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Review of Point-of-Sale Systems — 2006

When I was growing up, I remember being fascinated by cash registers.

From the November 2006 Issue

When I was growing up, I remember being fascinated by cash registers. When
I would go grocery shopping with my mother, I watched in awe from the other
side of the counter as the cashier entered prices faster than the speed of sound.
At least that’s what it seemed like to me at the time.

Today, point-of-sale (POS) products are light years away from those cash registers.
Designed to provide the retailer, distributor, video store owner, gas station
manager, or gift store owner with an efficient transaction processing solution,
the products on the market today can give you as many (or as few) options as
you like. Registers aren’t even a necessity in many venues, as a computer
can double as your cash register. Top-of-the-line products also feature touch
screen technology, where you can process several tiers of information in record

But where do you start? If you take even a cursory look around, you’ll
realize just how many POS products are available. From entry level, one-user,
one-location systems to enterprise-level, multi-location programs, the retailer
has more choices than ever before.

One of the major points to consider is to figure out exactly what information
you need to track. Many of the products reviewed here offer an excellent standalone
POS product that is designed to integrate with third-party financial accounting
software. Others are designed as full-service solutions, offering both front
office (POS) and back office (GL, AR, AP, Inventory) functionality. Determining
your own specific requirements prior to looking at POS products will eliminate
some products up front, make your search more fruitful and save you some time.

Ringing up a sale isn’t the only thing that a comprehensive POS product
can do. Your favorite restaurant, the corner coffee shop, your neighborhood
gas station, and the exclusive boutique downtown all use varying levels of POS
products. Along with sales transactions, they can also help market more effectively
to your best customers by tracking shopping habits. If you need to know what
coffee sold the best, well, it can do that, too.

You can also track club or rewards cards, track customer points and purchases,
and reward loyal customers with discounts or special sales. The use of hardware
peripherals such as barcode scanners, receipt printers and pole displays are
an important part of a retail environment, and every product reviewed here integrates
with the majority of these items.

A visit to the POS vendor websites is another excellent way to find more information.
Online demos are usually available, and the websites often provide more detailed
information such as modules available, specific functions within each module,
and whether the product is designed as a standalone product or designed to work
in tandem with a back office product.

The needs of a coffee shop will vary greatly from those of a high-volume retailer.
The POS products reviewed here vary as well, but one of these products is likely
to fit your needs. 

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Addsum Business Software, Inc.
— Advanced Accounting
Advanced Accounting is a completely integrated
accounting and POS product. Addsum has introduced several new features
since Advanced Accounting (POS) was last reviewed.
CAM Commerce Solutions —
Retail ICE
Retail ICE from CAM Commerce Solutions is designed
for small retailers as well as for those entering the retail field for
the first time. An easy upgrade to Retail STAR makes this product attractive.
CAP|Software — Retail
Manager 2006
Retail Manager from CAP|Software contains a powerful
point-of-sale module and a back office module (SellWise) along with additional
tools designed to streamline retail store management procedures.
Cougar Mountain Software —
Cougar Mountain Point Of Sale
Cougar Mountain Software, in addition to its accounting software, also offers a comprehensive point-of-sale product. Available as a standalone product or fully integrated with Cougar Mountain’s Accounting software, Cougar Mountain Point of Sale is ideal for retailers of all sizes.
HighTower, Inc. — HighTower
Point Of Sale Professional
HighTower Point of Sale Professional from HighTower
Inc. is a little different than some of the other products in this review,
as it requires Sage MAS 90 in order to function properly.

InfoTouch Corporation —
Store Manager ES
Since 1986, InfoTouch Corporation has been providing
retail specialty shops with a comprehensive point-of-sale (POS) software
product. InfoTouch released its latest version of Store Manager ES earlier
this year.
Intuit Inc. — QuickBooks
Point Of Sale Retail Management Software
QuickBooks Point of Sale – Version 5 is the
newest release of this specialty product from Intuit. Designed to be a
standalone POS solution, QuickBooks POS can also be paired with QuickBooks.
Systems — CounterPoint SQL
In December of 2005, Radiant Systems, a provider
of innovative technology for entertainment, hospitality and petroleum
industries, purchased Synchronics, makers of CounterPoint SQL.
Sage Software, Inc. —
Sage Accpac ePOS
Sage Accpac ePOS is a point of sale program designed
to work in conjunction with Sage Accpac ERP (enterprise resource planning).
Sage Accpac ePOS is ideally suited for small to midsize retail stores.
Specialized Business Solutions
— Keystroke Point Of Sale
Keystroke Version 6.10 is the latest release of
this popular point-of-sale software offered by Specialized Business Solutions.
The main menu of Keystroke has been enhanced for readability, simplifying

2006 Review of Point-of-Sale Systems
This review covered six specific categories for POS
products: Ease Of Use, Modules & Scalability, Features & Functionality,
Integration, Tracking & Reporting, and Relative Value. Ease of Use looks
at a variety of things including ease of installation, user interface, learning
curve, and general system navigation..