Point-of-Sale (POS) systems (forecourt and in-store systems used for controlling and reporting sales) are responsible for enabling transactions between customers and retailers. Back Office Systems (systems that maintain configuration data and provide reporting services) are often responsible for configuring the POS. The POS/Back Office Specification is intended to facilitate the transfer of configuration and reporting data between the POS and Back Office systems. The Specification is comprised primarily of a collection of XML Schema documents describing various document structures for configuration and reporting of data. Configuration documents permit the exchange of configuration data between the Back Office and POS systems, while reporting documents permit the transmission of reports regarding sales and other activities. Documents are broadly categorized as follows:
- Site: Site data includes fundamental information regarding a specific retail site (store). A retail site is a physical location in which products and services are offered for sale to the public. A site has certain fundamental characteristics (e.g., ID, name, address, phone number) that should be consistent across all components of the retailer’s business information systems. Site documents describe those fundamental characteristics by which that information may be shared between system components;
- Merchandise: Merchandise codes are used to categorize products and services for sale by retail businesses. Hierarchical categories are supported;
- Fuel: Fuel and fueling equipment configuration and reporting provides the means to track inventory and sales of grades and products at the site;
- Taxes: POS systems must collect sales and use taxes based on state, local and regional laws. A Back Office System can configure the POS so proper taxes are collected. Reporting allows retrieval of paid taxes from the POS once transactions occur;
- Workforce: Configuration and reporting related to employees, tasks, and schedules;
- Tender: (Reporting only) Tender reports describe activities with respect to methods of payment; and
- POS Journal: Transaction-level detailed report regarding activities conducted on or routed to or through the POS system.
The POS-to-Back Office System topology focuses on the interface between the two systems. In general, the interface consists of defining various kinds of sales data (both real-time and summary), as well as necessary configuration data that can keep the systems coordinated.