6.13 Computers in the Retail Industry

Epos Systems

Electronic Point of Sale Systems

Electronic point of sale systems are computer systems that electronically track the sales of goods in a retail environment. The bar-codes on goods are scanned at the checkout and each item is added automatically to the total bill. The computer then displays the total cost and the customer either pays with cash ( in which case the change required is automatically calculated) or by credit/debit card ( in which case an Electronic Funds Transfer is conducted).

After the transaction has finish the companies stock database is automatically updated. The database is later searched automatically and more stock is ordered automatically…


The EPOS system allows a business to identify which products are selling well and which products are making profit. Through this identification, a business can increase the order of profitable products and reduce unmarketable inventory.

  • Lower labour costs than cash
  • Low risk of theft
  • Fast transaction speed
  • Proof of payment
  • Convenience


  • Service fees
  • Transaction costs
  • Lack of privacy
  • Reliance on electrical and mobile phone infrastructure
  • Technical problems


Internet Shopping

Internet Shopping


  • Easier to shop around using comparison sites
  • Open 24/7
  • You can shop while at work / on the train
  • Easier to find obscure items
  • Often cheaper on online shops have less overheads


  • Risk of online fraud
  • Some things can get lost in the post
  • No face to face assistance is available
  • Many city centres have virtually shutdown due to people shopping online instead
  • Can’t try on clothes



Exam Checklist

I can…

  • describe the use of point of sale (POS) terminals, how the stock file is updated automatically, and how new stock can be ordered automatically
  • describe the use of electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) terminals (e.g. the checking of the validity of cards, the use of chip and PIN, the communication between the supermarket computer and the bank computer)
  • describe internet shopping
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of internet shopping