Review of Point-of-Sale Software -- 2005

From the November 2005 Issue

If you have a client who has ever needed to purchase Point-of-Sale (POS) software, you probably have a good idea of the sheer number of products available in this genre. From entry-level, one-user, one-location systems to enterprise-level, multi-location programs, POS software is designed to simplify the life of retailers. The type of product your client chooses will depend upon the type of retail business he or she operates. Sales volume, inventory type and customization needs will vary from business to business.

The products reviewed here fall into one of two different categories: a complete financial solution (either built into the software or available at an additional cost) or one that offers POS and Inventory Control modules without GL capability within the product. Retailers will want to determine which product type will work best for their business before looking at specific POS products. As you’ll note within these reviews, excellent products are available in both flavors.

POS software products are also called upon to perform tasks other than simply processing sales transactions. They may also track layaways, handle multiple tax categories, track UPC codes and inventory, record your customers’ shopping habits, and handle multiple stores or locations. In a non-retail environment, they may process service transactions or even your next cup of coffee.

This leads me to the importance of careful research. Like any product genre, some will perform better in certain environments. In other words, the POS product used in a clothing retail store will probably vary widely from what a coffee shop may use.

It’s important to also take a look at the options available with each package. Does it support multiple users and multiple locations? Does it offer touch-screen capability? If it is not part of a financial package, does it offer integration to third-party accounting software such as QuickBooks or Peachtree? Does it update your inventory or offer inventory control as an option? Will it update customer records for target marketing? Can it handle gift cards, loyalty cards and customer discounts? Does it offer reporting options that will be useful to your business overall, such as inventory performance activity?

The POS products reviewed here all offer solid solutions to the busy retailer who is focused on selling products rather than on the software needed to maintain the store’s operation. Some are better suited to specific retail environments, but all are capable of providing a POS solution that will make life just a little easier.

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CAM Commerce Solutions — Retail ICE
overall rating
Retail ICE from CAM Commerce, is a single-user inventory and point-of-sale software product. Designed especially for small or new retail businesses, Retail ICE contains a multitude of excellent features. Prior to using Retail ICE, you’ll need to set up your company information in the Office module.
CAP Automation — Retail Manager
overall rating
CAP Automation has been providing software to the retail industry since 1978, and continues that tradition with the latest version of CAP Retail Manager. Designed for both front- and back-office operation, CAP Retail Manager includes...
Cougar Mountain Software — Denali Point of Sale
overall rating
Denali Point of Sale is Cougar Mountain Software’s newest product. It is designed as a complete financial solution for businesses with a high volume of transactions and multiple locations. Additional products in the Denali line will be available later this year. The main Sales Register screen of Denali contains a drop-down menu with features such as Transactions, Tools, Window and Help.
HighTower, Inc. — Point of Sale – Professional
overall rating
Point of Sale – Professional (POS Pro) was created by HighTower, Inc., a software master developer for Sage Software (formerly Best Software), of integrated solutions for various software applications. POS Pro is designed to integrate with MAS 90 and MAS 200 using a patch installation designed to install on your current system without overwriting any data.
InfoTouch Corporation — Store Manager
overall rating
InfoTouch Corporation has been providing the retail industry with specialty software since 1986. InfoTouch Corporation released its latest version of InfoTouch Store Manager in July of 2005. Version 9.20 contains enhancements to all InfoTouch modules. Designed for use with touch screens, the program is ideal for high-volume environments.
Intuit Inc. — QuickBooks Point of Sale Retail Management Software
overall rating
QuickBooks Point of Sale Retail Management Software is part of Intuit’s Industry Solutions software. Built to work with the Premier Retail Edition 2005, Point of Sale Version 4.0 is designed for small to midsize retail businesses.
Microsoft Business Solutions — Point of Sale
overall rating
Recently released in June of 2005, Microsoft Point of Sale is aimed at small retailers with single-store locations.
Sage Software, Inc. — Sage Accpac ePOS 5.3
overall rating
Sage Accpac ePOS is a point-of-sale program designed for small to mid-sized retail stores. Accpac ePOS can work in a single location or can be deployed across a network of remote locations.
Specialized Business Solutions — Keystroke POS
overall rating
Keystroke POS – Version 5.20 bills itself as “a comprehensive sales management and inventory control system.” Designed for the retail sector, Keystroke POS can also be used in the wholesale and service industries.
Synchronics, Inc. — CounterPoint SQL
overall rating
Synchronics Inc. has been supplying the retail and wholesale business sector with quality software solutions for over 25 years.
Universal Accounting Software, Inc. — Universal Retail Management System
overall rating
The Retail Operations module from Universal Accounting Software is part of the modular system of products offered by the company.
Time & Billing Software 2005 -- Executive Summary
It is obvious that time and billing software can help manage more than just billing for time and expenses, but narrowing down what a professional services firm needs or expects from such software is not always as simple.