should be considered. The vendor websites provide additional product information, and downloads or product demos are available.

The best way to determine which product will work best for a particular business is to actually utilize and test the product in the environment in which it will be used.

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Addsum Business Software, Inc. — Advanced Accounting
overall rating
Advanced Accounting from Addsum Business Software, Inc. offers retailers a complete accounting system along with a solid point-of-sale module. All modules are included with the purchase of the product, making Advanced Accounting very attractive to small businesses with limited budgets.
CAP|Software — Retail Manager 2007
overall rating
CAP|Software, makers of Retail Manager, has been designing POS and Inventory Control software since 1978. Known for its flexibility, Retail Manager is suitable for any retail environment. Retail Manager’s POS sales screens are designed to work best when utilizing a touch screen or keyboard.
CAM Commerce Solutions — Retail ICE
overall rating
Retail ICE from CAM Commerce, is a single-user point-of-sale product designed for small retailers. Available for the cost of shipping, Retail ICE is the precursor to the more comprehensive Retail Star, which is designed for larger entities with multiple locations.
Cougar Mountain Software — Cougar Mountain Software Professional POS
overall rating
Cougar Mountain Software (CMS) recently released Version 12 of its Professional Accounting software. The POS and Inventory modules are included as part of CMS Professional, and users have the option to purchase the CMS Professional POS with Back Office Point of Sale for back office integration.
InfoTouch Corporation — InfoTouch Store Manager ES
overall rating
Recently acquired by PayTrans Network Inc. in San Antonio, Texas, InfoTouch continues to offer its excellent point-of-sale software to retailers and specialty shops. InfoTouch Store Manager ES is a customizable POS product suitable for a variety of retail and specialty stores. InfoTouch recently released Revision 1 for version 2.50.
Intuit Inc. — QuickBooks Point of Sale
overall rating
Like all QuickBooks products, QuickBooks Point of Sale is designed with the small business owner in mind. Ideal for small, independent retailers, QuickBooks Point of Sale is an affordable, easy-to-use retail management software product for tracking inventory, sales and customer information.
Radiant Systems — CounterPoint SQL
overall rating
CounterPoint SQL is a fully integrated POS system that is suitable for both smaller retailers and larger retailers with single-site or multiple locations. The program is available in two editions: CounterPoint SQL Express and CounterPoint SQL Enterprises.
Sage Software — DacEasy
overall rating
DacEasy from Sage Software offers an affordable point-of-sale system designed for small to midsize retailers. The product can be used standalone or integrated with the accounting module that is available for an additional cost. The main screen of DacEasy utilizes the Business Center, which contains a drop-down menu bar at the top and a modules menu bar directly to the right.


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