By  on December 10, 2008

Owners of small boutiques can now easily and inexpensively open online stores thanks to a point-of-sale software upgrade from Intuit.

QuickBooks Point of Sale Version 8.0 adds inventory and store management to its regular point-of-sale functions such as ringing up sales. It has been designed to work with Intuit’s Homestead e-commerce service, so Web stores and brick-and-mortar stores can share one inventory.

“A third of our customers told us they’d like to open a Web store, but don’t know where to start,” said Jim Brady, group product manager for Intuit retail solutions, which unveiled the update last month. Although growth has slowed, e-commerce is one of the few bright spots in retailing, as consumers continue to switch to the channel.

Intuit also released basic software for retailers who want to ring up sales and track customers, but don’t want to manage inventory. So, for example, a store that writes out receipts by hand, but has a laptop to answer e-mails, could easily automate the process. If someone wants to buy a gift for a regular customer, the sales associate could look up past records to get an idea of the right sizes and styles, Intuit said.

Both programs are compliant with the latest Payment Card Industry, or PCI, security standards for safe credit card processing and electronically store receipts in case of disputes.

QuickBooks Point of Sale has an installed base of about 90,000 customers. Typically, the retailers run a single store and pull in $200,000 to $1.5 million in revenue a year, said Brady.

The point-of-sale software starts at $800 and Cash Register Plus starts at $300. A variety of packages that include retail hardware such as a receipt printer and card swipe are also available starting at $800.

Retailers can design their own Web stores, or pay Intuit $200 for a basic store or $1,000 for a deluxe one. There is an ongoing monthly fee of $150.

Intuit started shipping the software in September, and it is also available through a variety of retailers such as and Sam’s Club. The software runs on Windows XP and Vista.

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