Expert Speaks ( Cloud computing is taking the lead in sophisticating POS counters in India. )

Cloud computing is taking the lead in sophisticating POS counters in India.

Samba Moorthy

Vice President (Sales and Marketing) / Epson India
The evolution of Point of Sale (POS) in India is closely linked to the growth of the retail sector, a major contributor to GDP, during the last two decades. Technology has played a key role in bringing sophistication, ease of use, efficiency and automation into the various business activities related to the retail sector.

The evolution of POS in India can be attributed to a few major need-based factors. In the early 80s, the economy was sluggish, the purchasing power of people was much less and so were the number of retail stores and consumer items they traded. The industrial liberalization which started in the early 90s, opened the flood gates of economic activity and opportunities, and ever since there has been a steady increase in purchasing power among consumers. Store owners needed to stock more new and existing items to cater to the renewed customer needs. This had posed new challenges for them at Point of Sale as they had more customers to handle, more stocks to maintain and of course, more staff to manage.

The need for a more sophisticated and advanced system was felt which could, apart from fast billing, also take care of other in-store back-end activities such as book keeping, sales tracking, customer loyalty program, staff management, multi-store management and many more such business activities at ease.

The predominant Mom and Pop/Kirana stores, which still form a major portion of retail outlets in India, had closed-end accounting system, which had its own disadvantages. The traditional manual cash registers used in those days only gave information to the customers about the items purchased and the bill value. These two factors too forced the retailers to think for alternative and advanced POS system.

Early POS

During the mid 80s to early 90s, the retail industry was introduced to DOS-based POS systems which simplified and reduced the billing time considerably compared to manual billing processes. These systems had a computing software and processor integrated with a receipt (most often a dot-matrix) printer. But still, with rapid growth in customer base and their ever-growing needs, the computer-based manual entry POS system soon became obsolete and inadequate to keep customers satisfied.

The advent of barcode technology has completely changed the retail sector for good and augmented its growth faster than expected. Also, with Windows OS in hand, which is far advanced compared to DOS, new and advanced POS products were being introduced in the market much to the advantage of retailers , who were looking for a system to keep pace with demand and industry growth. Windows seamlessly integrated with all the necessary hardware/peripherals such as scanner and printer with the help of respective ‘drivers’ unlike DOS, where one has to write software for each and every new application introduced. It’s as easy as plug-and-play and as a result PC-based system have taken the forefront in the Indian POS market.

Cloud POS

Cloud POS is the latest innovation among retailers, as more and more of them are leaning towards cloud computing technology for their POS counters. Cloud POS has a lot of advantages and great potential compared to other POS technologies available in the market. The former needs less hardware, less incidental expense, no threat of losing data or shutdown, ease of software updates, secured data handling, etc. With just a tablet in hand and a secured internet connection, business transactions can be carried out anywhere – both inside as well as outside the business area.

Since the applications are on the cloud, it is quite simple to connect additional counters or new stores. It hardly takes a few minutes to integrate new business areas with the existing system. Also, implementation and testing time of new retail outlets are far less compared to normal system.

EPSON supports Digital India Vision

Epson is completely in sync with Digital India Vision, as we believe that it will help connect remote corners of the country. Digitalization of POS sector, in particular, will go a long way in making the retail sector one of the fastest growing among all sectors. With Cloud computing taking the lead, digitalization of POS counters among the huge chunk of retailers will make the Indian retail sector far advanced and one of the most sophisticated in the entire region.

EPSON in India

For Epson, customer satisfaction matters a lot and this has reflected in our steady growth of our customer base in India. We were the pioneer in launching POS printers in India in 1996 and today we can say proudly that we have the largest market share of over 50 per cent. This literally means, every second POS printer in the market is sold by Epson. We shall continue to serve our customer's needs with new, reliable, sustainable and advanced printing technology.

- K. Ramanathan   ram@justransact.com

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