There have been a vast amount of technological advancements in recent history that have gone a long way to increasing the quality and efficiency of the service industry. As societies moved into a post-industrial revolution era, the technologies used in everyday financial transactions had to become more sophisticated to meet the rapidly growing demands of consumers. One such technology that is used in some variation in almost every grocery, drug and other type of store, is point of sale software.
The development of point of sale software begins with the earliest technologies present at a transaction point. Financial transaction technology started with a simple exchange of goods by hand, to an exchange of currency by hand, to a simple cash register, and finally to an electronically sophisticated cash register equipped with point of sale software.
It was in 1992 when modern POS software came to the fore with Martin Goodwin and Bob Henry developing software that could run on a Microsoft Windows System. From that point on, point of sale software has become increasingly user friendly and cost effective (one can expect to pay $4,000 USD for a system), with all systems defined by their quick speed and a breadth of useful functions for any business.
Customer service has become an industry that demands efficiency and it is thus important to have a checkout system that is user friendly both to management and to employees. Point of sale software can easily be customized according to the demands of a variety of industries. For example, the retail industry is one that gleans vast benefits from the implementation of point of sale software, and is subsequently one of the largest consumers of these systems. The combination of a computer, monitor, cash drawer, printer, display system and scanner, is complex enough that software to simplify transactions is necessary.
Increasingly, point of sale systems include all-in-one touch screen monitors that can handle every function needed for a retail employee; returns, exchanges, gift cards, sales, discounts, etc. Not only does this allow retail stores to save on valuable space, but provides managers and owners the ability to keep track of any and all transactions in order to pinpoint needed areas of improvement, and to tailor their future purchase orders. This type of software is also hugely popular in the hospitality industry and restaurants in order to keep up with a fast-paced and growing set of consumer demands. This includes demands for customer loyalty specials and an increasing variety of payment methods.
Additionally, point of sale software allows for the retention of customer information for the purpose of delivery, more efficient check -outs, and easy set-up of credit. This same system can be used to store and organize employee information and track employee sales, hours and commission. This ensures the accountability of employees to properly record hours and earnings, as well as allowing the opportunity for incentives to encourage sales. This may sound like a ‘big brother’ situation indicating a lack of trust in employees.
It is however, a product of the modern capitalist market, which along with its economically freeing effects, has also ushered in a surveillance culture. Every aspect of an individuals’ life is electronically recorded and monitored, whether it be purchase records, criminal records, or the storage of your identity (through a drivers license, passport, etc.). Thus, businesses and other organizations need to use this monitoring technology for their benefit. Ultimately using this technology to streamline efficiency will reward those employees who perform to the best of their ability.