Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top Tools We Rely on for Our Wholesale, Retail, and E-commerce Businesses (cont.)

To continue with my list of top resources...

3. A solid Point of Sale system. I have spoken about this at the World Tea Expo on numerous occasions. There are many vendors out there that can walk you through all the features and functions of their systems. Before you go shopping, you should carefully write out what your requirements are. If you don't know what you'll need, try to speak with someone who has configured a similar system for a parallel business.

In the tea industry, we typically have types two types of transactions: food service and retail. The food service component will rely heavily on ease, speed and accuracy of the transaction. The retail component will need to track inventory and price changes so at the end of the day, month, quarter, so you will have an accurate picture of profitability. If you are in a high traffic area such as our retail store, Infusions of Tea, you may need to store and return to multiple in-progress transactions throughout the day.

On the food service side, customizable touch screen with programmable menus is a big plus, as is the ability to print a food order on a secondary printer in the food prep area.

On the retail side, it is easier to generate purchase orders in pounds yet sell in ounces. Also, the system should automatically generate price tags for you based on purchased quantities. Do you intend to build gift baskets or tea gift sets? You don't really want to be entering individual component prices during the holiday rush, do you? It's more likely these prebuilt sets will be sold at a discount so it is best if they are assigned their own product numbers.

Whether you choose to implement a true Point of Sale system or a simple cash register, all your data should flow into Quickbooks or whatever accounting system you are using. 

Piece of cake, right? I'll just conclude by repeating what I said at the beginning. Make a list of your requirements based upon your business. This will keep you focused as you compare various POS systems.

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