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Point of Sale Glossary (POS Glossary)

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Common Retail Terms:
  1. Backorder - Refers to an open customer order that has not been filled because the required stock is currently unavailable. It is important to keep backordered items in mind when placing new purchase orders.
  2. Big Box Store - A large store whose actual layout resembles a massive box or square when viewed from above. This type of store typically features thousands of square feet worth of floor space. Other names for this kind of store include megacenter, superstore and supercenter.
  3. Black Friday - The busiest shopping day of the year. It traditionally falls on the Friday that immediately follows the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. It is considered to be the first official day of the Christmas shopping season. Exceptional sales and deals are traditionally offered by retailers on this day.
  4. Boutique - A small, stylish shop. Most boutiques sell clothing and fashion accessories. They are often located in trendy parts of town and tend to be situated near other boutiques.
  5. Cash and Carry - Refers to a store in which customers pay in full for the items that they purchase. In other words, financing is not provided. The customer is then able to take the purchased item home right away.
  6. Cash Wrap - The area in a retail store where a customer goes to wrap up his business. This is where the cash register is typically located. Gift wrap and similar items are often located here too.
  7. Dead Stock - Inventory that has not been sold for a long period of time. Some items are seasonable, however, and different rules apply to them. Different lengths of time are applied to determine whether or not various items have become dead stock.
  8. Discount - A reduction in the normal cost of an item. In retail stores, customers who have special loyalty cards are often given discounts on certain items. Discounts may also be given for bulk quantities and in other special situations.
  9. Kiosk - An open-fronted, compact cubicle or hut that peddles items such as tickets, newspapers, magazines, jewelry and other products. Specialty kiosks are often found inside indoor malls and are often clustered together in broad concourses.
  10. Look Book - A portfolio-style book that presents an entire product line. A customer can flip through a look book to get a firm idea about the various products that are available by any given brand or company. This type of book may be used to place special orders.
  11. Loss Leader - An item that is deliberately sold at a loss in order to lure in customers. The idea behind a loss leader is to snare passersby with an exceptionally low price. Although the store technically takes a loss, the potential for new business makes up for it.
  12. Pop-Up Shop - A short-term sales space that is used to generate interest in a new product or service. It may also be used to peddle seasonal items. Unique designs and interactive displays are often included in their designs.
  13. Margin - The number at which a store makes or loses money after paying its expenses and making its sales. It typically refers to the amount by which sales revenues have exceeded costs.
  14. Markdown - A reduction in the sales price of an item. This is usually done in order to move dead stock. It may also be done to make way for new versions of the same product or to make room for seasonal merchandise.
  15. Markup - The amount that is added to the sale price of an inventory item in order to cover overhead and to provide profit. Stores must strike fine balances when calculating markups.
  16. Retail - The sale of products for use or consumption by the general public. Retail items are not designed to be resold by middlemen or distributors. They are designed for end users who will actually make use of them.
  17. Retailer - A business that sells products at retail. The products that are sold by a retailer are marketed directly to end users. Middlemen and distributors do not purchase items from retailers because they do not receive special discounts.
  18. Merchandising - Promoting the sale of products. This can be done in many different ways. Pricing plays a huge role in merchandising. Displays are also critical parts of merchandising.
  19. Wholesaler - A middleman or distributor who primarily sells to institutions and retailers. Retailers then go on to sell those goods to end users or consumers. The items are sold at wholesale prices, which means that they have deep discounts due to the fact that they are going to be sold one more time.
  20. Common Point-of-Sale Terms

  21. Account - An account that is established to allow for regular business dealings or services. It is used to keep track of sales transactions in a point-of-sale system.
  22. Average Cost - Refers to the average amount that has been paid for the items that are currently on hand. Prices for inventory items vary, and average cost gives a retailer an idea about how much he typically spends for any given item.
  23. Average Quantity - Refers to the typical quantity that is on hand for any given item. This makes it easier to place strategic reorder points. When an item dips below the average quantity point, it usually needs to be reordered.
  24. Barcode - A special code that consists of printed, randomly patterned spaces and bars. Numerals are sometimes included as well. The code can be scanned and fed into a computer program in order to transmit important information about an item. It is typically used to scan the price of an item in a retail setting.
  25. Batch Processing - The processing of large amounts of data in large batches. Unlike many other types of processing, batch processing is not done in real time. It is best reserved for data that does not need to be analyzed or accessed on a rapid basis.
  26. CVV Code - The card verification value or CVV code is a method that is used to provide enhanced protection against credit card fraud. It is sometimes called the card security code, card verification data, card verification value code, card code verification or verification code. On MasterCards and Visas, it is found in the back of the card following the regular card number.
  27. Charge Back - The return of funds to a customer through a process that is forcibly begun by the customer's issuing bank. It involves the reversal of a previously authorized charge through a credit card, bank account or line of credit.
  28. Closing the Drawer - The functions that have to be conducted before performing the posting at the end of the business day. It involves recording the total number of payments that have been received and other transactions that affect the balance of the drawer.
  29. Cost of Goods Sold - Various formulas are used to calculate the cost of goods sold, or COGS, or a retail business. First-in first-out or FIFO is one popular example.
  30. Counting the Drawer - This process is akin to closing the drawer, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. It involves reconciling the day's receipts with what is found in the drawer.
  31. EBT Card - An Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT card is a card that is used to allow state government benefits to be processed through POS systems.
  32. EDC - Electronic Draft Capture or EDC is included in many POS systems. It is used to automatically balance, settle and authorize credit card transactions. As a result, it saves a retail business a lot of time and effort.
  33. EDI - Electronic Data Interchange or EDI is the process of electronically exchanging purchasing data between your POS system and a vendor's system. Data is synced in a way that allows for easy purchase order creation and other key transactions.
  34. End-to-End Encryption - A POS software security feature that protects a consumer's sensitive credit card information both at the point of sale and at the processing end. Data is encrypted at the POS system so that it can travel safely through public networks and other vulnerable areas to the point where it can be processed.
  35. Exception Reporting - A type of reporting that only displays information that fails to meet established criteria. As long as information falls within a retailer's criteria limits, it will not appear on the report. This makes it easier to spot problem areas and concerns.
  36. Inventory - Products that are actually on the shelves and available for purchase by customers. It also refers to the value of the products that are currently on hand.
  37. Inventory Adjustments - Adjustments that are made to the quantities of on-hand items. They typically happen following an inventory count. They may also be performed due to damaged items, stolen items and similar situations.
  38. Inventory Count - The counting of the physical inventory that is on the shelves of a retail store. It is done to ensure that the inventory count in the computer is accurate. Inaccurate inventory counts can cause many serious problems for a retail business.
  39. Issuer - Otherwise known as an issuing bank, an issuer is the financial institution that issues cards to and holds contractual agreements with consumers.
  40. Loyalty Program - A program that is designed to reward customers who give repeat business to a retail store. Special cards are often used to enjoy discounts and other perks through such programs. In some cases, loyalty programs can be tracked and monitored through online accounts.
  41. Loss Prevention - Reducing inventory losses due to employee theft, shoplifting, breakage, paperwork errors and other issues through various methods. Store security personnel are just one example of the types of methods that are used in loss prevention situations.
  42. Multiple Pricing - Offering two or more items at a discount that reflects a cheaper price than buying just one item. For example, an item might cost $2.99 each but be sold at two for $5. Buy one get one free or BOGO offers are also examples of multiple pricing schemes.
  43. Opening the Drawer - The process that is typically undertaken at the beginning of the business day. It involves recording the initial amount of cash that is in a drawer before any business is conducted.
  44. On Hand - Inventory items that are physically present in a store. In other words, items that can be sold to customers the same day.
  45. On Order - Inventory items that have been ordered but have not arrived yet. When looking up an item in a store's inventory system, it may come up with this designation. In that case, the employee can tell the customer a relatively specific date on which he can expect to have the item.
  46. PCI - A credit-card processing term that stands for Payment Card Industry. It refers to a strict set of guidelines that is designed to shield credit card information from misuse and fraud.
  47. Peripheral - Devices that are used with POS workstations. They include a wide range of things including PIN pads, check readers, modems, barcode scanners, cash drawers, printers, card readers, weight scales and customer displays. They work with POS stations to simplify and streamline the process of conducting sales transactions.
  48. Perpetual Inventory - A method that is used to constantly monitor and track a store's inventory in terms of quantity on hand and total value. It is continually adjusted to reflect receipts, returns and sales. As a result, real-time reports can be generated at any moment.
  49. Planogram - Specialized drawings that reflect the various fixtures of a store. A planogram can be used to make decisions about product placement and displays. It is designed to accurately convey the layout and dimensions of a store.
  50. Purchase Order - A purchase order or PO is an official record of the order that has been placed with a vendor. It can be referenced to ensure that specific items have been ordered. It includes a wide range of information such as discount terms, items purchased, shipping information and costs.
  51. Return - A return is conducted any time a customer returns an item to the store in exchange for a refund. In some cases, store credit is given in lieu of a cash refund. Different stores have different policies regarding returns. Those policies should be prominently displayed for the benefit of customers.
  52. Statement - A reminder about the money that a customer owes to a business. They are typically sent out on a monthly basis. They include information like invoice totals, payments received, debit memos, credit memos and the current balance of an account. They serve as reminders to customers to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  53. X/Z Report - Reports that provide real-time information about POS activities for the current sales period. These reports can be used when closing out the drawer and ending business for the day. They ensure that everything adds up and enhance the ability of a store to maintain accuracy.




Published - December 2011






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