A point of sale system (POS) is basically a cash register that helps retailers to track sales and keep transaction records. Initially, retailers relied on traditional methods of accounting and keeping records. However, thanks to the innovation of the POS system, retailers can now use technology to make operations run efficiently. Rapid advancement in technology in the recent past has made POS systems extend beyond the point of sale. Nowadays, most point of sale systems is functioning as retail management systems with extended functionality such as sales and inventory, customer management and e-commerce. According to Transparency Market Research, the POS industry has significantly grown and in 2013 stood at $38.86 billion. The industry is expected to have an annual rate of 11% between the years 2014 to 2020.
The invention of the Cash Register
The cash register was invented by James Ritty, a liquor and cigar dealer. Although his business was successful, he felt his employees were stealing at the point of sale. In 1879, he made the incorruptible cashier that could record transactions in his business. He later patented the invention and sold to Jacob Eckert who established the National Manufacturing Company for the advancement of the cash register device. After operating for a while, Eckert later sold his company to John Patterson. He continued with the development by adding new features like the employee drawers and paper receipts.
The first cash register to use an electric motor was invented in the early twentieth century by Charles Kettering who worked for the NCR. Kettering device simplified cashiers’ work of tracking sales and recording transactions. In the years that followed, more improvements were done and NCR devised marketing strategies that significantly increased the popularity of the cash register. By the mid-twentieth century, the cash register had become an integral function of any retail business.
The Move Toward Modern POS Systems
The innovation of the computer technology in the 70’s revolutionized the development of the cash register. Cash registers evolved from the traditional systems into a computerized point of sales systems with added features such as credit card terminals and touchscreen displays. The development of the cash register continued rapidly and in the 80’s and 90’s where electronic register, barcodes scanners, and other sophisticated elements were introduced.
Recently, the mobile technology has been developing at a very fast pace. In fact, the point of sale services is now available on mobile platforms. Mobile point of sales (mPOS) solutions have considerably impacted retail operations. According to a recent study in the UK, a majority of retailers indicated that a mPOS system is an important in-store technology in retail operations. Since its invention, the technology has been gaining populace in the retail industry across the world.
The future of point of sale systems in the retail industry is projected to take new shape. The advancement of cloud technology is expected to improve retail operation in terms of managing sales, inventory and customers. Additionally, the cloud technology can connect retailers with consumers across several stores and channels.
Over the years, POS systems have extensively transformed from simple cash registers to complex systems that enable retailers to manage inventory, keep records, and manage customer profiles. Furthermore, the proliferation of the mobile and cloud technology has made retail operations easier. The current POS system helps retailers improve customer experience and thereby increasing sales.