Online POS – Do You Really Need Them?

The Point of Sale or POS software is commonly being used in the retail sector even though it is not as common among the small retailers. There are many reasons they are still reluctant to embrace a software and one major reason is that they have no idea how important it is and how it can improve their revenue and reputation apart from saving a lot of time. Not to forget the inventory management and the basic accounting and reporting functions they provide!

There are 2 questions that arise here – why do you need POS software and whether you need an online POS or conventional desktop software.

Coffee shop using online Point of Sale (POS)

Why do you need POS Software?

POS used to be a combination of a billing machine and a money locker earlier to keep the sales money and a bill to the customer and did not bother about the stock and other accounting aspects. Now the POS software comes integrated with an accounting and payroll system which is much useful to the retail chains.

Billing Software makes even the smallest retail business look professional

You bill the sale and present the bill along with the product and it gives you a more professional outlook. Your customer now has an invoice which he or she can trust now. You can use it to record your sales revenue and provide some authentic records for the sale which you can utilize for any official purposes.

Prices are consistent and you will not sell at a loss

If you have POS software, you will record the product details on it and will have a fixed price tag with an item code. So for the particular item code, the price remains consistent and you know how much has been charged in another invoice for the same product. Even if you are selling on discounts, the software generally alerts the user when you try to sell it for a price less than its cost price.

Your reports are at your fingertips

Know how much you have sold and where you stand in your venture all within a few click of buttons. Since all your retail transactions are stored in the POS software, you can easily find out how much you sold a day, week, month and a year. You can even get category-wise or area-wise sales whichever is relevant to you.

Inventory Management made more efficient

Inventory management is the second and one of the most important features of POS software. If you want to bill your products, you need to enter the stock into the system first and then only you can input an order or an invoice. At any given point of time, you can easily find out your stock levels and plan a purchase of items that are nearly sold out or decide on selling on discounts when an inventory build-up of the same brand or product type happens.

iPad POS system
photo credit: Oldonliner / Flickr

Basic Accounting

POS software records the purchases and sales and hence, the basic accounting details are recorded in it. Most of the competitive software can store all the basic accounting details, like the payments made and the credit given, provided you are willing to key them in manually. Some software even tracks the cost of goods in and out along with the overheads which make them even more desirable and accurate.

Track your customer details

Competent POS software will store the basic customer details which you can use for maintaining better customer relations. You can extract reports on the type of customers you have and use them for marketing campaigns and also know what sells more to each type of customer in your database. This can help you improve your product range based on the demand which will further boost your sales.

Track your employees

This option is particularly useful for retail stores with a large number of employees. You can track how each employee is doing based on the number of bills they do and the revenue they bring into your firm.

You can also work out an incentive system based on the sales target achieved every month for each employee which can be tracked using the POS software. This will boost their productivity and your revenue.

Which is better – Online POS or Desktop POS?

Now the quintessential question of whether to purchase POS software or to subscribe to one arises. Online POS has many advantages and is fast evolving which is attracting most of the retailers:

  • One major advantage is that it does not involve a purchase and works on a periodic subscription which is much cheaper than purchasing the software.
  • You will be able to access it from anywhere using the browser or a mobile app if the application is available online.
  • You can enjoy all the benefits of using the software even without purchasing it. You can even decide on purchasing it after trying it out in real-time and are satisfied with it.
  • You can convert your store into an e-commerce store by integrating the POS information easily. Most of the shared online applications come with mobile app integration which makes sales possible on the go.
  • When it comes to a desktop POS, you have to invest heavily in purchasing it. You may have to invest in special hardware and also for maintaining it. Upgrading the software is also much easier than the desktop POS.


If you are a retailer, small or big, POS software is a must to manage your retail venture more professionally and efficiently. Whether you want it online or offline depends on how much business you have and the cost of acquiring the software.

Being able to sell on the go, using mobile apps, is definitely more advantageous than having to depend on wired software and for the same reason Online POS is more advantageous than desktop software.