Point of sale software typically has three core components, an inventory database, a sales interface and report facilities. It will also be able to be configured for standard EPOS hardware.
Increasingly, it may have web site facilities.
The Bibase 4POS software has a databases for inventory, customers and suppliers with a secure sales interface for staff. It also includes the 4Web utility for live web site inventory.
In the simplest case the POS is just used to keep track of inventory and sales with invoices printed from a standard printer.
A business may or may not require that inventory levels are monitored, typically a configuration option will allow the levels to be ignored.
Security is the other essential, with user logon and transaction tracking. 4POS gives every transaction a unique identifier and all operators must log on with a password.
The most common hardware additions utilized are receipt printers and cash drawers.
The receipt printer is normally just installed under Windows and then selected within the POS. Perhaps the most common is the Epson TM 88 series. Popular others include Star Micronics, Citizen and Samsung.
The differences found within budget sector models are narrower paper and the omission of an autocutter.
A receipt printer is not recommended as a second user purchase as they often see intensive use (unless the price is so attractive there is little downside!).
The cash drawer is a straightforward item and it is recommended that a generic is purchased as brand name versions are frequently identical and relatively expensive.
There are two main types. The most common is daisy chain connected from the receipt printer via a telephone style RJ11 plug. The other is directly connected to the computer serial (COM) port with a nine pin connector.
It is suggested that if a daisy chain type is to be used that confirmation is obtained that it will work with any existing receipt printer. 4POS will operate both types.
The customer display is a less common peripheral than receipt printers and cash drawers. Typically it connects direct to a computer serial port. In almost all cases it has a two line display each of twenty characters. It can often be purchased at a considerable discount second user.
The use of a common database for both stand alone software and multi terminal versions permits flexabilty for future expansion. The standard 4POS Retail may be upgraded to the 4POS SC simply by installing the server and copying a single inventory file.
The server client design of the 4POS SC increases both speed and reliability over older applications which feature all installations manually manipulating files on a remote computer.
The entry or import of inventory can be a long process. The most common option offered is to import from a CSV (comma separated text) file. It may be viewed in a wordprocessor, the format is:
Both Microsoft Access and Excel will 'Save as' CSV. The file may then be viewed in a word processor. The import option in 4POS in on the Utilities menu.
It is often necessary with several store locations to check stock from a head office. The most economic solution is to use a web site to host a live inventory search page from each. The 4Web utility bundled with both 4POS Retail and 4POS SC enables that facility with a very straightforward setup with no web server side configuration.
SKU .. Stock keeping unit
EFT .. Electronic funds transfer
UPC .. Type of barcode (commonly seen in supermarkets)
DIP .. Type of small switch (typically recessed on a receipt printer)