How to Register a Trademark for Your Retail Store

Trademarks have been used to signify the ownership of products for centuries. As far back as 1266, English bakers used stamps to make sure their loaves of bread weren’t mistaken for the work of another baker. The concept of branding a product with its own unique trademark is incredibly important for small retail business owners.

Whether you are selling goods through an online e-commerce site or via a retail store, registering a trademark can help to protect your business. 

Unfortunately, many retail entrepreneurs are not aware the significance of trademarks. There is a lack of knowledge of exactly what a trademark is, what it can do for a business owner, what can be trademarked, and how to register a trademark. 

In this article, we’ll outline just why trademarking is so important for retailers. We’ll go over how to apply for a trademark and show you an example of a trademark application. You’ll even learn how to cancel the entire process. 


Why is it a good idea to register a trademark?

Imagine that you went into a retail store and bought a can of soft drink. The label on the can states that it is one of the world’s most popular drinks. It features all the colours, slogans and branding you would expect to see. You are confident you have the right product, so you open it and take a sip. 

And it tastes nothing at all like it is supposed to. It’s a fake product that has undergone none of the quality controls or safety testing of the original. The company that released it is simply using an existing brand to sell an inferior product. 

Trademarking protects both consumers and companies. By registering a trademark, you can prevent other companies from copying your products and using your branding. Trademarks provide customers with a guarantee of quality and enhance the reputation of a brand. They can become powerful and highly effective marketing tools with their own intrinsic value.  

Registering your brand provides you with the right to seek legal action against anyone who is imitating it. You can also instigate legal action against anyone who registers a conflicting or too similar trademark. 

What can and cannot be a registered trademark?

In the UK, trademarks are regulated under the Trade Marks Act 1994. So, what can be a registered trademark? UK trademarks can be:

  • Sounds
  • Logos
  • Words
  • Colours
  • Any combination of the above

Under UK trademark law, however, not everything can be registered. You cannot register a trademark if it:

  • Contains offensive words or images
  • Describes the goods or services it relates to
  • Is misleading or deceptive
  • Is too common or vague
  • Is a generic shape
  • Uses national flags without permission
  • Uses official emblems or hallmarks without permission

What is a trademark application?

A trademark application is a formal written request to register a brand as your own intellectual property or as the property of a company. Trademark registration applications can be sent via the post or by using an online registration form. In the UK, all trademark registration applications go through the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

How to apply for a trademark registration

  • Step One: Spend some time developing your trademark and be sure that your brand is eligible to become trademarked. Make sure your trademark is memorable, that it meets all IPO requirements, and that it will appeal to your customers. 
  • Step Two: Make sure that your chosen trademark is not already registered by completing a registered trademark search at the IPO website. If you find a trademark that has expired or does not seem to be being used, you should be cautious. Trademarks can be reactivated in certain circumstances. If you have found that the trademark you want has already been registered, you can contact the owner to enquire about licensing it for use or acquiring it outright. 
  • Step Three: Fill out an IPO trademark registration application form either by hand on paper or online via the IPO website. 
  • Step Four: If you are planning on expanding your business outside the UK, you may wish to consider applying for a trademark in jurisdictions outside the UK.

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An example of a trademark application

If you want to trademark a business name or register a brand name, the easiest way to do so is online at the IPO website. In general, you will need to follow these steps:

Select who is registering the trademark, either yourself or a company. 

  1. Fill in all your contact details. 
  2. Enter the basic text of your trademark, if applicable.
  3. Upload a more detailed format of your trademark. You’ll need to upload an image and choose whether your trademark applies to words, letters or numbers only, words, letters or numbers with a picture, or if you are trademarking a sound. 
  4. Choose whether you a registering a single trademark, or a series of trademarks.
  5. Decide which class your trademark belongs to. There are 45 UK trademark classes that you can choose from. 
  6. Input a disclaimer, if you wish to do so. 
  7. File a priority claim, if you wish to do so. This is only applicable if you applied for a trademark registration outside of the UK within the last six months. 
  8. Select the type of trademark. You can choose from a standard trademark or a right start trademark. A standard trademark costs £170, which is non-refundable and payable immediately. A right start trademark will cost £200 with £100 payable immediately. In both cases, adding multiple classes costs an additional £50 per class.
  9. Review your application. Be careful to go over every detail to be sure you haven’t made any mistakes.

Once submitted, details of your trademark will be published in the IPO Trade Marks journal. By doing this, anyone who wishes to challenge your right to use the trademark can do so. It can take anywhere from three to four months for the IPO to approve a trademark registration application. 

A trademark registration lasts for ten years. Trademarks can be renewed six months before they expire or six months after they expire. To renew a trademark, you will need to pay a renewal fee of £200 plus an additional £50 per class. 

How you can cancel a trademark application

Cancelling a trademark application is known as surrendering a registration. You may wish to cancel your application for a variety of reasons, for example, if you have decided not to pursue your business or if you have decided to drastically change your trademark business name or registered logo.

To cancel a trademark application, you will need to fill in a Notice to Surrender a Registration form and submit it to the IPO. There is no fee associated with cancelling a trademark registration application. 

It is also possible to change the owner of a trademark. This is also done via a form from the IPO and attracts a fee of £50.

The IPO may deny the registration of your trademark. This is usually done because the trademark does not meet IPO requirements, or contains elements that cannot be trademarked. To dispute the decision, you will need to fill out a Request for a Statement of Reasons for Registrar’s Decision form to get information. You can then obtain legal advice on the validity of the decision. The form costs £100 and must be sent in within one month of the date of the IPO’s decision. 

Starting a small retail business can be tough going. The Ankorstart program from Ankorstore provides support, guidance, and services for retailers. Ankorstore provides online and bricks-and-mortar businesses with the help they need to succeed. Check out the Ankorstart program today!


  • How much does it cost to trademark a name or register a brand in the UK?

Standard trademarks cost £170, non-refundable and payable immediately. Right start trademarks cost £200 with £100 payable immediately. Adding multiple classes costs an additional £50 per class.

  • How long does a trademark last in the UK?

A trademark will be valid for ten years. Trademarks can be renewed. This can be done six months before they expire or six months after they expire. There is a renewal fee of £200 plus an additional £50 per class. 

  • If my trademark registration application is denied, can I appeal the decision?

The IPO may occasionally deny the registration of a trademark because it does not meet requirements. If this occurs, you can fill out a Request for a Statement of Reasons for Registrar’s Decision form to get information. You may then wish to challenge the decision. The request form costs £100 and should be filled out within one month of the date the IPO’S decision was sent to you. 

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How Can I Buy Wholesale Clothes for Kids and Babies?

The childrenswear market in the UK is massive. In fact, some analysts estimate that the kids’ clothing market in the UK is worth more than £6 billion per year. That’s not even including the kids’ footwear market, which is estimated to be worth more than £1.5 billion. Baby clothes are also always a hot ticket item, with baby clothing and footwear in the UK worth more than £7 billion per year. It is no wonder that retailers are constantly launching new enterprises to cater for this hugely lucrative market segment.

However, in order for a new kids’ and baby clothes retailer to be competitive, they will need to find a reliable source of wholesale baby clothes and wholesale kids’ clothes. For business owners who are new to the children’s clothing industry, this can be a big challenge.

In this article, we’ll tell you why buying children’s clothing wholesale is a great idea, detail the different types of wholesalers and show you how to buy kids’ wholesale clothing. If you are thinking about starting up a children’s clothing store, you’ll find some great tips on procuring your stock! 


Why should retailers buy wholesale clothes for kids?

While many people go into business because they have a passion for the product they sell, in the end, every business needs to make a profit. Sourcing your goods from other retailers is often a far too expensive way of gathering inventory. 

For this reason, finding wholesale suppliers that can provide quality goods at a reasonable price is crucial for any type of retailer. This is especially true for retailers who specialise in kids’ clothes and baby clothes. 

The market for children’s wear and baby clothes is huge. To ensure your business can make its way, you will need to be able to get a great deal on your inventory. Establishing relationships with wholesalers who sell baby clothes and kids’ clothes will help you to increase your profit margins and allow you to create a sustainable and viable business.

How children’s clothing wholesalers operate 

Wholesalers generally provide retailers with bulk orders of goods at a price that is lower than what a normal customer would pay. These bulk orders allow wholesalers to offload large amounts of products quickly for lower costs. Often, a large wholesaler may use a third party to act as a middleman between themselves and the retail buyer. Smaller wholesalers often prefer to work directly with their clients.

Since wholesalers only deal with people in the business, they often ask for a retailer to provide ‘proof of trade’ before they will sell them goods. This is done to ensure that a client is actually a legitimate business and not a private individual. 

The ‘proof of trade’ can be something as simple as a letterhead or business card with your business name on it, proof of a business bank account or invoices from a previous supplier. Many larger wholesale businesses ask that retail customers sign up for a trade card that must be produced when making purchases.

Different types of suppliers for wholesale kids’ clothes

There are many different types of wholesalers for children’s clothes and baby clothes. Some are located in the UK, others in Europe, China, the USA or across the globe. The type of wholesaler you wish to work with depends greatly on the nature of your business and the type of customer you are selling products to.

If you are operating a small-scale children’s clothing store that is situated on the high street of a small town, you may wish to work with a UK-based wholesaler who can ensure you get quality goods on time and who does not require you to place large orders. The same scenario may be true of a speciality store, for example, a shop that sells premium baby clothes.

However, if you are opening an online e-commerce site that specialises in selling affordable clothes for babies, kids and toddlers, you may wish to establish a relationship with a large wholesaler who may be based overseas. In this case, you would be expecting to receive good discounts on bulk orders with fast shipping times.

Where to find a children’s clothing wholesaler

Larger UK and international children’s clothing wholesaler outlets and baby clothing wholesale businesses often operate via websites. You can locate these businesses via a simple web search. It may also be useful to look at online forums for children’s clothing retailers or speak with other business owners to get their advice on what wholesalers are reputable and reliable. 

The process of buying designer children’s clothing wholesale or specialty clothing wholesale can be more complicated. Often, retailers must deal directly with designers or manufacturers. This can be time-consuming and can add to the cost of the product. However, consumers who are looking for children’s and babies’ clothing that is made from top quality material, is ethically made or is made from organic materials are usually willing to pay a higher price and wait longer for delivery. 

How to contact a children’s clothing wholesaler

These days, perhaps the best way to establish contact with a large wholesaler of kids or baby clothes is to contact them via email. Many of the big international wholesalers of children’s clothing will have contact forms or membership forms on their websites where retailers can sign up to make orders. It may be easier to reach smaller boutique manufacturers and designers via telephone, however, most business owners have websites with contact details. 

Your initial contact with a wholesaler should be courteous and professional. Always maintain a polite tone and do not be too pushy when it comes to asking for better prices or faster delivery times. Negotiating is important but be sure to stay professional and cordial. 

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What to look for in a children’s clothing wholesaler

When choosing a wholesaler, care should be taken to ensure they can reliably and consistently provide you with the goods you need. The security of your supply chain is vital for your business. Make sure that your wholesaler can deliver higher amounts of inventory for busy periods such as Christmas. 

Retailers need to consider the payment terms and return policies of the wholesaler they choose. Additionally, they should also think about where the goods are sourced from. Many customers are now concerned about the quality of their children’s clothing and if the materials are from organic, environmentally friendly sources. 

Further assistance with locating children’s clothing wholesalers

Starting out as a children’s clothing retailer can be a complicated process. Often, new entrepreneurs need advice on where to buy wholesale baby clothes in the UK or how to establish a relationship with a wholesaler. 

At Ankorstore, we know the struggles and challenges that new retailers face. We have put together the Ankorstart program to provide online and bricks-and-mortar retail business owners with advice, support and guidance. Ankorstart is totally free to join and completely non-binding. If you are about to launch a kids clothing store, then take the time to talk to the experts at Ankorstart. We’re here to help you create a sustainable and profitable business!


  • What is the best B2B wholesale website for children’s clothing?

There are many B2B wholesale websites selling children’s clothing. In the UK, you can purchase wholesale kids clothing from a range of online wholesalers. 

  • Is there a wholesale market for baby products in the UK?

The retail market for baby care products in the UK has recently been estimated to be worth more than £24 million. Retailers looking to establish themselves can purchase a wide range of shoes, clothing and accessories for babies via the Ankorstore marketplace. Searching online, looking at forums or even contacting other business owners directly are all good ways of sourcing wholesalers.  

  • Where can I buy wholesale children’s footwear?

The children’s footwear market is booming in the UK and across the globe. New entrepreneurs who wish to establish relationships with kids footwear wholesalers should take a look at what relationships they can form with suppliers via the Ankorstore marketplace. 

There are also many international companies that provide wholesale children’s shoes to UK retailers. You can look through retail forums or do a simple Google search to locate children’s footwear wholesalers.

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Where to Buy Wholesale Alcoholic Beverages for My Retail Store?

One of the most profitable businesses to open is a store that sells alcoholic beverages to the public. Whether you are opening a local off-licence, a specialist wine store, or a retail store that stocks hard-to-find gin or whiskies, there is always a ready market of consumers for your products. 

However, competition is always fierce in the alcoholic beverage retail sector. To ensure your business stays profitable, you will need to secure a reliable source of products. This is why establishing a long-term relationship with a reputable alcoholic beverage wholesaler is absolutely crucial.

Many new entrepreneurs are unsure of how to go about finding a wholesale alcohol distributor and how to manage the relationship once it has been established. To give any budding beverage business owner a leg up, we have put together this quick guide on how you can find out where to buy alcoholic beverages for a retail store and what you should look for in a wholesaler. 


What products are best for a store that sells alcoholic beverages?

The market for alcoholic beverages of all kinds is huge in the UK. In fact, recent figures have  shown that UK consumers spend more than £6.5 billion per quarter on alcoholic beverages. (1) To succeed in the crowded, heavily competitive liquor industry, you will have to keep your clientele happy by making sure you stock exactly what they want to buy. 

The type of retail store you plan to open will determine the products you choose to stock. Nowhere is this adage truer than in the alcoholic beverage retail sector. A small local off-licence will need a good selection of bottom, middle, and top-shelf alcoholic beverages. A speciality gin or whisky store will have to source unique liquors that are sought after by their clientele. A wine store may choose to specialise in wines from a certain region, for example, French wines from Provence or wines from local winemakers and vineyards in the UK. 

Alongside the types of alcoholic beverages you sell, a good retailer will also make sure to have a selection of non-alcoholic options available as well as mixers, glasses, bottle openers, snacks, and merchandise from beverage manufacturers. 

How can a retailer anticipate seasonal and market needs?

Staying up to date with what the market is looking for is sound advice in any retail sector. However, alcoholic beverage retailers need to watch trends and seasonal needs closely to anticipate customer demand. Is a certain type of gin making headlines because of a celebrity endorsement? Is a new craft beer making waves? A retailer who wants to stay on top of demand should make sure to read all the latest magazines, forums and blogs on their chosen speciality. 

Holidays are always busy times for alcoholic beverage retailers, so make sure you have enough stock to cover your customer’s needs. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are probably the biggest holidays that sellers of alcoholic beverages will need to cater for. However, other celebrations should also be noted. Is Mother’s Day coming up? Better make sure you have a good amount of champagne and wine on hand! Is there a major football game or horse race on? Try and anticipate what holidays and events will cause customer demand to rise and make sure you have the inventory to cover it. 

What are the regulations surrounding alcohol sales in the UK?

Any business that wishes to sell alcohol in the UK must first obtain a licence to do so from the local authorities. This is a simple matter of completing an application form and paying a small fee. A business that buys from wholesalers and then sells to the public must make sure the wholesaler they use has approval from HMRC under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). To do so, check the wholesaler’s Unique Registration Number (URN) on the HMRC database. 

The sale of alcohol in the UK is governed by the Licensing Act 2003. This Act outlines the opening hours allowed for any business selling alcohol and other such regulations, such as, for example, the prohibition of selling alcohol to anyone who is under the age of 18. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of different wholesale suppliers?

To make sure your business is competitive, it is best to buy your products from an alcoholic beverage wholesaler. The type of wholesaler you choose once again depends on the nature of your business. A wine store can approach winemakers directly or may work with an agent representing many different vineyards. A speciality liquor store or a craft beer outlet may operate in the same fashion. A general off-licence that requires a broad selection of products will opt for a drinks wholesaler that can provide bulk quantities of popular beverages.

Buying from an alcoholic beverage wholesaler located in the UK will ensure you get fast delivery and will avoid you having to pay any extra tax or having to declare your purchases to HMRC. While an overseas wholesaler may offer better prices, there is a raft of bureaucracy associated with purchasing from a wholesaler not located in the UK. However, since many alcohol beverage retailers source their products from outside of the UK (French wines, once again as an example), dealing with these complexities and extra costs is unavoidable. 

With some creative thinking, retailers can develop strong international networks of suppliers. Ankorstore is an online marketplace dedicated to helping businesses find distributors for their products. The Ankorstore platform offers retailers a reliable and simple way of accessing high-quality products from suppliers throughout the EU. 

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Can I buy alcoholic beverages wholesale from abroad?

Yes, but you will need to be aware of the process surrounding purchases from wholesalers not located in the UK. HMRC has strict laws and regulations surrounding importing alcoholic goods. Retailers need to be aware of these regulations and make sure that they stay on the right side of the law.

Wines and spirits with an alcohol content above 12% are subject to excise duty. Paperwork must be completed by the buyer if they wish to purchase these types of goods. Excise duty can be up to 40% of the cost of the products. VAT and Customs Duty charges may also be applicable. It should be noted that in some cases, Ankorstore can reimburse these fees. So if you are importing alcoholic beverages, you may wish to investigate the Ankorstore marketplace.

It is advisable that any retailer who sources their goods from a wholesaler not located in the UK speaks with HMRC first to establish what charges may apply and what paperwork you will have to complete. 

How can you pay your wholesale alcoholic beverage suppliers?

The majority of alcoholic beverage wholesalers will accept most common forms of payment, including cash, bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal payments. Some may even be open to accepting cryptocurrencies.  

How to manage VAT with wholesale alcoholic beverage suppliers

All UK businesses that earn more than £85,000 must be registered for VAT. The VAT that applies to any goods you buy for your business can be claimed back via your tax return. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that alcoholic beverage wholesalers located outside the EU or the UK will not charge VAT, so the buyer will have to make sure to report this in their tax return. Essentially, you will be paying and claiming back VAT at the same time. 

Writing purchase orders for alcoholic beverage wholesalers

Purchase orders can be a good way of ensuring that you are guaranteed a certain amount of stock that will be delivered on a certain date each month. Because the orders are usually done in bulk, purchase orders are common practice between alcoholic beverage wholesalers and retailers.  

By using the Ankorstore e-commerce marketplace, however, retailers can establish relationships with suppliers and obtain goods on a regular basis without the need for purchase orders. 

Common payment terms for alcoholic beverage wholesalers

Payment terms for an alcoholic beverage wholesaler range from between 30, 60 or 90 days after shipping. In many cases, a retailer can negotiate favourable terms from a wholesaler.

If you are setting up an alcoholic beverage business, then take a look at the Ankorstart programme from Ankorstore. Ankorstart is a non-binding, totally free programme dedicated to helping entrepreneurs develop sustainable, viable businesses. 

How to make contact with alcoholic beverage wholesalers

There are many avenues to find alcoholic beverage wholesalers. Many businesses have online stores and can be contacted via email or an online contact form. Some retailers find their wholesalers via business contacts or get recommendations from customers. The practice of directly approaching a manufacturer and arranging a wholesale deal with them is especially common in the alcoholic beverage industry. 

Where to find help with locating alcoholic beverage wholesalers

If you are a new retailer setting up a business selling alcoholic beverages, you can find support, guidance and advice by signing up for the Ankorstart programme from Ankorstore. The Ankorstart programme is specifically designed to assist new entrepreneurs in launching their businesses. It is totally free, non-binding and can give you the edge you need to establish yourself and your new business. Take a look at the Ankorstart programme today!


  • Where can I find alcoholic beverage wholesalers?

Many alcoholic beverage wholesalers that cater to UK customers have websites where you can place orders with them directly. Speciality retailers, like wine stores, may wish to contact manufacturers directly. 

  • Can I buy wholesale alcoholic beverages from outside the UK?

Yes, you can. However, there may be taxes, duties and paperwork associated with the purchase. Contact HMRC for advice and guidance. 

  • Should I have more than one alcoholic beverages wholesaler?

It is always a good idea to diversify your suppliers. That way, if one supplier cannot meet your order you will be able to source stock from another wholesaler.

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The best point of sale systems for small retail stores

Opening up a bricks-and-mortar shop, a retail store or a concept store requires a great deal of preparation. Entrepreneurs need to think carefully about every aspect of their premises, from the lighting to the shelving. By far the most important piece of equipment for a new retail store owner is their point of sale system or POS. 

The point of sale system is used to process every single sale that a small business makes. It keeps customer credit card and banking details confidential and provides records for tax purposes. A point of sale system is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to streamline many of the administrative tasks associated with running a retail store. 

A modern, efficient and reliable till system for a small business can make the process of taking payments from customers fast and simple, can make training staff easier, and can even assist with inventory. Therefore, choosing what point of sale system to install is a major decision for any new retail store owner. 

These days, there are literally hundreds of point of sale systems for small businesses on the market. These can range from standalone tills to portable EPOS systems for small businesses. So, how do you choose the best point of sale systems for your small business? 

In this article, we will provide you with information to help you find the ideal POS system for your small business. We will give you all the details you need on exactly what constitutes a POS system for a small business, why you need a POS system, the benefits of a POS system, and how to go about choosing the right POS system. 


What is a Point of Sale System (POS) ?

It is useful to note that there is a distinction between a physical point of sale and a point of sale system. A point of sale in the physical sense refers to the place where transactions take place, your checkout counter. A point of sale system is the system used to actually process these transactions. 

In simple terms, a point of sale system is a term used to refer to both the hardware and software a business uses to process sales. A point of sale system is only used in the actual store to manually process payments from customers in person. It keeps track of all cash payments and in the case of electronic payments, routes the funds to the business owner’s bank account. 

The term point of sale system was originally used to refer to a standalone cash register. These machines could process transactions, but that’s all. When used to their full capabilities, modern EPOS systems for small businesses can do much more than just process payments. A point of sale system can help a small business owner to keep track of their inventory, monitor sales and employee performance, and assist with onboarding new employees. 

Modern point of sale systems for a small business are usually comprised of three elements:

  1. Software – This is the operating system the POS uses to process sales, record data and manage inventory, staff performance and customer behaviour. Most point of sale system software can be integrated with online sales as well as in-person purchases. In most cases, companies offer POS software on a subscription basis. The more expensive the POS software is, the more features it will have. 
  2. Hardware – This is the equipment you use to process any form of in-person payment. The hardware used for your point of sale system could be one standalone machine, or you can utilise tablets or smartphones to process payments. Other hardware required for your POS system will include:
  • A cash register
  • A tap and chip card reader
  • A bar-code scanner
  • A secure cash drawer
  • A receipt printer
  • A label printer
  1. Payments – Whenever a customer makes a purchase using credit or debit card, your POS system will process the payment to your bank account. Some point of sale systems have integrated payment processing capabilities that allow them to transfer funds directly to an account. Others may use third-party software that can incur additional fees.   

Why do you need a point of sale system for your retail store?

While it is certainly possible to keep track of all your sales by using a spreadsheet, or even on a paper ledger, this is a slow method that is susceptible to human error. Also, this method will not provide you with detailed data on your business.

Modern point of sale systems for small businesses can provide a huge range of benefits and are an essential part of operating your business smoothly and efficiently.

POS systems can accept all forms of payment

If you have the right types of hardware connected to your point of sale system, then your business can accept all major forms of payment easily and quickly. The best point of sale systems for small businesses can easily process cash payments, credit card payments, debit card payments, as well as payments made using gift cards. You can use your POS to accept debit and credit cards with magnetic strips as well as contactless payments and card not present payments. Does a customer want to split their payment by making a portion of the payment in cash and a portion with a credit card? Your point of sale system can handle that situation with ease. 

POS systems track sales accurately

POS systems for small businesses automatically track each sale and provide retailers with a wealth of important information. A professional POS for a small business can record every sale made in precise detail. It can list the wholesale and retail price of an item and keep a running total of your gross and net profit margins. 

POS systems assist with inventory control

Whenever a sale is made, or a product is returned or exchanged, your point of sale system will update your inventory list. Your point of sale system can let you know when a certain product is running low, so you can make sure you always have enough stock on hand.

POS systems make accounting simple

All of this data is crucial for accounting purposes. When it is time to present your taxes to HMRC, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you have lost information or if the record of sales is inaccurate. 

Accounting data can also be used to improve your business’s profit margins. Is a certain item selling or not? How effective are your promotions and sales? Could the price of certain items be raised or lowered to encourage sales? Are you not selling enough of a product to make restocking it worthwhile? Your point of sale system will provide you with all the accounting data you need to take the guesswork out of optimising your business. 

POS systems make it easier to manage staff

A point of sale system can make training new staff members a quick and easy process. New employees can practise processing payments, applying discounts and coupons and processing returns and refunds in a training environment. 

Not only that but point of sale systems for small businesses can provide employers with valuable data that can be used to more effectively manage their employees. Your POS system can track what day and what times of day are busiest for your business which can help managers with staff allocation duties. 

The number of sales per staff member can be tracked, as can the speed of a staff member’s sales processing. If a manager needs to know who their most efficient staff member is, the POS system will give them all the data they require. Busy periods, for instance during a seasonal sale, can then be better managed. 

POS systems provide crucial customer data

Knowing what buying habits your customers have can help you to build accurate customer profiles. These profiles can then be used to better serve your customers and enhance your retention levels. Customer profiles can include a certain customer’s contact information, their history of purchases and their lifetime value to your business. You can see at a glance what products they have purchased which can then be used to send targeted emails or text messages. Customer profiles also provide a wealth of information that business owners can use to devise loyalty programmes that reward their best clientele and drive sales. 

POS systems are scalable to your changing business needs

A huge benefit of point of sale systems for small businesses is that they are easily scalable to changing business needs. Are you opening up another store? A modern point of sale system makes it incredibly easy. Just download the software, and a new POS location, connect your card reader to the POS and you’re done!

This flexibility also assists with onboarding new staff members, adding more products to your inventory or expanding a bricks-and-mortar store into the world of online sales. 

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Benefits of using a point of sale system for credit card processing

Many retail businesses use a standard credit card processor to accept credit card payments. While these machines are effective, your point of sale system can provide benefits for both credit card and cash payment processing.

With a standard credit card processor, you usually have to wait to see what percentage of retailer fees are applied. A point of sale system will give you all relevant information immediately in real-time. You can then use this data to decide whether you need to adjust sale prices to account for retailer credit card fees. 

With the right POS system for your small business, you can also easily integrate credit card payments into loyalty schemes such as points programmes. 

What to consider when choosing a POS system for small business

There is a lot to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the best POS system for your small business. You’ll need to factor the following points into your decision:

  • What is the initial set-up cost? (Hardware, installation time, etc)
  • What are the ongoing costs? (Subscription fees, updating costs)
  • How much are the payment processing fees? (Flat fees versus a sale percentage)
  • Potential privacy law compliance issues (Managing payment processing and customer data)
  • How much mobility does the system need to have? (Countertop or tablet-based)
  • Can the system accept chip and PIN card payments?
  • Can the system accept cardless payments? (NFC payments)
  • Does the system provide you with enough analytics data?
  • What added features does the POS system have?

Think about your business needs and try to find the best point of sale system that meets your requirements. There is no point paying for staff management features when you own and operate your own retail store yourself, for example.  

What is the best point of sale system for small retailers?

Finding the best POS system for a small business depends largely on the type of retail store you have and the scale of your store. 

Many retail business owners opt for a countertop point of sale system rather than tablet or smartphone-based systems. A countertop system will encourage your customers to gather at one point to purchase goods and is a good option for stores that do not have a large number of employees. If your store is busy and you have the staff to spare, tablet-based point of sale systems can allow for mobile purchasing to occur. This system can, however, be difficult to manage in a retail setting. 

It is possible to buy the hardware for a retail POS for a small business outright or to arrange a leasing agreement. Smaller retailers may find it easier to simply download POS software and run it on an ordinary tablet. Bigger retail outlets may choose to lease or purchase a large amount of POS hardware. 

A busy clothing store with a large amount of floor space and many staff members may find it beneficial to use both countertop and mobile POS systems. On the other hand, a small speciality store with only one employee will manage with a simple tablet POS system set up. 

Popular POS systems for small businesses

Some of the most popular POS systems for small retailer businesses in the UK are:

  • EPOS Now
  • Square
  • Shopify
  • Lightspeed
  • The Good Till Co
  • Take Payments Plus
  • Nobly POS
  • Zettle
  • AirPOS
  • Touchbistro
  • Revel Systems

Where to find more advice on point of sale systems for small businesses

As you can see from the list above, there is a staggering amount of EPOS systems for small businesses on the market. Choosing the best POS system for your small business will require you to carry out intense research and carefully weigh up the pros and cons of one provider against another. 

If you find that you require assistance with making your decision on what POS system to choose, or you just need some general advice and support in opening a retail business, then Ankorstore is here to help you. 

Our Ankorstart programme is free and non-binding and provides new retailers with a range of resources, advice and support. Whether you need to write up your business plan, get a start-up loan or are trying to work out what point of sale system best suits your needs, we’re here to help. 


  • When do I need a point of sale system for my business?

If your business takes any kind of payments over the counter, then a point of sale system can help you to streamline that process. A point of sale system helps small business owners keep track of their sales, manage their inventory, and can even assist with managing staff and building customer profiles. 

  • What types of payments can a point of sale system process?

A modern point of sale system should be able to quickly process all types of payments. From cash to magnetic strip credit and debit cards to gift cards, coupons and contactless payments. 

  • What should I consider when choosing a point of sale system?

It is important to keep the needs of your business and the scale of your business in mind when choosing a point of sale system. Make sure you choose a system that fits your budget and has all the features that you will need and none that you don’t.

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How does VAT work for micro-entrepreneurs in the UK?

If you’re a microentrepreneur or run a small business in the UK, there are certain rules you need to follow in terms of VAT (Value Added Tax) for an effective retail accounting. The regulations are related to your annual turnover. This guide tells you what you need to know about paying VAT in the UK.


What is VAT and how does it work?

VAT is a UK tax that is charged on the purchase of most goods. The current standard rate is 20%, however, some products have different rates:

  • Reduced-rate goods and services e.g. children’s car seats, sanitary products and home energy – 5%
  • Zero-rated goods e.g. most food, books and  children’s clothes0%

How much VAT should I charge?

If you have a store or run a service in the UK, you will have to check with the Inland Revenue (HMRC) what the correct rate is for the goods you are selling.

Example: VAT on sunglasses

You decide to set up an online store from your home in the UK selling sunglasses and will need to charge VAT as your expected income is going to be over the VAT threshold (see below).

Cost price (the price you buy the product for) £15

Retail price (the price you want to sell at) £45

VAT adding 20% to the retail price (multiply RP x 1.2) £54

Therefore, you will have to sell the glasses at £54 to make a profit of £30 per item and still charge VAT.

*Note – marketing psychology uses price points below the rounded figure, so if you wanted to sell the sunglasses at £49 you would have to work the VAT backwards.

You can also use a VAT calculator to determine how much VAT you should pay. There are many online VAT calculators to choose from.

The VAT you have charged customers is payable to the UK government when you do your HMRC VAT return. It is a way for the government to earn revenue for goods sold.

What is the VAT threshold in the UK and when do I have to complete my returns?

VAT has to be registered and paid if your business’s turnover for the last 12 months was over £85,000. 

You are allowed to earn up to this amount before you have to register for VAT. The 12-month rule does not follow the tax year (which begins in April). It is therefore important to keep a log of your turnover to ensure you are aware of how much money you are making and whether you will reach the VAT threshold. If you reach the threshold and are not registered, you have 30 days to do this.

Example: VAT on a sports and leisure store

Your sports and leisure business was launched in March 2021 but you did not register for VAT as you didn’t expect it to reach the threshold in the first year of trading.

However, in September 2021 you introduce an exercise mat to the range and its sales take off. This and excellent sales at Christmas mean your total turnover is over £100,000 at the end of January 2022. 

You have 30 days to register for VAT and must not wait until the end of the tax year.  

If you are VAT registered, you have one month and 7 days after the end of the accounting period in which to submit your return. You must also make the payment by this date.  

The government increases the VAT threshold most years, so you need to keep informed of any amendments.

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How do I register for VAT?

VAT registration is easy in the UK and you can do it online. VAT registration in the UK is also free of charge. You have to register on the HMRC website.

You will need:

  • your National Insurance number or Unique Taxpayer Reference (known as a UTR)
  • your business bank account details
  • records of the sale and purchase if you have bought the business
  • details of any other businesses you’ve owned in the past two years

What VAT accounting scheme should I choose when registering?

There are various accounting schemes you can use when you register for VAT. The VAT status you select will depend on when you wish to submit your accounts and the goods you sell.

  • Standard VAT accounting – used by the majority of businesses. You record VAT made on sales and how much you have paid for purchases, such as supplies, and submit a VAT return quarterly.
  • Annual VAT accounting – if for any reason you cannot submit a return quarterly you can apply to do this annually, but you will still need to pay the VAT due each quarter.
  • Flat rate accounting – for some small businesses paying a fixed amount is an option. You should discuss this with an accountant as it will only benefit you if you sell certain items. For example, if you are likely to sell lots of zero-rated goods this option may not be a good idea.
  • Cash accounting – you only pay VAT when customers have paid you, which can help with cash flow, particularly for small businesses. The date of VAT payment is based on the actual date the customer paid, rather than the invoice date.

What are the benefits of registering for VAT?

Once you are registered for VAT you can claim back a VAT refund on goods you purchase for your business, from stationery to technology, raw materials and parts to make goods.

You will be issued with a VAT registration number which you can use on your website, invoices, letterheads and other paperwork and advertising material, which gives your company a professional image. This immediately tells people you have a certain income and makes you appear established. 

Keeping up-to-date and accurate information and records on your business is essential so you know how much VAT to include on your return. It is advisable to keep digital records as these are likely to be more accurate. This will encourage you to be organised with your administrative systems, which can sometimes have less priority in a small business.

Can I be self-employed and VAT registered?

The rules for the self-employed are the same as for any other business. The self-employed VAT threshold is £85,000 and when you reach this level you have to register and will be issued with a self-employed VAT number. You then have to complete a self-employed VAT return just as any other business that exceeds the threshold does. 

You can use a self-employed VAT calculator to work out how much VAT you should pay.

What happens if I submit or pay my return late?

If you submit your return or pay late  you will be liable for a penalty charge. This will be calculated based on your turnover and how much you owe to the Inland Revenue.

The penalty could be up to 15% of the amount owed. A company with less than £150,000 will be given an amount of time to pay the outstanding amount before they are fined. However, it is not advisable to pay VAT late as this gives you a poor payment record. 

Late VAT payments could have a severe financial impact on the business and cause a serious cash flow problem. For example, if you can´t pay staff because you are unable to make your VAT payments they may not attend work, in which case you may not have any staff to do the work.

It is advisable to keep funds for VAT payments in a separate account and not use them for other purposes. Whilst it can be tempting to buy a new smartphone or computer from the VAT account it’s better to wait until the business can afford it.

What are the penalties for not paying or paying too little VAT?

There are different penalties arising from not paying the correct VAT, which can be set by the Inland Revenue or the courts. It is always best to talk to the Inland Revenue to prevent them from taking court action. 

The average penalty tends to be around £4,000, but this will vary depending on the circumstances.

You can be charged a penalty for failing to:

  • register if your turnover exceeds £85,000
  • pay the correct amount of VAT
  • keep accurate records 
  • supply correct information
  • charging a flat rate when you are not entitled to it
  • issuing a VAT invoice if you are not registered
  • refusing to allow a VAT inspector to enter your property

If you do not declare all your VAT on products or services that you have sold and been paid for, or claim more than you have been paid for the VAT, you will be charged interest. This could be from 3.75% which must be paid within 30 days or more interest will be charged. This interest will continue to be applied until you make the outstanding payment plus interest.

Note that from 2023, new requirements will be set by the UK government, which can be found here.

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What if I pay too much VAT?

Paying too much VAT can be an unnecessary cost for your business so it’s best to avoid this. As an entrepreneur, you may not feel comfortable doing your own VAT returns so you should appoint an accountant to do them for you. There will be a charge, but this could save you money in the long run. 

The most common reasons for paying too much VAT are:

  • putting the wrong figures on the VAT return
  • using the wrong percentage rate 
  • not using the correct accounting scheme
  • poor bookkeeping

If you think you have paid too much VAT, you should contact the Inland Revenue to resolve the situation. 

Sometimes paying too much VAT can be due to the Inland Revenue charging you the wrong rate, in which case you may be entitled to claim the interest on the amount. Again, you should contact the Inland Revenue to claim the repayment.

Micro-entrepreneurship is on the increase as more people are seeing the benefits of setting up small businesses and generating profit. The free Ankorstart programme can guide you through the steps you need to take to build a successful retail business

Join Ankorstart and you’ll get continuous advice on how to manage and develop your retail shop. We have a team of retail experts available to answer all your questions and guide you through the process of setting up your shop. Your personalised support will include how to plan, research, find premises or set up an online platform, secure finance, buy stock, select the right brands and market your business.


  • What is the VAT registration threshold in the UK?

The VAT threshold 2022 is £85,000 before you have to become VAT registered and pay VAT.

  • What is the standard UK VAT rate?

The rate is currently 20% and applies to most goods and services.

  • Why should I keep VAT records?

You should keep records of both the VAT you pay on goods for your business and the VAT you charge so you can fill in your returns efficiently. This will save you time when you have to file the returns.

  • Do I need an accountant to do my VAT returns?

No. You can do your returns yourself. However, if you are not good with numbers and want to ensure your returns are accurate you should employ the services of an accountant.

  • Can I complete my VAT return online?

Yes, this is the easiest way to submit your return.

  • Do I have to register for VAT if I am self-employed?

VAT registration for self-employed is the same as for businesses. If your turnover exceeds the amount of £85,000 in any twelve months you must register for VAT, whether you are self-employed or not.

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