Microsoft Wants You to Check Out New POS Software

Tuesday Jan 16th 2007 by Dan Muse
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Microsoft Dynamics — Point of Sale 2.0 is built to make life easier for cashiers and to give business owners more control over inventory and better integration with business software.

Looking to provide small business owners with more control and flexibility for point-of-sale transactions, Microsoft yesterday announced at the Retail Federation Annual Conference & Expo at New York the release of Microsoft Dynamics — Point of Sale 2.0.

Version 2.0 is now part of the Microsoft Dynamics family and is designed to improve the efficiency of point-of-sales transactions. According to Brendan O'Meara, general manager for Dynamics POS Solutions, at Microsoft, the new version offers an improved user interface and inventory tracking, makes transaction processing faster and more accurate, integrates POS with small business accounting software, offers a high level of customer service, broadens the options for payments and provides more reporting.


Microsoft Dynamics - Point of Sale 2.0.
You can customize point-of-sale screens for your store by add custom buttons and images.
(Click to view larger image.)

With version 2.0 and hardware and services provided by partners, you can use technologies such as touch-screen displays to speed customer interactions and accept virtually all forms of payments, according to Microsoft. You can also track purchase behaviors and identify buying trends to improve inventory management and save valuable time.

Microsoft Dynamics Point of Sale uses a roles-based design built to appeal to both the cashier on the front line and the store's manager or owner, according to O'Meara. The look and feel for cashiers focuses on large graphical buttons that are ideal for touch screen technology. The interface is designed to be customizable for store owners, letting you add images, logos, change navigation and so on. For store managers and owners, the look and feel for product and sales management is based of Microsoft Outlook. Version 2.0 is also built to work easily with the Microsoft Office system and other software.


Microsoft Dynamics - Point of Sale 2.0.
In Microsoft Dynamics — Point of Sale 2.0, you can create automatic purchase orders and track item movement and supplier history.
(Click to view larger image.)

For example, you can exchange sales, purchase order, vendor data and other information between Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Office Outlook. In the small business world, QuickBooks is still the dominant accounting software. Recognizing that fact, Microsoft allows you to exchange sales data and inventory receipts with Intuit QuickBooks.

The integration also extends to the Internet as the new version ties into PayPal, online invoicing and eBay. You can also share information with other programs and suppliers using standard formats such as Microsoft Office Excel, text, HTML, XML or e-mail.

The new version is designed to work with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Embedded for Point of Sale. The software retails for $799 for a typical configuration, which O'Meara said, includes a PC in the back office and a POS system on the counter. The price includes Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 (which retails for $149). The software also comes bundled as a part of turnkey point of sales systems offered by HP, Casio and IBM.

In related news, First Data Corp., Microsoft Corp. and HP yesterday announced a hardware/software bundle that includes store management software and retail-ready hardware that's designed to offer features typically available only to large retailers.

The First Data POS Value Exchange is designed to replace a cash register and traditional point-of-sale terminal with a computer-based system that delivers a complete store management system with greater information security, speed of transactions and more flexible payment options for customers.

POS Value Exchange is based on First Data's payment processing for credit, debit and gift cards as well as checks. The bundle also includes Microsoft Dynamics Point of Sale 2.0 software and a rugged, retail-specific point-of-sale hardware solution from HP.

According to the companies, the bundle will be offered by First Data, along with its participating alliance partners and independent sales organizations. Purchase and lease options will be available, with pricing set by the individual sales channels, according to First Data.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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