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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Point of Sale Software?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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Open source point of sale software is used primarily to work cash registers in retail businesses and restaurants, but finding the right point of sale (POS) software may be difficult, because some open source software in this category lacks the functionality of the closed source variety. The best open source point of sale software must be able to add items to the register’s system and set prices. Most businesses accept different payment methods, including gift cards, credit cards, checks and cash, and POS software must be able to accommodate this. It also should have a refund function to accommodate customers who are not happy with a product and want to return it. Along with selling products, many POS programs are able to check through warehouses to see if there is any product left.

Businesses are always expanding their product line, and open source point of sale software must be able to follow suit. The administrator must be able to add new products into the system’s database at a moment's notice, so cashiers can start selling the product as soon as it enters the store. Pricing also must be set to ensure that it rings up correctly. To help set sale prices, some programs will allow administrators to enter a profit percentage, so all items are marked up from the price the business paid for them.

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When all items to be purchased are rung up, the customer needs to pay, but customers use different payment methods. Some businesses stay safe by only accepting cash, but many consumers do not carry cash and only have credit or debit cards. During the holidays, a business also can make extra money by selling gift cards. The best open source point of sale software must be able to accept different payment types to satisfy all customers.

While most customers, ideally, will be happy with the products purchased, some may need to return an item. To make this process simple, the POS system must have an easy-to-use return and refund function. This enables the cashier to make the return within a few seconds, so the customer does not feel hassled about having to return an item.

POS systems are most often used to sell products, but powerful systems also can locate products. For example, if the product is in the back room or a warehouse, the program should know its location. This helps managers know exactly where items are, and whether the manager needs to order more products to fill customers’ needs.

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