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How Well Do You Know Your Inventory?

Many retail store managers can name their top 5 sold items, but they probably don't know their top 100, or even their bottom 100 items. Keeping hard-to-find items in stock can give you a competitive edge over much larger competitors. At the same time, tracking the many individual items that make up your retail business can be a very difficult task. How do you do it?

For more and more retail business owners, the solution is a good point-of-sale (POS) software. POS systems are quickly growing in popularity, and for good reason. Unlike tradition cash registers, POS systems give you valuable, real-time information about your inventory and customers.

A POS system is a computer running a special POS software and equipped with a cash drawer, code scanner, credit card reader, and receipt printer. Whenever you ring up a customer's sale, the item you've sold is immediately removed from your inventory list, which is stored on the systems hard drive. If you're a large retailer with tens of thousands of products, a POS system can help you keep track of which items are running low and need to be reordered. While you'll still need to perform an annual physical count, POS can help significantly reduce the time you spend maintaining your inventory.

POS systems also allow you to keep track of vendor information. You can compare the price of items you need to re-order against the average price of your previous orders. This handy feature of POS software allows you predict future expenses and negotiate the best deals with your vendors.

In addition to providing vital inventory and vendor information, POS system allows you to gather important information about your customers. With each purchase, you'll be able to view a customer's purchase history, their preferred items, and their shopping habits. POS empowers retail shop owners to anticipate and meet their customers' needs.

Choosing the Right POS

With so many options available, choosing the right POS software can be a complex decision. Below are a few important things you should look for in a good POS system.

  1. Purchase and inventory tracking. A good system will allow you to easily find very specific information about the items you have in stock. You should be able to easily add new items to your inventory and see which items are running low. To make re-stocking even easier, choose a system with built-in purchase ordering.
  1. Functionality and ease of use. The right POS system will be easy enough for you and your employees to use without being too light on features. When choosing a POS software, consider the size and needs of your business. The more intricate your orders, the more features you'll need in a POS.
  1. Expandable. POS software is a costly investment. To save on the inital cost, consider a less feature-rich POS that can be expanded to grow with your business. You might find just a drawer and receipt printer sufficient for your needs when starting out. You can later upgrade to a full system including a bar code scanner, credit card reader, and debit PIN entry pad.

A point-of-sale system is an investment that will pay for itself many times over in repeat business and higher profits. If you don't already have one, consider investing in a point-of-sale system for your retail store.