Small-scale retailers looking to gain more control over their point-of-sales transactions or who want to simplify the transaction process for their customers might appreciate the latest news coming out of HPtoday.
The company announced its first integrated point-of-sale (POS) system featuring HP-branded peripherals that run on an open-standards hardware and software platform. Based on HP's rp500 POS transaction management system, the new solution (which goes by the exact same product name) includes a receipt printer, scanner, cash drawer, magnetic stripe reader, keyboard and touch screen display.
According to Carol Potts, HP's vice-president of retail solutions, the peripherals are all HP-branded and tested to certify compatibility. "The different components in the bundle have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they all work together to provide a smooth, seamless experience," she said.
HP designed the new system for retailers of any size — there's no minimum purchase required; retailers can buy one system or thousands. Potts explained that the POS system's capabilities suit the very different needs of both large and small retailers.
"We don't dummy down the system for small businesses. We focus on the peripherals. It's the system's flexibility that makes it a fit for any size company. The integration capability lets small businesses choose peripherals that suit their exact needs. For example, small businesses don't typically go for a high-end printer that's capable of handling check verification — that's more of a big retailer need."
She added that big retailers buy the product because they can use it in a variety of settings: in a kiosk for POS tasks, in the back office as a desktop or at checkout, which helps them minimize IT costs.
Brent Brown, HP's director of retail solutions, says HP chose an open standard platform to provide more options for its customers. They can choose to run any of the following operating systems:
- Microsoft Windows 2000
- Microsoft Windows XP Embedded for Point of Service
- Microsoft XP Professional
- Linux Point of Service v9
|HP brands and bundles a variety of accessories for its point-of-sales transaction management system.|
"HP wanted to offer more choices to small-and-medium retailers who might already have these operating systems and don't need to invest in a new license," he said.
He also noted that customers can choose to have Microsoft's Point of Sale — an application that appeals to small mom-and-pop businesses and lets them track sales, inventory and customer information — preloaded into the system. "The Windows-based application is very easy for retailers to use, and it streamlines the checkout process for their customers," he said.
Depending on the peripherals you choose, the new HP point-of-sale solution ranges in price from $3,600 to $4,200. It's available directly from HP or through a certified HP partner. You'll find more information about buying direct fro HP or help finding a local partner at this HP Web site.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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