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Point of Sale (POS) Application

#11
[eluser]salbertson[/eluser]
[quote author="thurting" date="1222157418"]This is a serious undertaking. If you really plan on offering a web based POS application, you will need feature packed software, advanced technical support, and numerous servers running across multiple data centers. Things like hardware integration are not features that you should 'eventually' be looking at, but are absolutely necessary to make your application at all practical. Based on some of the comments you have made I don't know if you have really thought things through. I'm not saying don't do it, and I do wish you luck, but something like this really requires a large team and a fair amount of start up capital. I don't know your situation, but it may not be the most prudent business decision, especially considering an already crowded market. Unless you have come up with a new technology or feature that will greatly increase efficiency at the register, I just don't think it is worth the time.[/quote]

I don't think successful web-based apps have to be "feature packed". All the POS software out there is over packed with features that people don't necessarily need and just get in the way. Look at 37signals and their methodology. They have been successful in building apps that are very specific and do one thing and do it well. That is my goal with FireSale.

Hardware integration will come but is not necessary for the app to be useful. Using a combination of auto-suggest and clever UI I think a person could be just as productive using a keyboard as they would using a sku gun. With that being said integration with sku guns and labels printers will be the first priority when it comes to hardware integration. The market is crowded with overpriced standalone applications that aren't for the average small business owner.

I really appreciate the feedback.

#12
[eluser]Ryuuzaki92[/eluser]
There's already one created with PHP (http://phppointofsale.com/)

Maybe you can get some ideas from there.

#13
[eluser]salbertson[/eluser]
This has been around for a while. I am going to take a look at what they use for barcoding. On the other hand the UI is really bad. They haven't used any javascript to make life a lot easier for the user, table sorting, auto-suggest etc. Some other features they have that might be useful are brands, categories, and suppliers associated with products.

#14
[eluser]Colin Williams[/eluser]
1. Put together a business model and strategy
2. Approach a VC or apply for a loan (good luck these days!)
3. Put together a staff of highly-trained developers and designers, or contract with existing firms
4. Put together another team to work on marketing the solution

.. if you're serious about it.

#15
[eluser]thurting[/eluser]
[quote author="salbertson" date="1225492435"]Using a combination of auto-suggest and clever UI I think a person could be just as productive using a keyboard as they would using a sku gun.[/quote]

Sorry, but you are wrong on this. No shop owner is going to want to have to train their staff to manually enter SKUs into the computer. It's just not practical. You need to integrate hardware.

#16
[eluser]John_Betong[/eluser]
 
This POS thread brings back memories.

About twenty years ago I wrote a DOS Clipper POS program which was used by a chain of shoe shops in the north of England, UK.

Each shop had a small Tandy computer running the POS program. The program interfaced with a bar-code reader and small thermal receipt printer.

Credit cards were swiped and cofirmed by the sales lady ringing the credit card head office

After the customer's transaction was complete, a receipt was printed, till opened and it rang a bell!

At the end of the day, sales were zipped and uploaded via a slow telephone modem to head-office.

Head office automatically unzipped each shops sales and the main database was updated to the accounts package.

Spinoffs were written to analyse and topup depleted stock and ensure all shoe colours were available.

Best of luck with your project and hope you find numerous customers.
 
 

#17
[eluser]Adam Griffiths[/eluser]
This just won't be easily possible with PHP. What happens when somebody has a different system to the ones you may have tested the app with? They'll try to use it and nothing will work.

I have no idea how you're going to interface with the hardware from PHP via the users browser.

Good luck, cause you're gonna need it.

#18
[eluser]Rick Jolly[/eluser]
[quote author="salbertson" date="1225492435"]
Hardware integration will come but is not necessary for the app to be useful. Using a combination of auto-suggest and clever UI I think a person could be just as productive using a keyboard as they would using a sku gun. With that being said integration with sku guns and labels printers will be the first priority when it comes to hardware integration. The market is crowded with overpriced standalone applications that aren't for the average small business owner.[/quote]
What integration? A text field with the focus set by javascript is all you need to read barcodes. The scanner will input the sku number in the text field. As for barcode label printing, don't bother. It's way more economical to buy a sequence of barcodes for products that don't already have them.

#19
[eluser]salbertson[/eluser]
Quote:What integration? A text field with the focus set by javascript is all you need to read barcodes. The scanner will input the sku number in the text field.

This is the way the app works right now, and it does work. I don't know why people are so skeptic about using PHP to interface with hardware.

Quote:As for barcode label printing, don’t bother. It’s way more economical to buy a sequence of barcodes for products that don’t already have them.

Instead of sequential barcodes I am writing code to generate barcodes based on the sku number. This way the labels can be changed and reprinted as much as the user wants. The trick will be to format the label correctly to print on modern thermal printers. After I have barcodes generated then scanning at the register will be possible.

#20
[eluser]Tom Glover[/eluser]
Hardware can be integrated quite easily, the only one I think can't be is a second display or second text display. Other than that is should be simple enough, Cash Registers open when printing, with certain printers, also barcode scanners to a pc is like a second keyboard, so that already implemented.


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