Stock control

Computerised stock control systems run on similar principles to manual ones, but are more flexible and information is easier to retrieve. You can quickly get a stock valuation or find out how well a particular item of stock is moving.
A computerised system is a good option for businesses dealing with many different types of stock. Other useful features include:

  • Stock and pricing data integrating with accounting and invoicing systems. All the systems draw on the same set of data, so you only have to input the data once. Sales Order Processing and Purchase Order Processing can be integrated in the system so that stock balances and statistics are automatically updated as orders are processed.
  • Automatic stock monitoring, triggering orders when the re-order level is reached.
  • Identifying the cheapest and fastest suppliers.
  • Bar coding systems which speed up processing and recording. The software will print and read bar codes from your computer.

POS (Point of Sale)

Commonly , Point of sale or point of service is referred to, as the checkout counter in a shop, or the location where a transaction occurs in a retail business.

Hardware used


bar code scanner

Barcode Scanners

card reader

Card Readers

cash drawer

Cash Drawers

laser printer

Label Printers

receipt printer

Receipt Printers

data collector

Data Collectors


EFTPOS

EFTPOS, Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale, refers to the technology that allows a retailer to directly debit a customer's bank account by using a debit card. The debit card, generally the same as an ATM card, is swiped through a reading device just like a credit card. The customer must enter his or her PIN number, generally requested once the amount of the sale has been entered into the EFTPOS device.

EFTPOS

Advantages to retailers

The retailer is paid 'instantly' without having to accept actual cash.

No need to manually count cash and then tally with the cash registers. Time and human resource is saved.

With EFTPOS, the money is wired directly into the retailer's bank account, bypassing the risk of handling large amount of cash.

Advantages to Customers

A shopper need not have cash on hand, credit cards, or a cheque book to make a purchase. This is especially convenient for unplanned or impulse buying.

The customer can also get cash back from the transaction.

Furthermore, if an item needs to be returned to the store, an EFTPOS sale affords the patron an instant cash refund, notwithstanding store policy. Contrast this with personal cheques which require a customer to wait two weeks or more before cash refund can be offered.

EFTPOS saves the consumer money by sparing personal cheques and ATM fees to withdraw cash


Internet shopping

Online shopping is where customers purchase products or services over the Internet. It evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar retailer or in a shopping mall.

online shopping

online shooping

The process

Consumers find a product of interest by visiting the website of the retailer directly, or do a search across many different vendors using a shopping search engine.
Once a particular product has been found on the web site of the seller, most online retailers use shopping cart software to allow the consumer to accumulate multiple items and to adjust quantities, by analogy with filling a physical shopping cart or basket in a conventional store. A "checkout" process follows (continuing the physical-store analogy) in which payment and delivery information is collected, if necessary.

Some stores allow consumers to sign up for a permanent online account so that some or all of this information only needs to be entered once. The consumer often receives an e-mail confirmation once the transaction is complete. Less sophisticated stores may rely on consumers to phone or e-mail their orders (though credit card numbers are not accepted by e-mail, for security reasons).

Different terms used to describe business selling online:

  • online shop,
  • e-shop
  • e-store
  • internet shop
  • webshop
  • webs tore
  • online store
  • virtual store

Advantages to business

Businesses don’t have to set up physical stores and hire employees to reach customers. This saves huge investments in building and manpower.

Through internet businesses can reach customers spread over large geographical area, which was not possible through traditional shops.

By selling online small businesses with less capital base have the opportunity to reach customers globally.

Businesses selling online need not maintain large physical inventories which reduce overhead costs and the benefit can be passed on to customers through lower prices.

Manufacturers can sell directly to the customers without having to appoint an intensive network of middlemen. Profit margins are relatively higher.

Increase visibility for the business and its products through Search Engine Marketing.

Businesses can update their online store anytime, whether it's adding new products, or adjusting prices, without the expense and time of a traditional print catalogue and postage costs.

It is easier to track customer's online visits to the  store's web pages and to determine the most popular products.


Advantages to the customers

Convenience: An online store allows you to shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So you can shop at your leisure, regardless of your time zone.

online shopping cartoon

Products sold online are usually lower priced than products available in the market.

Consumers have a wide variety to choose from. They can do a thorough research on internet by visiting other web stores, before they make up their mind. The Internet also allows to easily compare products and prices, so consumers can be sure that the item they purchase is the exact item they want.

Saves time. So much of the vast variety of products and product information is easily searchable. Plus, there is no travelling, parking, and walking involved.

Environmental Benefits. Recent studies are showing that shopping online leads to reduced fuel consumption and air pollution, because so much of our car travel is dedicated to shopping. Plus, shopping online reduces the need for print catalogs and excess packaging.


Online Shopping - the drawbacks

Online shopping does have a number of drawbacks too.

  • You need access to a computer.
  • You usually need either a credit or debit card to buy anything.
  • You're likely to need an email address. This is because once you've bought something online, the company you've bought from is required by law to send you confirmation of your order. Most do this by email.
  • You can't have a good look at what you’re buying or feel or try it on.
  • You can’t get your hands on your shopping instantly but instead have to wait until it is delivered.
  • The cost of delivering your shopping to your home can make shopping online more expensive so it's important to check how much delivery is going to cost. This is particularly true if you are buying from abroad.
  • If you're not at home when the items are delivered you may need to go to a central post office or out of the way courier depot to collect them.
  • There is always a chance that something will get lost or broken in the post.
  • If you don’t like something you have to organise to return it.
  • There is a chance you could get ripped off by a site that isn’t what it claims to be.

Check out these article on online shopping

Environmental benefits of online shopping
UK online spending to reach £56bn by 2014
Internet shines as high street sales plummet