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Point of sale

POS or PoS is an acronym for point-of-sale (or point of purchase). This can mean a retail shop, a checkout counter in a shop, or a variable location where a transaction occurs.

Supermarket Checkstand

Traditional stores

A check-out counter, checkstand, or checkout is the aisle where people place items they have chosen to purchase from a store, such as a supermarket or department store. This is typically a long counter, which usually contains a moving belt or sometimes a rotating carousel, and a photocell to stop it when items reach the end. The cashier rings up each item on the cash register and obtains the total. The items are placed in bags and the customer can take them after paying.

Marketers design special advertisements, called point-of-sale displays that are typically found at or near a checkout counter. These displays are frequently designed to stimulate impulse purchases, (especially of items that children will beg parents for).

Point-of-sale technology

The term is often used in connection with hardware and software for checkouts, and in the case of variable locations, with wireless systems.

POS systems started as UPC/EAN barcode reader systems, and have evolved into fully computerized cash register systems.

Initiatives to standardize development of computerized POS systems have been made to alleviate interconnecting POS devices. Two such initiatives are OPOS and JavaPOS, both conforming to the UnifiedPOS standard. A standard led by The National Retail Foundation. OPOS was the first commonly adopted standard and was initiated by Microsoft, NCR Corporation, Epson and Fujitsu-ICL. OPOS is a COM based interface compatible with all COM enabled programming languages for Microsoft Windows. OPOS was first released in 1996. JavaPOS was initiated by Sun Microsystems, IBM, and NCR Corporation in 1997 and first released in 1999. JavaPOS is for Java what OPOS is for Microsoft Windows and thus largely platform independent.

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