Jumping on the Linux POS (Point of Sale) Bandwagon – Finally a Choice for Retail & Hospitality


For many retail & hospitality operators, having a choice in operating systems is key In a never ending battle to facilitate costs, many companies today are considering Linux as a server operating system. Issues like cost and versatility make Linux […]

For many retail & hospitality operators, having a choice in operating systems is key

In a never ending battle to facilitate costs, many companies today are considering Linux as a server operating system. Issues like cost and versatility make Linux an attractive option. However, as many operators could be asking,”what exactly is Linux anyway?”

Linux is a completely free Unix-type operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds. Developed under the GNU General Public License, the source code for Linux is freely available for everybody. According to IBM, Linux is now the fastest growing server operating system.

Once businesses have chosen their operating system, the following task is usually sourcing out a POS (point of sale) system. In the best of times, sourcing a POS system for your business performance may be confusing, time consuming and arduous task. Throw in the additional barrier of having to pick point of sale applications that could run on your operating system, and it’s easy to see why business owners shy away from this difficult and often expensive task.

Research has revealed that the amount of POS terminals running Linux in North America has increased 80% since 2002. The reason is simple; Linux, as an operating system, is more cost effective, flexible, and allows for increased freedom of choice in applications than more mainstream operating systems. Linux can be very cost effective in regards to licensing, installation, administrative and service costs. Linux can offer these features without sacrificing performance. For retailers and restaurant/hospitality operators alike, cost and ease of use are king, and motives like these can make the difference between a company that succeeds and a company which fails.

POS software suppliers have been slow, but to jump on the Linux bandwagon. These days, there are only a few well-known or enterprise-wide POS software packages available for Linux. 1 company, however, has seen a niche in the industry and has embraced it head on. Volanté POS Systems, of Toronto, Canada and Hong Kong, offers a POS solution that’s been developed entirely in Java. Java is cross platform compatible and works in several environments — this provides the user freedom to choose Linux, Windows 2000/XP, or Windows and Linux. For many operators, having a choice is essential.

Does Java provide cross platform compatibility, but like Linux, using Java POS solutions can be cost effective as well, as Java allows users the chance to save additional Windows license fees, for instance. Java’s open standard architecture enables the whole system to be compatible with third party industrial applications. Users are free to choose their working environment and aren’t bound to costly proprietary limitations.

From a retail standpoint, Linux is definitely catching on. Burlington Coat Factory, for example, has already rolled out Linux in all their places, both as a desktop and POS system. Other retailers/restaurateurs now using Linux in their shops include: Papa John’s, Garden Fresh, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Home Depot, and Gap, to name a few.

The push for Linux is not only in North America, either. Asian governments are looking closely at Linux, hoping it is going to result in the development of a domestic software industry that is not hostage to foreign permits. In accordance with Linux Insider International,”Asia is emerging as a key battleground for the open minded motion. The Japan-China-Korea (JCK) venture, announced last month in Osaka, is the most recent in a series of initiatives to promote Linux. Two weeks before, Singapore hosted the 2nd annual Asia Open Source Symposium, where 20 Asian countries discussed closer alliance in standardization, localization and interoperability of Linux applications”

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Thus, when choosing an operating system and following point of sale system, consider Linux. Discover for yourself why Linux is the fastest growing server operating system.

POS Shop / Retail Software Is Vital for Any Size Retail Operation

Some retailers believe that a POS store / retail software solution is not for them because they only have one point of sale. Why invest so much money in something so complex you will likely never use half the features, right? Well, not really. Initially, you may thing you won’t use a number of the features but as soon as you discover how POS applications can streamline your operation, from inventory control to marketing, you’ll soon wonder why you waited to execute the system, particularly after you take a good look at your profit margins.

POS Shop / Retail Software Is Just as Effective for a Single Shop

Most POS store / retail software solutions seem to concentrate a lot on boosting the ease with which you can synchronise information across multiple stores and how everything is saved on the internet, allowing access to the data from anywhere. This can put some small store owners away POS applications because they believe that this sort of software would be too cumbersome and complicated for a small operation such as theirs.

But what they do not realise is that this program is intended to streamline operations within every point of sale and synchronisation is just a small portion of what POS store / retail applications can do. POS software is designed to optimise inventory management, enhance customer retention rates, streamline logistics and even more. To put it differently, it’s intended to automate a number of the processes within a shop, which is even more valuable to a small retail operation since it helps save a whole lot of money in the procedure.

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As a small store owner, you could have an employee or two, that are running around like chickens without heads trying to deal with every facet of the operation, from ordering inventory to selling and everything in between. Marketing and customer relationship management is most likely a dream because nobody has the time to even think about it let alone devise and implement a plan.

But if you were to implement a POS store / retail software solution, inventory management could be a breeze and you would be saving money in the process because all orders could be made based on statistical information. To put it differently, you would not be ordering tons of goods which take forever to move off the shelves, blocking your money in hard-to-move inventory. POS software could take over a range of other processes also, including offering you critical reports on client behavior, which can help you devise a marketing strategy to improve your customer retention rate.

All this could free up the time of your staff who may then concentrate on selling and building relationships with your clients. Bear in mind, it’s much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to discover a new one and repeat clients are the easiest way to boost your profitability. There is nothing more valuable than a loyal customer because not only do they spend longer but they also market your shop through word-of-mouth by recommending your shop for their friends, acquaintances and family.


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