The term point of sale defines a number of things. This includes a checkout counter at some store or someplace where transactions are carried out. This often refers to a computerized cash register. This term is commonly abbreviated as POS. The large retailers initially tried to implement the POS or the Point of Sale thing to help in the automation of work in the retail stores. The initial computers were very large and cost a whole lot of money. Thus, there was a limitation in the adoption of POS or point of sale. Thus low cost personal computers that came in vogue during the eighties helped improve the efficiency of transaction work at the retail stores.

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The point of sale system

A very common point of sale system would include a pole display, receipt printer, cash drawer, computer, magnetic swipe machine, point of sale software, modem, bar code scanner and so on. Each of them would have their own functionality.

Personal Computer

The personal computer would operate the POS and would provide interfaces of the printer, readers of credit cards and so on.

Receipt Printer

This prints a paper copy of the transaction for handing over to the customer.

Pole Display

The LED display that the customer can see and that shows every item along with price scan too.

Cash Drawer

This is a box that can be locked and that stores the cash. This box will be triggered to open by the software.

Bar Code Scanner

This is a device like a laser which is counter style and gun style too. This converts the lines of the bar code into numbers. This number which is also referred to as the SKU or Stock Keeping Unit is transferred to the POS computer for A price lookup on automatic basis.

Magnetic Swipe Reader

This helps in reading the magnetic swipe right at back of any debit or credit card. The information that is stores on the magnetic strip includes the number of the credit card, the customer name, the address and the expiration date.

Modem

This allows the POS computer to communicate with the credit cards processing centers of the banks and to other store locations.

Point of Sale software

This is software which runs on computer and controls the various kinds of devices. This also performs the traditional functions for cash register like the ringing of a sale.

The Point of Sale Software today has many more features other than the addition of the sale to the computerized register of cash. The POS system is gradually being swaped with the retail management system software. POS is thus referred to today as only the cash register in the retail management software. Thus, the simple POS system grew into a powerful system of cash register management and also time management for retail owners and managers. The work today implies integration of ecommerce, integrated accounting, customer relationship management, electronic payment processing, management of service orders, special order management, electronic ordering, integrated video surveillance and special management of orders.