• United States
Senior Editor

Point-of-sale systems gain smarts

Jan 26, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* A look at why retailers are driven to invest in new POS software and hardware

Aged point-of-sale systems are limiting retailers’ ability to offer new features such as product lookups and personalized promotions – they’re also costing retailers precious opportunities to improve customer service and retention levels.

That was the case with retailer Burlington Coat Factory, which had to get rid of certain functions – reducing the total number of items allowed per sale from 100 to 50, for example – to make room on its POS gear for new software. Memory was so tight on its legacy POS hardware, which was running DOS, that the Burlington, N.J., retailer had to choose between accommodating some rarely used older functions or its newly developed software upgrades, says Brad Friedman, vice president of information services at Burlington Coat.

But it is this critical mass that drives retailers to invest in new POS software and hardware, our Special Focus author says ( LakeWest’s annual survey of the top 100 U.S. specialty retailers, released this month, found the average age of respondents’ POS systems is about 4½ years for hardware and almost 6 years for software. Among respondents, 37% said they plan to replace their POS hardware, and 38% plan to replace their POS software, within the next two years.

POS systems consist of core cash registers as well as peripherals such as printers, scanners, touch screens, kiosks, and handheld checkout devices. Increasingly, retailers are using the point of sale as an opportunity to do more – capture customer information, view customers’ sales histories, deliver customized promotions, check product availability, and track employee schedules, for example.

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