Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Retail POS systems

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 16 December 2020

This article will guide you through the pricing, features, and benefits of the latest POS systems…


What is a Point of Sale System?

Point of sale (POS) systems enable businesses to process transactions. Whether you’re in the restaurant, hotel, or retail industry, your business wouldn’t ever sell a thing without them, as they help turn your simple cash register into an entire hub of business management.

In this article, we reveal everything you need to know about POS systems, from pricing and benefits to information on the best suppliers.

What are the Different POS Systems?

There’s a huge variety of POS systems out there, all catering for different requirements. These days, larger businesses tend to opt for more intelligent EPOS systems, while smaller, independent businesses still consider cash registers as a cheaper option that meets their needs.

So what are the differences?

Manual Cash Register

Electronic Cash Register

Modern EPOS System

Device memory

Electronic display

Touch screen

Back office functions

Rota management

Customer management

For more information on how POS systems work, check out our video:

What is the difference between POS and EPOS?

POS (point of sale) is the hardware you use to sell products, namely the traditional cash registers you see in most shops. An EPOS (electronic point of sale) is a type of POS system powered by the internet, combining software and hardware that’s managed from a single, digital platform.

EPOS comes with an online interface that can normally be accessed via tablet, mobile, or desktop. These days, however, modern POS systems are now generally referred to as EPOS systems.

What is a manual cash register?

A manual cash register is a basic cash register that does what it says on the tin – it allows you to process cash transactions.

Most manual cash registers allow you to store prices by creating key shortcuts for each item. You can then ring up each item and cash off. These cash registers are cheap to buy, but are best for small businesses that don’t process large numbers of transactions. While you can use electronic cash registers, it’s important to note they’re different from EPOS systems because they aren’t part of a wider POS software.

What is an electronic cash register?

An electronic cash register is slightly more sophisticated. Instead of storing prices on individual buttons, you can create an itinerary of your stock and access each item on the touch screen. This more advanced system makes it easier for you to amend prices and change your itinerary.

On top of this, the electronic cash register can work alongside connected hardware elements, such as barcode scanners and separate printers. It’s important to note that electronic cash registers differ from EPOS systems because they aren’t part of a wider POS software.

You’ll also be able to benefit from the following functions:

  • Prompts to upsell
  • Table allocation
  • Stock check assistance

What is a modern EPOS system?

Modern EPOS systems take electronic cash registers to the next level. The software used for EPOS systems is so advanced, it requires a heftier computer system to run it – we’re talking computer and iPad level. That’s right: You can literally use your iPad as a cash register.

You’ll find that barcode scanners, card machines, and receipt printers will connect wirelessly to your PC or iPad, creating a complete POS system that’ll help you take your business up a notch. We’ve dedicated a whole section to EPOS systems below.


Advantages of a POS System

There are many reasons for a business to use a POS system rather than a traditional cash register. The key advantages of a POS system are detailed below:

Boost Staff Efficiency

With a POS system, users no longer have to spend time memorizing product prices, or manually inputting vast amounts of data as they would on a traditional cash register. What’s more, errors on a point of sale system can be rectified with just a couple of clicks.

Inputting an item’s data using a traditional cash register system usually takes around six seconds, but using a POS system’s barcode reader takes just 0.3 of a second on average.

Increase Sales

Not only will this help boost staff confidence in the system they use, but it will also save your business money if previous mistakes have led to under-charging customers.

This speeding up of the entire transaction process doesn't merely make life easier for staff – it also means a faster, more efficient turnover of customers. Simply put, more customers per hour means boosting your company's revenue in the long term.

Improve Stock Management

Traditional approaches to stock management require merchants to physically review their current level of stock on a regular basis, which is laborious and time consuming.

Modern POS systems enable your staff to scan all stock upon delivery, and enter the details into a digital database. With this feature, your staff can review overall stock levels at a glance, and make accurate purchasing decisions accordingly.

Generate Accurate Reports

Most modern POS systems also offer merchants access to a variety of customizable reports. These reports can include critical information such as daily takings and outgoings, providing merchants with an understanding of the overall success of their business.

Advanced reporting capabilities can identify common sales trends, such as seasonal variations in product demand. This allows your team to organize stock levels in advance, ensuring you have enough stock to meet customer demand – and thereby maximizing your potential takings.

Efficient Employee Tracking

Through the use of unique identification codes, or clerk codes, individual employees can be linked to specific transactions. This means you can monitor each individual’s sales figures (i.e. their performance), which can help to motivate staff and build healthy competition in terms of individual sales figures.

Create Price Consistency

Maintaining consistency in pricing across multiple outlets can be problematic without a POS system. By implementing a POS system, you’ll have access to a digital product database through which you can amend product prices or apply special one-off deals. These amendments can be automatically applied across all business locations.

Applying consistent pricing helps to ensure customers receive the same level of service, regardless of which business location they use. As a consequence, your customers are more likely to use your services again in the future.


How Much Does a POS System Cost?

The overall cost depends on what you need. For example, humble cash registers for small businesses will cost around $500, giving you plenty of bang for your buck.

On the other end of the scale, a more advanced EPOS system that’s packed with features to help increase sales and productivity will likely cost $1,000 or so. These systems might also come with monthly fees, or require monthly subscription payments which you’ll need to consider.

Investing in a more advanced POS system will help reduce stress and save you money in the long run. How so? Well, compared to a simple cash register, a modern POS can help you serve a higher volume of customers, and it removes any human error that can lead to lost profits. The more you pay, the more your business and customers will benefit.

To ensure you get the most out of your money, and to learn exactly how much a POS system may cost you, check out our handy guide on the latest POS system costs and features.

Alternatively, you can receive quotes directly from top POS suppliers quickly and easily. Just tell us what you need on our form, and we’ll match your business POS suppliers that best suit your needs. They’ll then offer no-obligation quotes for you to compare. It’s quick, easy, and free to get started.


The Best POS System for Your Business

Finding the perfect POS system for your business can be tricky if you don’t know where to start – but we’re here to help. We’ve spent years researching and writing about the industry, so we know our way around a POS system.

Whether you’re in the retail, or restaurant and bar sector, the best POS systems for your business are made by:

  • Nobly
  • TouchBistro
  • ShopKeep
  • Lavu

Each of these suppliers can help streamline the processes of your business and increase sales, whether that’s by helping you process tableside orders more efficiently or scanning price tags more quickly.


Next Steps

We’ve given you the full lowdown on how EPOS systems can help your business. They can boost productivity, increase sales, reduce workplace stress, and keep your customers happy.

Investing in the right EPOS system could be the final jigsaw piece your business needs, and we can help you find it. Simply tell us what you need from your POS system on our quick form, and we’ll match your business with EPOS suppliers that best cater to your requirements.

You’ll then receive no-obligation quotes from those matched suppliers, allowing you to weigh up your options before spending a dime. It’s quick, easy, and totally free to get started.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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