Most retailers today use UPC bar code merchandise scanning at the point of sale, and for receiving merchandise into inventory. Everyone from the large well known retail chain, to the small independent retailer uses the UPC bar codes as an essential part of their retail business operation.
Although UPC Bar Code usage is widespread, most retailers should be taking greater advantage of this technology as part of their inventory control solution. In POS management, bar code usage can greatly help the retailer increase sales, profitability, and operational efficiencies while improving customer service. Here are a few examples:
Faster customer check out time
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than waiting in line while a cashier fumbles at the register looking up a price or department, or checks with their manager to see if an item is on sale. When scanning bar coded merchandise at the point of sale, merchandise information is controlled through software, making check out time much faster and accurate than manual entry or typing a SKU number. This provides better and faster customer service, while ensuring that merchandise is sold at the correct price.
When used with a good POS Inventory Control system, UPC bar code scanning can facilitate the handling of quantity price breaks automatically, or enable preferred pricing for customers who are part of store loyalty programs.
Protecting your profit margins and selling your merchandise at the appropriate price point is vital for the success of any retail operation. Nothing erodes margins faster than ringing up merchandise at an incorrect price due to cashier error or price tag switching. Price changes and discounts can be implemented immediately, saving valuable time and handling costs.
In a point of sale system when a bar code Scanner used with inventory control software, scanning bar coded merchandise as items are sold, returned and received ensures that on hand inventory levels are accurately adjusted. Scanners are extremely accurate compared to key entry, which helps maintain more accurate inventory levels.
By monitoring and tracking inventory levels, the retailer can make better informed decisions. Knowing which items are selling fast and need to be re-ordered prevents revenue loss due to out-of-stocks, or perhaps losing a valuable customer altogether because the competitor down the street always has their favorite item in stock. Valuable inventory capital can be released for more open-to-buy when the retailer can quickly identify their slower selling items, and reduce them for clearance.
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Payroll deductions. Every company or institution that offers employee payroll deductions in their retail areas such as cafeteria, coffee bar, gift shop, or company store has nothing but good things to say about the impact on sales. It’s the enabler behind a $5.00 latte purchase the day before payday. The key is automating it, so as not to slow down customer traffic. Manual systems can be tough, requiring cashiers and volunteers to check a list to see if an employee is valid, and write up a slip for the employee to sign. Every two weeks the food services and store managers combines and totals the employee’s payroll slips, and then send them to payroll for payroll to enter manually, and then posts payments.
What can be available is automated imports of employee files from payroll (which can spot terminated staff as well) that then supports swiping the employee’s badge, letting the software check the employee’s balance against the credit limit. Automatic printing of the customer AND the signature receipt may be turned on or off, according to preference. Just before payroll runs, employee numbers and deduction amounts are automatically transmitted to payroll. And then, crème de la crème, the actual deductions taken come back automatically from payroll, and the balances are adjusted.
Departmental charges are also automated, allowing for accurate charge backs to the appropriate department, as are physicians’ charges. Statements can be printed, or sent to accounting for their departmental adjustments.
LAYAWAYS What if your company or hospital doesn’t permit Payroll Deductions? How can you make an expensive item obtainable to an employee or customer who isn’t able to spend a large amount of money all at once? Layaways are experiencing a revival in many retail areas – Target and Wal-Mart are now advertising the availability of Layaways.
Your POS product may be able to provide this tool for you. It can allow you to attach a layaway to a customer number (your employee’s badge), and track the items, and the payments as they are made against the items on layaway. So stockroom space is tight? If you can print an open layaway inventory list at any time, so you can see what items are due for pick up, and bring them over from the warehouse!
GIFT CARDS Gift cards have been well received and are a great way to keep money in the retail areas. These aren’t just presents for one employee to give to another; they have a couple of other great uses! A gift card can be given to a customer to offset a return – the retail manager doesn’t have to give back cash, or write out a credit slip when a pricey item is returned. She’s keeping the money in the store. One other elegant use for gift cards has been the sale of those cards to administration, for a handling fee, plus the card value, for service recovery and employee rewards. More