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What do you need for a Jewelry store POS system?


#1

Hello,

I found this forum on the internet. I am writing on behalf of my Mom.
My father died suddenly as they were setting up a small neighborhood
jewelry store. I live in another state but took some vacation days to
help my Mom launch the store. She has experience making jewelry but
no business experience and needs help purchasing a cash register.
Most everything is ready except for the POS system. I have no buying
experience, nada, zilch. But, my Mom is very smart and a quick
learner.

Please tell me what I need to know to find a modern POS system for
their inventory, security, repair and sales transactions?

Are jewelry store POS systems different from a regular retail store
POS system? We can only spend about $8000 on the system including 1
register.

My Mom may have to hire someone to run the store for a few hours
while she runs errands, so security is important too. We don’t want a
temporary staff member accessing our confidential Sales Reports. (I
worked in a retail store as a teenager and remember there are ways to
limit employee access.)

Our inventory is 50% purchased items and 50% handmade,
one-of-a-kind, or custom ordered jewelry.

Do we have to supply bar codes or can we use our own inventory
numbers?

How do we transfer them to the POS system? Do we have to re-enter
each item, one-at-a-time?

What about Gift Cards? We want to provide them but would rather not
pay a credit card company for that service. Can we do this on our
own?

What about jewelry repairs? Can we add work orders in the system?

I apologize for my ignorance on this subject and appreciate advice
from anyone running a very small store, on a budget. I want to help
my Mom as much as I can without bothering her too much with the
details. She is grieving and I am hoping the store will help her
through it. I can help her more by researching the POS needs now, and
then walking her though it later when she is not overwhelmed with
other stuff.

I don’t want to contact any POS sales people about this until I have
a better understanding of what we need and what we don’t need. They
can be pretty pushy.

Thanks much for sharing your experience & wisdom.
Loving daughter - Vintage Jewelry


#2

I have had a store for more than 20 years and still do not have a POS
system, there is another meaning for POS and that is what I think of
most of the software packages. I have nice custom printed receipts
that I hand write and no cash register, I use a cash drawer. At the
end of the day the sales are entered into QuickBooks within the
categories where they should be. This gives us our sales reports as
needed. One day I will have a POS system but at this time I would
not spend the $8000.00. I personally think a computer between you and
your customer puts out a cold impression. I worked in a store for a
short time with a POS and found it took 3 times as long to finish a
sale vs. hand written. Just remember that the business world made it
for many many years without POS systems. Your mom should keep it
simple and not be burdened with learning and implementing a system
she does not understand.

My two cents
Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#3

Good Morning Vin

POS systems are boring compared to mandrels, burs ad other jewelry
tools.

But a good POS will help you KEEP money.

There is a difference between MAKING money and HAVING money.

Basics:

It will keep track of customer history and also history of the
individual item. How many sold, profits, etc. It can be password
protected so staff can’t see reports.

There are only two I’d suggest you look at, and their prices are
listed:

The Edge www.ajsllc.com $3900 3 stations
Jewelry Shopkeeper.com $2850 1 station, 4 more stations $500

They both export their data to QuickBooks for accounting.

They both have some of the most important reports in our industry
"Gross Margin return on Investment"

This report tells you by PRICE POINT the best selling price points
for each category and vendor, how many units TOO MANY you might have
in each price point.

The number one killer of a jewelry store is having too much
inventory that’s over a year old. These two programs will show you
the value (or not so much value) of this.

Both track repairs and custom. If you do a LOT of repair/shop sales
then Jewelry Shopkeeper is the pick.

Contact me if you have other questions. Most people don’t have
experience with ALL of the jewelry POS systems, I do.

QuickBooks has a wonderful accounting program, QuickBooks Pro 2009
is all you need but STAY AWAY from the QuickBooks Point of Sale
program.

David Geller

David S. Geller
JewelerProfit
(404) 255-9565


#4

It might be useful to play around for a while with one of the free
POS systems available on the 'net such as http://tinyurl.com/l7y4ms
or plenty at http://tinyurl.com/m66vg2.

That way you can get a good idea of what you really want such a
system to do before approaching a commercial operation for a custom
system… Of course, you might just find that one of the free systems
will do what you want anyway…

Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#5

Vin,

So sorry for your loss. One of the responses that you received on
Orchid was from David Geller. He has an outstanding reputation in the
area of enhancing profitability of jewelers. It would probably make
sense to look at his web site for other ideas

http://www.jewelerprofit.com/Microscope_TakeIn_Camera.html

Also search Orchid using his name for some of his other ideas. FYI, I
have no connection to him, just an observer over the years.

Good luck,
Jamie


#6

David’s right, The Edge is very good. However, I would suggest that
those looking for a good POS might also want to take a look at
"Diamond Counter" from InCom (incom.com). The people there seem
always to be instantly available for support and questions, and very
friendly as well. Also, their web site is VERY explanatory…

Wayne Emery
The Gemcutter
www.thelittlecameras.com


#7
The Edge www.ajsllc.com $3900 3 stations Jewelry Shopkeeper.com
$2850 1 station, 4 more stations $500 

Another thread I left for others, because my own knowlege is pretty
generic… I’d say you should read Bill Wismar’s posting of today,
first…

I know a store that uses The Edge, and it’s seriously cool. I know
another store that bought it and after 5 years still hasn’t
implemented it because it’s so much work to set up.

Be aware that there are many POS systems, but almost all of them
don’t understand jewelry. The don’t have a way to price.38 ct of
stones @ $450/ct, they don’t know what a ring sizing is, and often
don’t do service AND product - job costing. “Sell a new setting with
bench work also”. Lawyer systems do services, retail systems tend to
do " buy low, sell high" only.

Some don’t do estimates and subsequent jobs… Just to be aware -
not all POS systems are created equal…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. My condolences.

If your Mom is ready to go except for a POS, she’s ready to go. It
is my experience that you don’t need a POS system at all, at least
starting out. They can be very handy to have but in my humble
opinion, the $8000 could be put to far more productive use purchasing
tools, metals, lighting, bookkeeping consulting or even
marketing. I guess my point of view is that especially as a start-up
business, any available money is better spent on things that will
generate income as opposed to things designed to streamline
operations that aren’t even in operation yet.

Jewelry POS systems are different from non-specific POS systems.
QuickBooks POS is a total waste of time and money according to those
I have talked to that have used it. The two majors in the jewelry
industry point of sale software business are Shopkeeper and The Edge.
My friends in the trade seem to like The Edge. It seems to be more
user friendly and more powerful. Both have somewhat interactive
websites where you can get a feel for the software and price the
hardware without the sales pitch.

The main advantage to having a jewelry specific POS system is the
ease in setting up and retrieving the reports it can generate. You
don’t know if you are making money or losing it without good reports.
QuickBooks can generate all of the necessary reports, but the old saw
applies - garbage in, garbage out. Set it up right, and it’ll work
fine at generating what she needs. David Geller can help with that.
In fact, if I had $8000 for POS stuff, I’d hire Mr. Geller to set up
my QuickBooks before buying anything. No affiliation, the guy just
knows his stuff.

We have a cash box we keep in the safe. We keep enough cash in it to
make change. We do all of our bookkeeping with QuickBooks, balance it
daily and protect it with a password. We threw out the cash register
that we got with the store when we moved in, and have never missed
it. Very few people pay with cash anymore, so the need for a cash
register has pretty much gone the way of the buggy whip. Sales
transactions are done with a credit card machine and QuickBooks
invoices.

As far as security with temporary help, she has a lot more important
things to worry about getting stolen than sales reports and customer
lists - things like jewelry, stones, tools, etc. If she just doesn’t
want people looking at her records, you might suggest she use a
password for access to her bookkeeping software. Most security issues
will be essentially the same with or without a POS program.

Don’t know about the specifics of transferring inventory to a POS
system, but I’m pretty sure you have to do it item by item, or pay
someone to do it for you. The Edge and Shopkeeper both offer this and
other setup tasks as a service for hire. We keep up with our
inventory using handwritten price tags and spreadsheets on Excel,
broken down by vendor. We also have to enter it into QuickBooks to
get accurate GMROI and COGS based reports. A good POS system does it
all simultaneously, but it’s a lot of cash to lay out to save a few
minutes a week.

We handwrite gift cards, which seems to be a more personal way of
doing it anyway. I would continue to handwrite gift cards and thank
you notes even if I had a sophisticated POS system.

Repairs and special orders can be easily handled without a POS
system, especially if she is going to use QuickBooks. We use numbered
repair envelopes and use the number from the envelope as an invoice
number. We do the same with sales. Works for both wholesale and
retail.

It sounds to me like your Mom needs to be making jewelry and
interacting with people rather than struggling with setting up and
learning to use a complex POS system. If she is one who can immerse
and lose herself in hard work, being creative and helpful to others,
running a jewelry store should be just the ticket for getting her one
step closer to stability and contentment in her “new normal”. I can’t
think of a better therapy. But those are the things I was put on this
Earth to do, so I’m a little bit biased.

I think my recommendation would be to wait on buying a POS system
until she knows what she needs in one. I would also recommend
contacting David Geller (or an accountant specializing in retail
jewelry) and have him help set up her bookkeeping so she can access
and understand the reports she will need to become profitable.
Purchasing a system at the outset might mean she will buy things she
doesn’t need, and not get things she does need. It also, at least
temporarily, complicates a non-income producing business task, and
she most likely will have many more of those than she expects (or
wants) already. As Bill points out, the old manual systems have
worked for thousands of years for some pretty successful businesses.
There is no reason to think they won’t work for your Mom.

The very best of luck to your Mom. My heart is with her.

Dave


#9

i bought one on Ebay called “retail ICE.” as i remember it was some
rediculous low price of $5 i got the the disc in the mail and it
actually worked not only that but the had phone tech support for the
software. if you want to get fancy and add the hardware then yo have
to spend some money to buy the scanners and other stuff for bar
codes and etc… i still have the disc am not using it because the
CPA uses quick books but if one manages all thier tax info in house
then it would have been great - goo


#10

There were many posts recommending me today. Thanks for the kind
words.

Wanted to add a few notes.

Setting up a new POS, if you have NO computer records, yes is all
"one by one entry". It has to be. If you have inventory already in an
Excel spreadsheet it can be imported.

David Phelps posted that you could wait on buying one for reasons he
listed.

I can’t DISAGREE with David but one thing I’ve seen, if you put it
off for the 1st year, you’ll put it off until you get into too much
hot water that you now can’t afford to buy it because you’re
overstocked with old inventory.

Many jewelers are going to The Edge. I’ve found once you start, it
takes at least 4 months before you say

“ahhhhhhhh, I’m glad that’s over”. It just takes time.

Everyone’s post today were right on.
David Geller


#11

Marlene Richey has a new book that has received RAVE reviews for
writing on the business requirements of starting a jewelry business.

http://www.ganoksin.com/item--Profiting-by-Design--mjsa_book_pbd

Marlene is also a regular speaker at several jewelry forums and on
the board of several jewelry organizations.

Good luck, Mary A


#12

I just HAD to jump into the thread about POS systems. For my bead
store I chose Quickbooks POS because I already used Quickbooks for
financials. The first version I got was terrible. It miscalculated
things and deposited transactions into the wrong account in
Quickbooks. Since then, I’ve upgraded and quit doing the automatic
transfer of data to Quickbooks (now do it by hand.) I will say this,
it is easy to use. I don’t like that you have to enter all new
purchases by hand into it (it should be able to grab that data from
Quickbooks.) It does have some interesting reports though.

It was cheaper to buy than a cash register (under $1500 including the
laptop.) I’m not going to tell you it is the best thing since sliced
bread - it’s not. However, it does save me tons of time in the
check-out process with the barcode scanner attachment and my
barcoded lables. Even when I have a line of people waiting, they are
patient, because they can see that it won’t be a long wait. The
scanner beeps with every successful scan, so they hear that things
are moving along quickly. This fact alone is worth its weight in
gold, as people who get tired of waiting and leave the store without
their purchase are something you don’t want. Plus there are no errors
on pricing.

There are probably better systems out there for a jewelry store. But
for my business it works great. I use it as a quality control
checker for my web business. I scan the contents of every package
before shipping, check the total, and get a packing list in the
process. That way, if a customer claims to have not gotten something,
I have a list of what was put into their box. It has saved me from
shipping the wrong thing many times.

The thing that bugs me the most about the program is the fact that it
really does not integrate with Quickbooks the way I THINK it should.
In the initial set up you can grab all the items in your Quickbooks
inventory list, but just that one time. If it were well integrated,
then it would synchronize on a daily basis, so you could just do the
data entry in Quickbooks and not have to do it a second time in the
POS program.

Susan
Sun Country Gems
http://www.suncountrygems.com