How to Choose a POS Cash Register System
It’s been over 150 years since bar-owner James Jacob Ritty invented the cash register as a solution to his problem of barkeeps stealing from the till. He likely didn't imagine that the hundred-pound chuck of metal he’d created would become one of the retail and service industries most useful inventions. Over the past 150 years advancements in payment technologies have driven the evolution of the cash register design to something drastically different from the relic invented by Mr. Ritty.
Today, Point of Sale Systems (POS) are the preferred tool for performing and recording transactions between customers and merchants. Often called Cash Register Systems, POS systems offer a multichannel experience for both retailers and consumers. In a world where cash is no longer king, a POS System is essential.
That’s because POS systems offer a more comprehensive business experience, and they do things that cash registers simply can’t. POS systems track inventory, manage invoicing, manage customer information, seamlessly integrate with loyalty and accounting programs and more. POS systems also allow for contactless payment, a growing trend even before the pandemic.
So, if you’re wondering how to choose a cash register system for your business here are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
What Are Your Plans?
- Before you can settle on the right cash register system for your business, you’ll need to revisit your business plan. Is expansion to multiple locations in your future? Depending on the plan, you will need to consider the scalability of the system to ensure it can support your goals.
- You’ll also want to consider the number of inventory items you carry. If you sell only a few products or services, then a simple cash register system with a cash drawer and credit card machine may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you have hundreds or even thousands of items to be tracked, a point of sale system with inventory management features that integrates with your accounting software would be the better choice.
- Finally, you'll also want to consider your budget. If not in the position to dish out for a brand new system with all the bells and whistles, you may want to consider a refurbished system from a reputable seller.
Back to Basics
A POS Cash Register System can include many components such as a barcode printer, receipt printer, cash drawer, customer pole display, and POS software to name a few. Elements of both hardware and software need to be carefully selected based on specific company requirements. However, a basic POS system should include the following equipment;
- POS computer
- POS Software
- Credit Card Terminal
- Cash Drawer
- Receipt Printer
- Customer Pole Display
- Barcode Scanner
- Barcode Printer
The POS computer – The Heart of the POS System
The central element to a Point of Sale System, the POS computer should be selected to meet the requirements of your business. Available as all-in-one units with integrated monitors, or you may choose the elements (monitor, PC, keyboard) separately, they are designed to run credit card processing and POS software. Built specifically for the environment in which they will be used, POS computers are generally more rugged than the home PC., and offer a variety of features, such as fanless (for messy environments), extra RAM, touch screen monitors, and more. As this is the core element in your Point of Sale System, reaching out to an expert such as PointOfSalePOS.com is highly recommended, either to answer your questions, or review your plan.
POS Software – The Brain of the System
Basic POS software provides the functionality for processing payments, managing pricing, invoicing, and tracking inventory. But it can do so much more. Some homework needs to be done before selecting software. Before you start looking around, make a list of what you need most from your POS system now, and in the future. While a restaurant POS will obviously need different features than that of a beauty salon POS, or retail store POS, it is less obvious that it could need different features than a fast-food restaurant. Do you need scheduling, e-commerce integration, table planning, consignor database, integration with QuickBooks, marketing and loyalty programs, in-depth reporting, etc.? A POS System, with the right software becomes the hub of your business, bringing together sales, inventory, customers and suppliers all within one software platform, providing you with the complete picture of your company health.
Another point to consider is who will be using the system? This point is especially important for retail and restaurant environments where employee turn-over may be high. While there are several inexpensive software options available, no business can afford to invest their time training staff on software that is difficult to learn. It is important to review the usability of the software, and the support available prior to selecting.
With the right software your POS system is your number one tool in offering your customers better service, increasing efficiency and business organization, reducing employee errors, reducing overall costs and improving your company image.
Credit Card Machine
In an increasingly cashless society, giving your customers payment options is a must. What credit card processing machine does your local convenience store use? There is very little chance you can answer that question. To the customer, they are all the same... until something goes wrong. As a business owner you need to ensure that the customer has a pleasant (or at the least - unremarkable) check-out experience. A slow or unreliable payment processing machine can effect your bottom line. Modern credit card machines come in a variety of designs and range from offering basic transaction functions to impressive machines that integrate other applications to streamline the sales process.
While more and more people are using credit and debit cards for payments, cash transactions are still a significant part of purchasing making a cash drawer an essential component of your POS cash register system. Cash drawers come in a variety of sizes, security levels and configurations. From heavy-duty cash drawers framed with reinforced steel and premium latching and roller systems, to basic manual cash drawers, and everything in between. POS Cash Drawers may be opened via signal from a computer, printer, Ethernet, Bluetooth, or a simple press of a button depending on the solution that is the best fit for your business.
There are three main types of POS printers: thermal, impact and ink jet.
- Thermal receipt printers print quickly by direct contact between the thermal head and thermal paper, using heat – ink or toner are not needed.
- Impact receipt printers (kitchen printer) use tiny pins and an ink ribbon to produce a series of dots that form the characters on the receipt. Impact printers are often used for kitchen environments, as thermal printers don't work well in heat and humidity.
- Ink jet printers use liquid ink to print high quality, color logos or graphics. Ideal for companies that require high quality printing of graphics. Replacement of ink is costly.
The type of printer is not your only consideration. Print speed, resolution, how much counter space it takes, ruggedness, etc., are all factors to consider.
If you only have a few items in inventory, or low traffic at the register, you may not need a laser barcode scanner. But if you regularly have line ups at the cash, or have more than a couple dozen items in stock, a barcode scanner is a smart investment. Not only does it make the check-out process quicker for the customer, it also reduces errors and assists with inventory tracking.
Use the Resources Available
Now you have a pretty good idea of the basics of putting together your POS System and are thinking of making a purchase. PointOfSalePOS.com understands that POS Systems are not a one-size-fits-all solution, just like your business is not like everyone else's. We also understand that this is a significant investment and we want to help you ensure a seamless integration. PointOfSalePOS.com has the expertise and experience to answer your questions and support you in this process. We take care of your POS, so you can take care of your customers.