Several threats affect the survival of small, independent retail companies. Adoption and use of Point-of-Sale (POS) systems may offer important benefits to counter these threats. POS systems are not widely used by these retailers, however. This research investigates the determinants of the adoption of POS systems using a conceptual model based on existing adoption theories. Based on this, a survey has been held among 37 Dutch small, independent retailers, to answer the question what the most important determinants for POS system adoption are. This study furthers theory on IT adoption, specifically for small organizations. The practical relevance is that its findings may help in improving POS system adoption. .
The Dutch retail sector consists for 94% of small retail organizations (≤10 employees), altogether employing around 250,000 persons. The retail sector is noticeably present in the trade-driven Dutch economy and acts as an intermediary between industry and consumer. The sector is an important and relevant subject of study from an economical, social and cultural perspective. In this paper we focus on in-store retailing. The environment of this type of retail trade is under pressure. Several interacting threats, like globalization, demanding consumers, increasing administrative burden and an economic recession force the retailers into action. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a double-edged sword in this context (cf. Turban, King, Viehland and Lee, 2004). On the one hand, it can be a threat to smaller retailers for its disintermediation effects and competition through e-tailing (cf. Chircu and Kauffman, 1999), and by its supply chain management effectuation of the larger(franchise) organizations (cf. David, 2008). On the other hand, ICT likewise provides opportunities to smaller retailers, like opening up new sales channels, reducing administrative tasks and/or enabling strategic management of their enterprise (Turban et al., 2004). A specific type of retail ICT that can be employed to achieve effective store management is a ‘Point-of-Sale’ (POS) system. POS systems are defined in many different ways. On Wikipedia, a retail POS system is defined as “a computer, monitor, cash drawer, receipt printer, customer display and a barcode scanner”. Webopedia.com defines a POS system as “the capturing of data and customer payment information at a physical location when goods or services are bought and sold”. YourDictionary.com defines it as: “A comprehensive computerized checkout system that includes a bar-code scanner, receipt printer, cash drawer, credit and debit card scanner, monitor, and inventory management software. A point-of-sale system tracks sales and identifies inventory levels in real time”. There are many different types and brands of POS systems available. eBay.com and BuyerZone.com provide a web-based ‘Point of Sale System Buying Guide’, containing over 4,000 different POS equipments for retailers, and 91 different types of POS software. The POS system market in The Netherlands contains no less than 150 vendors, each offering their own ‘unique’ software package. POS systems enable retailers to consult more detailed management information compared to traditional cash registers and Electronic Cash Registers (ECRs). As this management information is based on sales figures, retailers can improve their business by maintaining a better product strategy and pursuing a more efficient replenishment process matching customer demand, alleviating what is often referred to as the ‘bullwhip effect’ (Lee, Padmanabhan and Whang, 1997). This enables inventory optimization, minimizing storage space and ‘sold-out’ situations. Moreover, cash slips can be stored electronically and the results can be brought up in the POS system immediately, both reducing time spent on administrative tasks. This is specifically relevant for The Netherlands, where the administrative burden for SMEs has...
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