Top Examples of Retail POS Systems

Retail POS system

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In a competitive retail market, a smooth customer experience is a key element of making your business stand out from the crowd.

With nearly 15 years of experience of covering the business world, we can categorically say that an efficient point of sale (POS) system goes a long way towards reaching that goal.

If you’re wondering which to choose, it’s a fair question. There are many POS systems out there and finding one suited to your specific business can be tricky, but we can help if you use our free comparison tool. Through it, we’ll match you with the providers best suited to your business and they’ll reach out to you with custom quotes in no time!

Of course, just like your customers, when you’re browsing for something, it pays to know what you’re looking for. To that end, why not learn from the very best? In this article, we’ll go over the POS systems of some of the biggest top-tier retail chains, allowing you to take a peek into their inner workings and helping you decide which features to search for when choosing yours.

What are the top 5 retail POS systems?

  1. Square – Best overall
  2. Clover – Best for medium-sized businesses
  3. Vend – Best for scalability
  4. Zettle – Best for start-ups
  5. SpotOn – Best for small businesses

Clicking any of the links above will you to compare quotes to find the right POS system for your business.

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0 out of 0







  • Free: $0/month
  • Plus: $60/month


  • Lean – $69
  • Standard – $119
  • Advanced – $199



Software: from $25/month

Hardware: from $15/month


for Retailers with Multiple Locations




for Medium-sized Businesses


for Scalability


for Start-ups


for Small Businesses

  • In-built CRM system
  • Extensive report templates
  • Advanced inventory management
  • Free POS app
  • Suited to small businesses
  • Handheld POS system
  • Easy to use
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Several payment methods
  • No monthly fee/contract
  • 24/7 support
  • Inbuilt marketing tools
  • Omnichannel catalog
  • Costly
  • Not as comprehensive as other POS systems
  • Lack of features
  • Third party apps do not always integrate well
  • Shopify integration does not always work well
  • Phone support only available on weekdays
  • Lack of transparent pricing
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What Is a Retail POS System?

Before we delve into examples of retail POS systems, it’s worth mentioning what they are. A retail POS system is an electronic solution handles your business’s transactions and tracks stock in real time. While all POS systems deliver this, retail POS systems pack more features important to retailers (such as advanced inventory management) than their hospitality counterparts.

The best retail POS systems give businesses the tools to make informed decisions that expand operations and strengthen customer loyalty, with the help of customer relationship management (CRM) integration. Simplifying your processes makes it easier to transform your business. 

Now it’s time to see how retail leaders make their POS systems work harder for them.

Retail POS system
A POS system will boost your store's efficiency and payment-taking capabilities

What POS System Does Best Buy Use?

Tech giant Best Buy has looked to E3 Retail for its POS solution needs, and those needs are certainly being met. 

Best Buy had a rethink in terms of how a POS system can ensure a positive customer experience. E3 Retail’s ADVANTAGe POS won out as Best Buy’s top choice due to it placing the customer at the heart of its operations. 

Assisting a customer, just like relying on a stranger for directions, hinges on simplicity. Without a straightforward system, businesses are essentially directing customers right towards their competitors. E3 Retail has enabled Best Buy’s staff to painlessly access its POS system across multiple devices. Whether its a mobile tablet, kiosk, or POS register, staff are always equipped to quickly serve customers around the store. 

For businesses like Best Buy, time is precious. An intuitive system cuts down the time it takes to train new staff, and the time it takes for those trained staff to complete transactions. Better yet, Best Buy’s service is not only timely, but its prices are up to the minute with E3 Retail’s ADVANTAGe Enterprise Promotions Engine. Customers are never in the dark about how much something costs, or the deals that make those items cost less. 

NFC Readers Removed

Best Buy originally installed NFC (near field communications) readers in many of its stores. These readers are used to support contactless payment systems such as Google Wallet and Softcard.

But Best Buy eventually nixed its NFC readers, instead opting to throw its hat into the contactless payment ring with Best Buy Pay. Via Best Buy’s app, customers can link up their Best Buy credit and debit cards with their phones for hassle-free payments.

What POS System Does Home Depot Use?

Home Depot uses POS systems that incorporate technology from Microsoft, NCR, Fujitsu, and 360 Commerce.


Until 2010, Home Depot ran NCR software on its NCR machines at its self-checkout stations. Since then, NCR machines are still in use, but Fujitsu supplies the software. 

What prompted such a change? Well, after initial tests, Best Buy found that Fujitsu’s software increased the operating speed of each NCR machine by approximately 20%. 

Mobile Payments

Home Depot partners with PayPal to incorporate its POS system in their stores for customer payments, using either a PayPal card or a cell phone number and PIN code.

The company has also integrated mobile POS transactions with over 30,000 mobile devices, to ensure more efficient processing of payments and improve customer service.

What POS System Does JCPenney Use?

JCPenney currently uses NCR RealPOS 82XRT POS terminals in its stores.

This modern POS system offers touchscreen displays and thermal receipt printers, which JCPenney feels enhances customer service.

Additionally, as the system is easy to use and maintain, and allows for new applications in the future, the company has plenty of room to evolve. 

The NCR RealPOS 82XRT has loads of great features. Some of the best include:

  • A very large memory (up to 32GB), which is perfect for a large department store chain like JCPenney
  • Fast processing terminals with powerful Intel Core i5-2400 processors that speed up the checkout process
  • Very little downtime due to extremely reliable terminals, which is the one thing most stores want over any other feature
  • Terminals are quick and easy to service

Mobile Processing

JCPenney has also shifted its strategy to embrace omnichannel technologies. By bringing buy-online, pick-up-in-store, mobile POS, and a new app into the fold, JCPenney looks to accommodate all potential customers, no matter how they pay. The more options a customer has, the better it is for your business’s growth. 

JCPenney has proven its commitment to its new mobile vision by switching out over a third of its POS units with mobile devices. 

Every JCPenney employee now carries an iPod Touch or iPad with them around the shop floor, which can be used to take payment from customers anywhere in the store. Like other major stores, JCPenney is using mobile processing devices to enhance its traditional checkout process, rather than replace it entirely.

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What POS System Does Kroger Use?

Leading grocery chain Kroger has also sensed the winds of change. By partnering with OneView Commerce, it’s also aiming to improve its customer experience with cloud-based omnichannel technology. Kroger has housed POS, inventory, and promotional capabilities under one cohesive interface, no matter the device being used. 

Customer demands are always changing. Kroger is looking to stay ahead of the curve by uniting with ecommerce company Miraki to create an online marketplace that extends its customer reach. Through a core group of third-party sellers, Kroger will gain an added 50,000 products in its inventory, ready to ship directly to their customers. 

What POS System Does Lowe’s Use?

Lowe’s Home Improvement Center uses BEETLE POS terminals from Wincor Nixdorf. It runs Linux software on these terminals, as it is faster than Windows and other alternatives.

Other benefits Lowe’s representatives have cited about the BEETLE POS system is that it is very easy to maintain, which provides savings as they don’t need to upgrade hardware as frequently as their competitors.

iPhone POS

Lowe’s also runs its POS system based on the iOS platform. Employees are on hand with iPhones that allow staff members to take payments from anywhere in the store, by way of Lowe’s custom app.

The advantage of equipping relevant staff members with iPhones is that, as well as acting as an extremely mobile POS system, staff can also use the phones to call, email, text, and deal with customer queries on the go.

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What POS System Does Macy’s Use?

Macy’s chain of department stores uses a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) POS system. This RFID system combines in-store touchscreens with wifi, and utilizes an interactive display to show product information. POS touch screens are provided by Verifone, whie the RFID readers are manufactured by Motorola.

This system also allows product inventory to be checked more regularly, improving store-to-door services and ensuring products can be positioned more accurately and efficiently in-store based on customer demand.

What is an RFID POS System?

An RFID enables a POS to scan electronic tags or chips as well as barcodes. These are much easier to put through the system, as they don’t need to be placed directly under the scanner like with a barcode. It’s perfect for large stores with a high footfall, like Macy’s.

With RFID technology, several items can be scanned at once. In theory, all the items a customer is going to be purchasing could be placed in a bag and then placed on the POS, which will be able to recognize all the items without having to take them out and scan them all separately.

Macy’s RFID system also integrates with handheld POS terminals, which also speeds up the checkout process as customers have more places to pay.

Another benefit for Macy’s since it switched to an RFID system is that this increased the speed at which it could conduct product inventories. The readers put in place are more than twenty times faster than the previous system used, and work at a high accuracy rate of 95%.

What POS System Does Target Use?

Target utilizes its own in-house POS system, which has been developed by its IT department, Target Technology Services. Each store has its own servers capable of running about 30 registers, and these are supported by a third party IT services provider whose technicians are trained in Target store procedures. Target stores do not employ full-time IT staff.

Over the last few years, Target has significantly upgraded its IT infrastructure. Each store now operates with two servers, which run the company’s custom POS system. Having two servers per store means Target can run up to 30 cash registers, as well as inventory, stock control, and pharmacy databases.

Target runs most of its POS software on Microsoft, although its pharmacy runs on Linux. The entire POS process is extremely smooth and works in tandem with the Inventory Management software, which means that Target is able to understand the demand for every product it sells, right up to the second.

Target was also the leader in adopting electronic signature pads, which has only helped to speed up the purchasing process. Though in the past Target has opted to use IBM, VeriFone, and Hypercom hardware for electronic signature pads, today it uses a customized version of the Hypercom Optimum L4150.

What POS System Does Walmart Use?

Walmart utilizes a custom-built solution for its over 11,000 stores worldwide, using SUSE Linux Enterprise Point-of-Service (SLEPOS) – an open-source operating system – as base.

Befitting its sheer size, Walmart invested in a technology that can handle high transaction volumes and also is incredibly integrated – a must for a company with as many physical locations as this.

By opting to start with SLEPOS and then adding their own twists instead of building the whole system from the ground up, Walmart bypassed many of the early hindrances of such a massive project. Plus, with SLEPOS giving it the flexibility it needed, Walmart was able to come up with a solution that can keep track of inventory across countries.

Impressively, it also packs two integrated mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions: one, called Check Out with Me, is specifically designed for easy checkout at its Garden Center locations. The other, named Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), effectively transforms any smartphone owned by a Walmart employee into a POS system. Through it, they’re able to search products, view prices and control inventory levels on the go.

Next Steps

A whistle stop tour of how top retail chains make their POS systems work for them is great, but finding out which POS system works best for you and your budget is even better. We are here to set you on the right track towards transforming your business. 

Coming to a decision on which supplier gels with the ambitions of your business can be daunting, but we can certainly help – just give free comparison tool a try. Through it, we’ll match you with the providers best suited to your business and they’ll reach out to you with custom quotes, allowing you to compare them and select the one most poised to help you on your growth.

How We Test POS Systems for Businesses

We tested 16 market-leading POS systems to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, price, features, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to US businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in eight main categories of investigation and 45 subcategories – in fact, we covered 61 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!

Our main testing categories for POS systems are:

Till: the core functionality of the POS system which includes the processing of sales transactions. It involves features such as item scanning, item look-up, and price calculation.

Business Management: the features and tools provided by the POS system to support various aspects of running a business, such as employee management, shift scheduling, and customer management.

Stock Management: the POS system's capabilities to manage inventory and track stock levels including inventory tracking, stock alerts and transfers, and purchase order management.

Business Development: the features and tools provided by the POS system to help businesses grow and improve their operations, e.g. customer relationship management, marketing integrations, and sales forecasting.

Usability: how easily and intuitively the POS system can be used by the staff, including the user interface design, navigation, ease of training, and overall user experience during setup.

Price: the cost associated with acquiring and using the POS system, such as the initial purchase cost, licensing fees, subscription plans, and any additional charges or ongoing costs.

Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using the POS system, including documentation, tutorials, or knowledge bases.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the POS product. This can include dedicated restaurant and retail functionality including KDS, loyalty management and multi employee login.



Which is the best POS system for retail?
Square is the best POS system for restaurants, according to our deep-dive research, where it scores a high 4.7/5. Its low initial cost and iteration fully dedicated to the hospitality sector (Square for Retail) helped it get the top spot in our best retail POS systems ranking.
How can I find the right POS system for my business?
The right POS system for your business will be the one that handles basic payment functions but ideally also gives you insights of your activity, allowing you to track sales and inventory and helping you ahead. Some of the best POS systems offers data reports that serve that function.
What should I look for in a POS system?
When browsing for a POS system, you should look for a pricing structure that suits your business and for features that are useful to your current operation but that also foster growth. This is to ensure the system will fit within your budget and that you’ll reap the full benefits of the POS system you’re choosing.
What are the four types of POS systems?
The four types of POS systems are: terminal (which are based on specific hardware), mobile (which can be used on smartphones and tablets), cloud-based (which are run entirely online), and open-source (which uses free-to-use source code and is therefore free of charge).
How much does a POS system cost?
POS systems typically cost around $1,250 for an upfront investment and then around $1,000 per year to use the software
Written by:
Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.
Reviewed by:
Ruairi uses his 3+ years of research experience to uncover insights which can help Expert Market provide the best business solutions for their users. He has done this by meeting with business owners to find out what is important to them and what challenges they face on a daily basis. Ruairi specialises in tools that can be used to grow your business and has done research for a wide range of categories on Expert Market, such as EPOS, Website Builders, and Merchant Accounts.