This is a pretty common question.
First there are three databases that get setup when you install RetailEdge. RetailEdgeData, RetailEdgeData_Demo, and RetailEdgeData_Train. These databases are created when you install RetailEdge so that when you are using RetailEdge in your store, you can switch between the databases to allow you to use another database for training your store employees. If after you have purchased the program you want to use the training database, you would simply make a backup of your store's real database (RetailEdgeData) and restore the backup into the training database (RetailEdgeData_Train). That way employees can use "real" store data for training to get familiarized with the data and program.
You can switch between databases by choosing Server Connection from Tools|Settings menu item and changing the DB Name. When you change the DB Name to one of the predefined databases either the RetailEdgeData_Train or RetailEdgeData_Demo you will see on the main form either the wording "Training Database" or "Demo Database" respectively. This just helps eliminate mistakes when users forget to switch back and forth between the databases and having them post real sales into the wrong databases.
Second is the the copy of RetailEdge POS software you download from the web is a real copy of the program. We just limit the amount of data that you can enter before you can't post any more data into the program.
The current demo preset limits are:
1. 100 Sales.
2. 200 Inventory Items.
3. 100 Customers.
We think this is enough data to allow people to try the program and a better limit that 30 days. Especially with a business application like POS software people are busy running their businesses and so can't always find a good chunk of time to sit down and try all the RetailEdge features.
In addition trying a copy of the real program is a much better way of allowing our users to make sure that the program is the right one for them. Retail businesses are many and varied. The needs of every type of retailer is different. Some people just need a simple program to track sales. Others need inventory management, customer tracking and multi-store functionality. Still others can't live without features like discount rules or integrated gift cards or credit card processing. We could put out a dog and pony show video but this would not address this need. We want the right questions asked BEFORE you purchase the program and having a real copy of the program as a demo allows this to occur.
RetailEdge is licensed with a key (dongle) that gets plugged into the a USB port on your computer. When you purchase the program you get a CD, Manual and the dongle. The dongle just gets plugged in an turns your demo version into the real program. If you exceed the limits of the demo above, RetailEdge will not allow you to post in any more data. But since you are running a real copy of the program you can just switch to the RetailEdgeData database and you will have a blank database and can start using the program without uninstalling or reinstalling the program you installed as a demo. In addition many people will continue to use the program in Demo Mode. Since Demo Mode will allow you to view the data (and export to quickbooks and run a closing reports) users can install the program running in demo mode on a back office computer and use it to run reports without having the added expense of another workstation license (even though they are only $225).