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To complete my series on 'Operating a Point of Sale/Trade counter - is your software up to the test?', I have outlined the final 11 crucial features you're ePOS system should offer in order to provide a speedy and accurate service at the trade counter point of sale…
One of the basic requirements of any trade counter ePOS system is to extend and support the credit control process in the business. Most companies favour a traffic light approach where customers can be placed on ‘Stop’ immediately when they exceed their credit limit; the ‘amber’ approach is where the user is prompted to alert the customer but continue with the transaction and the ‘green’ scenario is when the account is in order. There should also be an option to include ‘Unbilled’ and ‘On order’ amounts in the credit control check.
It is important for users of ePOS systems to be able to access detailed account information from that point. It should be possible to access line items on invoices from the POS and reprint invoices as requested or view payment allocations.
Worth a read: Key benefits to using a fully integrated POS system
Customers can present a variety of types of payment at the POS and it is important that a system allows for this and produces the necessary reconciliation features for end of day reporting.
XRead and ZRead – although most systems offer either Trade Counter or ePOS solutions, it is important that your trade counter operates like a retail ‘till’ centre. Cash and end of day reconciliation is important for a variety of reasons and should be a standard feature of any system
There are many instances when it is useful to provide different layouts for dockets at the electronic point of sale. Some customers may insist on a docket that shows the discount levels achieved on the transaction when others will query prices if a discount column is shown. It is also useful to offer a ‘small receipt’ alongside a ‘VAT Docket’ to avoid unnecessary printing.
The POS in a trade counter environment deals with a plethora of transaction types without necessarily knowing the type before processing the transaction. It should be possible to choose (or change) the transaction type during the processing or at the point of completion.
Everyone loves a discount – except the retailer! We feel it is important that the Sales Rep at the POS can offer a ‘rounding discount’ (eg Transaction total = €151.45; Rep agrees to €150.00). The system should allow for this without the need for the Rep to have to calculate the Net + VAT equivalent and deal with the annoying differences. They should be able to simply type in the Gross amount and the system should handle the VAT split in the background. From a margin perspective, it may also be necessary to apportion the discount across the line items.
When putting together a transaction that has a large number of lines, it is useful to be able to quickly identify which lines are already on ‘special pricing’ so that valuable margin is not given away to secure the deal. Lines which already have been given special prices should be clearly visible at the POS.
Trade counter personnel deal with a wide variety of queries from numerous sources. It is important that the system supports them in their role by providing them with access to this information quickly and smartly. The ability to access stock level information quickly at the POS is a fundamental requirement and your system should support this.
Trade counter personnel may also have to answer queries relating to Customer and Supplier accounts, outstanding orders, validity of quotations, when is stock due in etc and it is important that a system supports them in this.
As there could be a variety of staff with various security levels accessing the POS, it is important that information and functionality is tightly controlled. Certain reps may be authorised to give certain levels of discount or view certain historical information while others are only allowed to process sales transactions. It is vitally important that your system supports these kinds of role based security levels.