The importance of Point of Sale data analytics

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Regardless of your industry, goods or services, you can boost your business using appropriate analytics linked Point of Sale (POS) data and systems. This can be the beginning of a new journey.

POS data is the input associated with the sale of goods or services. POS systems are combination of hardware or software that generate it. But to truly understand POS data and systems, and what more they can do for your business, we must look back to their history.

The evolution of POS systems and data is driven by the imperatives of entrepreneurs, customers, legislation, and technology. The first working mechanical cash register, (figure on the left), was patented in 1883. James Ritty, a saloon-keeper, suspected his barmen stole sales’ cash. This led to the invention of the cash register, which  recorded sales amounts and daily total for crosschecking.

The first workable cash register as per the patent illustration

From then onwards POS system evolved rapidly. An electric motor was added to the cash register, which started being made out of steel to reduce theft, and so on. POS data increased from total daily sales to include, for example, date, time, cost and content of single transactions. Nowadays, POS systems may be linked to cloud-based “Big Data” repositories.

The use and usefulness of POS data depends a great deal on your vision, business and circumstances. There are some questions that, in turn, you may use to redefine how you think of your POS system and analytics:

  1. How are customers’ transactions currently recorded? What data is available about transactions, what detail?
  2. Is there any other data available that is linked to customers’ transactions?
  3. What are your objectives, how does your data serve them, how to fill the gaps?

“Regardless of your industry, goods or services, you can boost your business using appropriate analytics linked Point of Sale data”

First, you may have manual or digital record keeping options based on the POS system that you have, its age and functions. This influences the time required to extract data and the quality and applicability the insight that you can derive: date and time, service or item and cost, customer reference numbers or only total sale amounts?

Second, data is everywhere. You may be capturing ancillary data about the point of sale that can be used to derive powerful insights. Finally, you must understand how your existing data serves your objectives: after you maximised its use, you can capture more key data or reassess the situation.

Depending on the business you manage, and perhaps adding some informed assumption (if strictly necessary), POS and ancillary data could be used to create a range of marketing and operational insight such as profiling customers, enhance your business offer, streamline operations – including supply chain –  and improve or realign your business model.

Indive Analytics helps you unleash the power of your data, including POS insights.

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Alberto Nicotra
Alberto Nicotra

Alberto Nicotra is the managing director of Indive Analytics, which helps Small and Medium Enterprises improve profit margins by fine-tuning operations and approach to market using data.

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