From the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

Many retail technology solutions are becoming more affordable, so even small retailers can track inventory and capture data like the big guys. Here are some applications to check out:

QuickBooks Point of Sale 4.0: Replace your cash register with this affordable package that allows you to track inventory, sales and customers on your computer. If you use QuickBooks financial software, you can transfer sales information from the POS program automatically. Pricing for the Basic package starts at $800. The Pro Multi-Store solution starts at $1,400.

Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System: Designed specifically for independent merchants with one to 10 stores, this package accepts multitender payments and captures electronic signatures for credit authorization. It can also generate sales reports and has advanced security features that protect sensitive data. Pricing starts at $1,290.

ProficientExpress: This hosted solution lets businesses connect their online and offline sales efforts. It offers a live chat interface with customers, data-mining capabilities and the ability to view the status of customers' interactions with your representatives. Pricing starts at $2,500 per month, plus a $2,500 setup fee.


Gwen Moran is a writer and consultant specializing in marketing.