Defining Point of Sale (POS)
Known as Point of Purchase too, Point of Sale (POS) is the spot where a financial deal occurs. Common businesses where POS systems are operational include retail shops, eateries, hospitals, and more where one performs payments.
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Though many associate POS systems with barcode scanners and cordless payment devices, these systems are in fact a blend of many components, all of which need to work in harmony to function effectively.
This piece discusses distinctive elements of testing a POS and offers helpful advice for testers in the field.
- Features a demo of a diner POS system testing
- What Differentiates POS Software Testing
- EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale) Design
- EPOS Physical Parts
- Functions of POS
- Features a demo of a diner POS system testing
#1) KORONA POS
KORONA POS presents a flexible cloud-based program for retail, ticketing, and quick-service establishments. This software functions as a central pivot for all business tasks, providing a customizable experience for users. KORONA POS employs a flat-rate subscription model, with no hidden charges or long-term agreements, and works with various payment processing systems.
Key characteristics comprise inventory management, in-depth reporting, advanced analytics, order optimization, vendor relationships, automatic reorders, franchise management, employee permissions, CRM and loyalty programs, current payment integrations, flexible hardware options, online ticketing, eCommerce capabilities, accounting, promotions, multi-store management, and reporting.
Cost: Free trial, 60-day refund policy, and no extended agreements.
Proposed reading: Testing an eCommerce Application
What Distinguishes POS Testing
Though it may seem challenging, testing of POS systems is accessible to those with an understanding of the process. It’s intriguing to test POS systems as it emulates the act of executing deals in a real shop scenario. The capability to set up the POS system physically sets it apart from testing online apps. Firms that run POS system tests usually maintain separate test labs.
Obstacles in POS testing:
- Diverse configurations tailored to store needs: For instance, a retail network may want to run a special offer in a specific city, requiring special settings for POS systems in that area.
- Exhaustive device setup: POS systems necessitate testing integration and compatibility of various hardware devices and software versions.
- Compatibility with multiple devices: POS systems need to be functional with a variety of devices and undergo extensive integration testing.
- Payment Card Industry (PCI) adherence: POS test scenarios must take into account PCI compliance due to dealing with consumers’ card details.
Every terminal in a shop is connected to a file server. The server takes care of the core configurations, which are then sent to each terminal in the shop via XML or batch actions.
For large retail stores or chains, all alterations are made centrally. Since POS systems carry out card payments, they are integrated with third-party providers responsible for processing credit card transactions. When a credit card deal is made, the data is sent to the third parties or banks for authorization.
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Image Credit: Harbortouchs
POS Physical Components and Their Testing
#1) Terminal – The terminal is the primary unit used to enter transaction details. Terminals are typically touchscreen devices that receive configurations related to product lists, prices, offers, and ways to pay.
- Terminal testing involves checking network connectivity and ensuring that the device uses the latest operating system to support the POS app.
#2) Display Pole – The display pole presents the price of scanned products using the barcode scanner.
- Ensure that the display pole presents the same price as the POS terminal.
#3) Barcode Scanner – Barcode scanners are used to scan items. After a scan, the system checks if the product is in the inventory and retrieves its price. The inventory is then correspondingly adjusted after a sale.
- Test validations can be performed by scanning a product not enlisted in the inventory.
- Check scanning products listed in the inventory without set prices.
- Check scanning products listed in the inventory with set prices.
#4) Cash Register – Cash registers handle cash transactions. When a cash payment is made, the cash register opens for the cashier to accept the payment and provide change if required.
- Test cash register functions by choosing cash as the payment method and performing transactions, including refunds.
#5) Handheld Device – Handheld devices are cordless devices used to take card payments. They provide users with a convenient method for validating their transactions and entering their card PIN.
- Test by carrying out transactions using the card payment mode.
- Validate manual amount entry.
#6) Printer – Printers are connected to each terminal to produce receipts post transactions.
- Test receipt printing, including alignment, text clarity, font size, and error handling instances (e.g. printer not ready or paper shortage).
- Verify how the system behaves when the printer is offline or disconnects during a transaction.
#7) Magnetic Swipe Reader – Magnetic swipe readers (MSRs) are used to swipe payment cards, including debit, credit, and gift cards. They are commonly used in retail stores and restaurants.
- For gift cards, check balance verification, expiration dates, and payment transactions. Ensure printed receipts for authorization.
POS systems include three primary functions or levels.
Level #1) Application Level/Front Office Operations
1) Sale Transaction – A POS system’s main purpose is to facilitate transactions:
- Validate successful sale deals, encompassing product scanning (through barcode or manual entry), precise calculation and presentation of payable sums, successful payments, and printing of receipts.
- Ensure the correct calculation of tax amounts.
2) Payment – Payments are another crucial testing area due to the variety of accepted payment modes. POS systems take payments through cards, cash, and gift cards, as well as certain discount coupons and promotional offers.
- Cash validation – Test cash transactions, including partial payments carried out with gift cards and cash.
- Card validation – Test card transactions, including card swipes or manual entries, customer authorization, and third-party authorization.
- Gift card validation – Test using gift cards, including checking balances, expiration dates, and partial payment scenarios.
- Discounts/coupons/promotional offers – Test diverse combinations of discount codes and vouchers, ensuring they are correctly applied based on the selection of items and whether store discounts override manufacturer’s coupons.
Level #2) Back End Functions
1) End of Day – End of Day (EOD) is a vital back-end activity involving various reconciliations and updates to back-end systems.
During EOD, summary reports are generated and sent to interested parties for sales analysis. Credit card transaction summaries are sent to banks for reconciliation. Inventory systems are updated to reflect accurate availability levels.
- Validate successful EOD process execution, including checks for store closure and employee clock-outs, which may prevent managers from running EOD.
- Validate generation of reconciliation reports and data accuracy by generating transactions, comparing manual data with generated reports.
2) Employee Scheduling – The scheduling function involves creating work timetables for employees, who must clock into the system according to their schedule.
- Conduct validations for scheduled and unscheduled clock-ins, as well as early and late clock-ins and clock-outs.
3) Inventory Management – Inventory management is key for tracking products all through the inventory cycle and ensuring timely restocking.
- Check purchase quantities, alerts for low availability levels, order placement, and correct item lists and pricing in the POS system.
- Ensure proper linkage of items and prices at the master level.
Level #3) Corporate Functions
Corporate Functions involve tasks performed on laptops/desktops with POS apps or installed software. These tasks are integrated with POS systems to some extent.
1) HR and Payroll – HR and payroll systems manage employee hiring, salary/wage management, labor laws, tax details, employee availability, and leave management.
- Validate HR activities, including employee hiring and importing employee data into the POS system.
- Validate accurate salary/wage calculations based on labor laws.
- Validate the input of employee leave details.
2) Finance and Accounting – Finance and accounting systems generate reports, such as profit and loss statements, budget analysis, daily sales records, and more. These reports shape the decision-making process and help identify areas for improvement.
- Validate the generation of accurate reports.
- Verify the accuracy of analysis logic, income statements, and balance sheets.
3) Vendor Management – Vendor management systems evaluate and track vendors’ performance in terms of pricing, quality, and delivery. Proper vendor management is key to maintaining supply chain efficiency.
- Validate the input and maintenance of vendor details in the system.
- Validate vendor pricing, performance, and on-time delivery.
4) Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence (BI) – Data warehouses store transaction data for trend analysis, identification of buying patterns, and more. BI tools retrieve and analyze data from various systems, providing insights for decision-making and performance tracking.
- Check the historical data in the data warehouse.
- Ensure users can generate and customize reports using BI tools.
This piece provides a thorough overview of POS system testing. For more insights on POS testing in the eatery sector, please visit the dedicated piece on eatery POS systems testing.
Demo of testing a diner POS system:
Visit the article on testing eater POS systems here for a real-world demo and extra insights into POS testing.