I've had a few other friends with their own business ask about my POS (point of sale) setup, as well as my customers who seem to be impressed how professional it looks considering we are a very small operation.
I use Microsoft RMS (retail management system) which is the upgrade from the much older model called "Quicksell 2000" which I used to have and loved. The Microsoft RMS can be a pain to setup initially since it uses a MySQL server, but once the system gets going it's very powerful and can do many things. Of course it does the basic like manage inventory, make sells, etc. You can also have it save your customers and will prompt you to assign a customer id number to them, here I use their phone number. Now I just need their name or phone number to look them up in my system which will show me things like their last visit, what they have purchased on what date, how much they have spent here total, how much money they have saved in discounts, and I can even print up their lost receipts and even add credit to their account.
This system also allows me to print up labels for my inventory which looks alot more professional than a price gun. I have a laser printer and I use Avery 5160 labels they're basically address labels about 25 per page, with RMS I have created my own template for the label which will say the item description at the top, barcode beside the price in the middle, and my business name at the bottom. Next would be the receipts I have a simple thermal epson receipt printer (no ink needed) which prints VERY fast and it connects to my cash drawer so it will pop open after a sale. RMS will allow me to customize the receipts in which I can place my logo, phone, address, etc. at the top. At the footer it gives me 5 lines I can use to customize with what ever I wish to say at the bottom of the receipt. Since I have the epson printer I am using receipt paper on the roll which is about 2in. wide. You can however use ANY kind of printer you'd like, only reason I am tied to this receipt printer is because I don't have a usb cash drawer, so I have to use the style that connects directly to the printer. However I can print it to both of my printers if I wanted to and even set it up so it will ask me if I want to print to the other one after the first one prints which is how I have it setup so I can use the laser printer to print up quotes because it is much more detailed in the 80col format.
I used to have a pole display but then I found out what else I can do with RMS. I then connected a second monitor (video card with 2 ports of course) and for the number 2 monitor there is a feature that will allow that screen to be the pole display so they can see the items and totals, but it gets better....when you have it setup like this you can also set advertisements or specials if you wish to display on the screen, and if you have a decent concept of HTML then you can customize almost everything in RMS's interface. I liked it as it was so I only changed some colors a bit and added my logo. Now with my main register screen I use a screen filter to keep from customers trying to view what's on the screen in case I'm looking up prices.
Another great feature is the custom links, what this does is it allows me to add buttons on the side for websites (i can even add logos to the buttons) so even if i'm in the middle of a transaction I can click it and maybe check a price at my distributor for my customer then press esc to return back to the screen. It basically is using a internet explorer browser that is in the same frame the items and totals are listed (but only shows it on my screen), there is no address bar or any other buttons, so if you need to go back you have to right click, not a big deal to me though.
Then there are the macros which are a life saver, which will allow you to record steps you want it to take by pressing 1 button. For example my most common was a virus removal and antivirus. I was running a special last month so my macro selected the anti virus, selected the virus removal service, and then gave the $15 off discount which also results in their receipt saying "You saved $15!" It did this by me selecting their account and pressing 1 button. I have macros for many things, like our used computers will be selected and I have it set so it will ask my for brand and model, then ask for the price.
I finish about 5 computers a day more or less, so once I call my customer I open their account or create a new one if they don't have it. Select the items and/or services they received. Then I simply place it on hold, so when they come in I can pull up their total with all their info filled in using only 2 keystrokes this way they don't have to wait around, they can just get in and out. I can place as many transactions on hold as I want as well, or even create a work order then convert it to a transaction once the work order is completed, there's even layaway....so many options.
This system has everything I needed and then some. There was about 3 others I tried out when I was upgrading from quicksell 2000 which didn't have the capabilities I needed that quicksell had, such as Account credit so I can add credit amounts to a customer account when they trade items in for store credit and account management so I can keep track of my customers amongst other things. Now I will warn you that there is also "Microsoft POS" which is NOT the same at all...that was 1 of the 3 I tried, it's basically a very simplistic POS, not customer management or many features at all. It has about as many features as a cash register i'd say but I think they discontinued it.
Microsoft RMS does have a rather large price tag that is not what some want to pay for a POS, Quickbooks has one as well...I used it briefly since a friend of mine has it and it did have some of the features RMS has. It seemed pretty nice, but I didn't get to play around with it too much. Of course if you're using Windows XP, and want to save some money I would try to find a copy of Quicksell 2000. It does have alot of features RMS has, RMS is just newer with even more features. There are also some open source/free ones out there, but none of them seem to fit my needs.
- mATX Asus motherboard (1 more of the same model for backup)
- Pentium 4 3.0Ghz
- 2GB DDR2 667Mhz
- Nvidia G210 video card
- Rocket Raid PCI card
- 2 Corsair Force 60GB SSD in raid 1 (mirror)
- 2 17in. LCD monitors
- Lexmark laser printer
- Epson receipt printer
- PosX cash drawer
- PosX barcode scanner
- logitech wireless keyboard/mouse
- Microsoft RMS rev. 3
- Windows XP Pro
As you can see from my specs it doesn't take much at all to run this kind of setup I have, but I think the SSD's help alot with the speed of everything, I mainly chose that for reliability. The 60GB sounds small but before these I was only running a 30GB HDD and it worked fine considering I had office installed, as well as documents, letter heads, graphics, etc. also on it. You can find the smaller SSD for cheap these days, I prefer Corsair because i've always had good luck with their SSDs.
I hope someone who is looking for a POS solution finds this informative. If you have any questions feel free to message me, I don't think i'm allowed to post where I got my POS and equipment from so just ask if you want that information as well.
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.....Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle. I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?