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If you are running a business where you have a mixture of ‘trade’ and ‘wholesale’ sales, there are some must-have features you need in your ePOS system or trade counter software to enable you to run both efficiently and effectively.
Most accounting, business management & ERP software packages are feature rich when it comes to the wholesale side of the business with well thought out sales order processing systems e.g. A sales order can make its way through picking, despatch and then to invoice with plenty of options along the way.
Operating a trade counter is an entirely different proposition with a whole new set of challenges at play and it is important that your software compliments the way you do business at the point of sale.
The following list outlines the important features that deliver benefits in terms of tighter control, higher margins, faster processing and enhanced customer service. Assess your current trade counter operation against the following criteria and see if YOU are in control:
Does your system give you the option to prompt users to login at each transaction? This is essential where multiple users are using the same terminal and you require the system to store details of who processed each transaction. This can be important if you want to print the reps name on each docket or would like to view sales information per rep.
Does your system give you the option to force the sales rep to enter a password? This is important where you require a higher level of assurance that each transaction is associated with a particular rep.
Does your system give you the option to ‘suspend’ a sale and recall it at any terminal? In a typical trade counter environment, a customer may be at the counter with a selection of products when they request the rep to accompany them down to the shop floor or store room to look at another product. Rather than hogging the terminal, your system should allow the user to temporarily suspend the transaction and recall it at any other terminal when ready to do so.
Does your system give users the option to access ‘cost price’ information? For some of you, this is a total ‘no no’. For others, where the owner- manager is doing the transaction or staff are encouraged to understand the cost information, it can be beneficial to provide access to this information quickly and efficiently without leaving the point in the transaction.
Does your system allow users to easily access pricing history at the point of sale? In many instances, the price on the point of sale screen may be disputed by the customer by referring to prices previously paid for the same item. It is important that the user can access the historical sales information for that product to that customer quickly within one or two keystrokes.
Does your system allow for Cash Sales from the same interface? In most trade counter environments, there will be a mixture of cash and trade business. It is important that your system allows you to process a cash and trade sale quickly and efficiently from the same screens following individual sets of rules.
Does your system facilitate cash on delivery style transactions? It is not untypical for customers to place substantial orders and promise payment on delivery. As well as prompting for some element of a delivery charge, it is important this COD account is actively managed that it does not become another debtor.
Does your system allow for speedy entry of repeat or predictable orders? Where a tradesman is buying a range of similarly coded products or a customer is ordering frequently purchased items, it is important that your system facilitates this rather than forcing the user to re-enter the information in a repetitive manner.
Does your system assist you in maintaining your margin or your sales? – It is important that your system is proactively assisting you in maintaining margin levels. Where multiple sales persons are processing transactions, it is not possible for the manager to monitor each and every sale. As such, the system should have minimum margins per product, maximum discounts that a Rep can give, password protect larger discounts, effective reporting to highlight low margin sales and tools that will allow for maximum margins to be attained.
Does your system provide enough information for you to “haggle” for the best deal? – In a competitive sales environment, it is important that the sales rep has access to information that will allow them debate a price with the customer – access to cost price, margin, discount levels with the ability to perform ‘what if’s’ on the fly can result in very effective negotiations even when customer facing.