A point of sale platform is software that supports the completion of a retail transaction. Primarily used in retail locations, these platforms may be integrated into a variety of other systems to provide benefits in addition to simplifying the sales transaction.
Point of sale platforms can calculate the amount owed by a customer, include taxes and other fees, accept payment and print the receipt. In addition to simple transaction processing, a robust platform may include additional functionality such as:
- Complex transaction processing- This could include utilizing product bar codes, weighing products with a scale, automating cash registers and attaching payment terminals for credit/debit cards.
- Inventory management- The platform may be linked to an internal inventory system that will automatically decrement/increment inventory levels based on sales and returns.
- Customer relationship management (CRM)- Platforms can be integrated with existing CRM systems to streamline customer incentives. For example, a customer could enter a unique identifier, such as an email address, and personalized coupons or offers could be dispensed for future purchases.
- Financial data management (FDM)- In order to provide financial statements, platforms can be linked to financial systems.
Point of sale platforms are important tools for reducing human error, providing flexibility when changes are required and integrating with other critical systems. However, there needs to be strict quality control (QC) processes in place for changing, reviewing and auditing changes made within the point of sale systems. If a change is made mistakenly, such as changing the price for a specific product, the impact will be for all instances of that product being sold.