Retail Environments Depend on POS Equipment

Jul 27 07:13 2010 Martin Cooper Print This Article

The retail industry generates billions of dollars of revenue annually, and every penny, ruble, and peso depends on accurate, timely, and efficient inventory control. Ensuring product items are priced correctly, in place, and removed from inventory when sold are key to a retail business's survival.

Hardware Applications
From the receiving dock to the store's exit security gates,Guest Posting the retail industry is heavily vested in inventory control techniques and systems to ensure maximum accountability and Return On Investment or ROI. POS equipment even facilitates accepting charge cards for easy consumer purchasing.

As inventory arrives, immediate bar code scanning enables full accountability and location verification. From that point products can be priced and placed in the retail environment and made available to the consumer if the bar code label on the individual product already meets the retailer's requirement. If they don't, the retailer programs new information into the inventory control software to reflect unique product identifying information and prints new bar code labels, commonly called Unique Product Codes or UPCs, and attaches the labels to the individual products or updates shelf tags to correlate.

Hand-held, Bluetooth(tm)-enabled scanners capture the bar code label information, transmit the data to the inventory control program, updating stock counts in real time and streamlining in-storage and on-shelf inventory control procedures. Hand-held or hands-free models enable distance scanning from a less than an inch (approximately 25 mm) to thirty yards (roughly 27 meters) from scanner lens to bar code label, depending on model capabilities and mobility.

In-counter scanners rest within the counter structure, itself, and can capture bar code labels either vertically or horizontally, depending on the model configuration, freeing the cashier's hands and reducing hand, arm, neck, and back strain, as well as optimizing check-out throughput. The in-counter scanners may also include produce racks and weigh scales, maximizing utility and continuity of flow.

Larger retailers and select smaller retailers utilize security gates at entrances and exits to reduce product theft. Department stores ensure high-value items are fully controlled within that department, directing the consumer to those check-out lanes only to purchase those products within the high-security area before moving to another department or exiting the store. Security equipment—whether gates at the exits or in-counter sensors--have reduced worldwide shrinkage by up to 40% since their invention and use, saving retailers hundreds of billions in revenue currency.

Software Applications
Inventory management software in the retail environment is pivotal in both accountability and profits.

Most inventory management software is compatible with common desktop, laptop, and notebook operating systems for easy and familiar installation, commands, updates, and upgrades. All software products enable multiple license packages, reducing expenses and enhancing ease of use.

Important keys in any inventory management and control software are adaptability, changeability, and accuracy. Item descriptions, price, and availability must accurately reflect the intent of the retailer to save cost disputes and unnecessary, wasteful corrective actions which risk customer satisfaction. There is little more damaging than a consumer having to pay more for a product than he or she is led to believe, based on shelf tag misinformation. A customer's complaint reaches a wider audience than does a customer's praise.

Inventory management software can reduce theft, as well. By instituting access protocols, price control and item accountability improve tremendously. Information on labels can be locked down for maximum protection, allowing only view and print access by non-management or non-supervisory personnel. Permissions can be granted by department, title, or login, ensuring only those with proper authority adjust inventory and profit-related information.

Summary
Retailers depend on correct pricing and true, real-life data capture in their POS equipment. Choosing the right equipment for retail operations depends on security, environmental, and customer throughput concerns. Close investigation of all available options should garner cost-effective and cost-saving point-of-sale equipment.

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Martin Cooper
Martin Cooper

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