Software

Streamline retail operations with these free point of sale apps

Point of sale software has made life a lot easier for retailers. The apps listed here offer cash register functions, product and employee management tools, and reporting features -- all for free.

Running a retail business is no walk in the park; many aspects of the business demand your attention. However, selecting and maintaining a point of sale system shouldn't be one of them. A simple point of sale system should include some of the basic features, like inventory and register, and run without much intervention. When a point of sale system is free or low-cost, it becomes even more attractive.

In this edition of Five Apps, we take a look at five free point of sale apps for the web and desktops.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: Copper

Copper (Figure A) from NCH Software is a simple point of sale system that provides the basic register function as well as a managed item database. Managers can review reports of retail transactions, items sales, salesperson performance, and more. Copper also supports coupons and discounts. Copper's standout feature is that it does only the basics and doesn't have unnecessary features that get in the way. Copper is available for Windows and Mac.

Figure A

Figure A
Wally

2: ERPLY

ERPLY (Figure B) is the only app on this list that has both a web and a Windows version. The web version offers an attractive interface with large buttons convenient for touchscreen application. The Windows version, on the other hand, is quite plain in appearance. But both contain the same feature set. In addition to the register functionality, ERPLY can manage employee attendance/tardiness with the Clock In/Out and Breaks features and has a decent inventory function that keeps track of product counts.

Figure B

Figure B

3: Imonggo

Imonggo (Figure C) takes the point of sale concept and breaks it down into three key tasks: Stockroom, Store, and Office. Stockroom focuses on inventory management, Store focuses on the register function, and Office focuses on managing the app, employees, and reports. Imonggo is a web-based app and is free for up to 1,000 inventory items and up to 1,000 transaction line items per month.

Figure C

Figure C

4: uniCenta oPOS

uniCenta oPOS (Figure D) is a touch-friendly desktop app that manages stock and inventory as well as the front-end register. The touch-friendliness is more prominent in the register function, with larger buttons and friendly icons, and that's oPOS's best feature. However, the source code is available for free, which is a definite bonus. uniCenta oPOS is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It uses an Apache Derby database by default but also supports MySQL, Oracle, and others.

Figure D

Figure D

5: Vend

Vend (Figure E) is a web-based product that is touch friendly, offering a fairly attractive interface as well. The register function is driven by product buttons, which can be colorized to make items more distinctive. And Vend doesn't just manage products and customers — it's the only product on this list with a management dashboard. The dashboard is by far its best feature, containing history graphs of total sales and best-selling products, as well as a massive list of reports.

Figure E

Figure E

Your picks?

There are many other point of sale systems out there — some of them free, some for purchase. What POS systems have you used? Share your thoughts below.

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