Setting up a POS system is much easier than you may think - and it can save you a bundle. Anyone with a home computer already has the skills!
A point of sale system is simply a Windows PC (or tablet) with some devices connected to it like a slip printer, a bar code scanner and a cash drawer. The way they connect is no more complicated than setting up a new printer, which most of us have done before. So here it is in 4 easy steps:
STEP 1 - Choose A Computer:
Any Windows PC, laptop or tablet will be fine. If it runs any version of Windows then you can use it. Get a touch screen monitor if you want to reduce customer checkout time. You can use any monitor you wish.
STEP 2 - Order Some Basic Point Of Sale Devices
The usual devices are a barcode scanner, a cash drawer and a receipt printer. To find local suppliers just do a web search on "pos hardware" plus the name of your city.
POS Receipt Printer - this is a must in stores where customers expect a standard retail sales receipt. The most popular brands are Star Micronics and Epson. Get a thermal printer because they are smaller, faster, quieter and don't need cartridges. Skip this if you only want to print invoices and statements - those will print on any ordinary laser or inkjet printer.
Automatic Cash Drawer - any model that connects to the back of a receipt printer will work and no driver installation is needed! Ask the supplier to give you the right cable to connect it to your model of printer.
Barcode Scanner - Retail Plus will let you scan a barcode at the checkout and where ever a stock code is wanted. Any USB scanner will work. Just plug it in and go. Once again, no driver installation needed. So easy.
Some POS hardware vendors offer bundled packages usually consisting of a receipt printer, barcode scanner and cash drawer. Try POS Warehouse at 1-888-840-4945 and say Retail Plus sent you. There are a number of other add-ons if you have special requirements (more on those later).
STEP 3 - Download And Install Retail Plus Point Of Sale Software
With 25 years in the business Retail Plus has evolved into a cutting edge system while simplicity has remained a priority. Our mission is to provide store proven software that delivers the right mix of features at an affordable price. It is designed to be easy to learn and easy to use. You can have a functioning POS system in just a few minutes by downloading the installer.
STEP 4 - Call Us For Any Help Or Advice You Need
In North America call toll free 888-272-4874. For overseas calls please dial +250-931-2555. We can even install Retail Plus for you - just phone to schedule a live remote technician at no extra charge. We will be happy to help whenever you require support or advice. If you prefer you can send us your query by email.
Moving Beyond The Basics
When you are ready for some more advanced functions you can add any of the following:
A Pole Display - This device will show your customers what item is being checked out, the total due and the change owing. Between sales it will display a message of your own design. Retail Plus supports the Epson and Logic Controls command sets. The Logic Controls LD9000 or the POSX XP8200U are good choices for price and reliability.
A Barcode Printer - With Retail Plus you can use any inkjet or laser printer to print barcodes on standard Avery labels (8160). But for those who need to print hundreds of labels a day we support the popular Zebra, GoDEX and Wasp label printers.
Credit, Debit And Gift Card Processing - Retail Plus supports multiple payment systems like X-Charge, Vantiv, First Data, National Payment and Heartland. They all process cards quickly and offer an easy way to launch your own store branded gift cards. They also protect you from fraud with state of the art EMV security features. If you are still charging credit cards by swiping magnetic stripes then it is important to get on board with EMV as soon as possible. Call us for details.
QuickBooks Accounting Software (Pro and Premier) - Retail Plus includes links to this popular accounting package using Intuit's QB-XML data sharing standard. It allows you to transfer open invoices from Retail Plus to QuickBooks and make payments on them from the POS screen. You can post your POS revenues directly to your QB accounts and share both client and inventory info as well.
Direct Connect Scales - If your weighing is done at the checkout counter you will want one of these. The Mettler-Toledo Ariva, Viva, and XPress XRV are good choices for quality and affordability. They handle up to 30 pounds or 14 kilos and come in both counter top and in-counter models. Be sure to order the serial cable that goes with it. It uses a DB9 "null modem" serial cable and these are not usually found in regular computer shops.
Barcode Scales - If your weighing is done away from the checkout counter then you can use any scale that prints standard Random Weight Barcode labels. The label tells Retail Plus what it is and how much there is. The systems then adjusts inventory and calculates the price.
A Portable Stock Counter - You will want one of these if you have a large amount of barcoded stock that needs frequent counting. To count inventory quickly just walk along the shelves reading a barcode from each item and punch in the shelf count. When you are done transfer the information to your computer where Retail Plus can read it. You can now view a table that shows where the shelf count does not agree with the computer data. A good choice is the Metrologic ScanPal.
If you are looking at used hardware follow these guidelines:
- Avoid old serial or parallel receipt printers.
- A used USB receipt printer is OK as long as it includes the right printer driver for your version of Windows. New drivers for old printers are commonly available on the internet but they can be time consuming to locate and install.
- Make sure the receipt printer has a cash drawer port on the back.
- A barcode scanner must have a USB connector and come with a user guide. You cannot change the user settings without it. The default settings are usually fine but it is still a risk.
- A used cash drawer should not be purchased without first testing it on your setup.
- Avoid USB cash drawers. They require virtual COM port drivers that can error out at inconvenient times requiring a system reboot.
- Google the make and model of any device to see if it is supported by the manufacturer or at least still widely in use. If there is no make and model label on the device then you should probably not buy it.