Offline shop, online shop + point of sale

I’ve been thinking lately about EPOS system for stocktaking for this scenario;

– offline retail shop in the high street
– online shop

The need is there to ensure that we don’t oversell in the online shop. To this end, what is needed is some type of EPOS (point of sale) system that simply allows to scan the barcode of the product which reduces the stock by 1 in the online shop.

There are LOADS of suppliers of EPOS systems, but getting to speak with someone technical is really difficult – it’s all about the BS salesmen, then once you’ve bought they allow you to get more technical. No thanks.

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So, I had the thought to make a “home made” EPOS system (solely for stocktaking), and here is my initial thoughts;

1. Have a notebook or similar computer hooked up in the shop (perhaps under the desk of the checkout).
This computer would be online all the time in shop hours, and have open a page.

2. Plug a USB hand held scanner into the computer
These are very cheap to buy, and should be able to work by inserting the barcode into a input box
Barcode scanners can be programmed to “enter” after the scan.

3. The page that is open would be the “reduce stock” page
This page is a simple form where the input box is populated by the barcode scanner, which also “enter”‘s to action the form

4. Logic then takes over and reduced the available quantity in the online shop by 1.
If the available quantity hits zero, the product is placed “out of stock”.

In thoery, what can go wrong? Would be pleased to hear any comments.

Also, it would be easily possible to add stock by making a “add stock” page. Same system as the reduce stock page pretty much but instead of reducing stock by 1, it increases stock by 1.

Of course this all depends on the product already being in the database, with the correct bar code number – which would have to be a manual task. I suggest using the products_model for this, or better, perhaps use a new input field entirely.

4 Replies to “Offline shop, online shop + point of sale”

  1. I can see it work, but once you get busy at the counter and the customer is in a hurry, double entry is a pain.
    You will definitely forget/skip if in a hurry.
    It does not fit well with my mantra ‘work smarter, not harder’.

    osFinancials itself runs with an osCommerce webshop, they even offer a cloud solution nowadays, it is definitely a party that can talk tech with you, as they are only a team of 2, pieter Valentijn doing development and Domé giving the business and user support.

    using products_model as barcode is tricky, as it would then be a rather long alphanumeric code, which would be hard to find a barcode coding scheme for that is not too wide when printed on labels.
    Most businesses use the upc barcode on the product, we decided to use the products_id generated by osCommerce as the numeric barcode as we had a fair amount of products without upc code.

  2. Thanks Carine

    Having an extra scanner is a little annoying, but for a basic (and cheap!) system it could work. I’ve gotten myself worked up about it and gone and bought a handheld scanner to test the concept LOL

    Also, I’ve just realised that I have not emailed you back on that other matter – apologies – will do later on tonight.

  3. Thanks Carine

    Having an extra scanner is a little annoying, but for a basic (and cheap!) system it could work. I’ve gotten myself worked up about it and gone and bought a handheld scanner to test the concept LOL

    Also, I’ve just realised that I have not emailed you back on that other matter – apologies – will do later on tonight.

  4. Update:

    1. I added a new input box (and associated database entry) in admin/categories.php to hold the Barcode.

    2. The USB powered handheld scanner arrived today, plugged it in and it works out of the box.

    3. I then created a little script into which I scan the barcode (of the tangible product sold), and this script reduces the available quantity of the associated product by one (on each scan).

    Of course, the system is very very basic but as a cheap and ready to use epos for stocktaking it could be very workable.

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