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POS System - Point of Sale Systems

Select a Point of Sale (POS) System to Fit Your Business

The POS system market has two primary types of customers: retail operations and hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Retail POS System

Retail Point-of-Sale Systems

Leading retail point of sale software. Cash Register Express can handle all your retail point-of-sale payment processing as well as barcode scanning and inventory management. Along side these typical retail POS software needs, Cash Register Express also includes extra benefits and features that many other POS systems don't.

Retail POS System Key Features:

  • In-depth reporting
  • Faster transaction times
  • Faster employee training
  • Track customer history
  • Automate purchase orders

Computerized POS System

A computerized POS system can provide significant returns if your retail or hospitality business has annual revenues of around $700,000 to $900,000. For example, if a restaurant with 20 tables and an average check of $45 can increase turnover by one party per table, it'll make an extra $900 on a busy night. Below this level, an electronic cash register can probably meet your needs, unless you want the reporting features of a POS system or see it as an investment that can boost efficiency starting on opening day.

Keep in mind that realizing these benefits requires a commitment to utilizing the POS system capabilities to their fullest. Without appropriate training and ongoing analysis, even the most sophisticated POS system will be no more useful than a basic cash register.

Also make sure your business has "clean" electrical power. Fluctuations in the electrical supply from using blenders, slicers, microwaves, and other mechanical devices plugged into the same electrical circuit can easily cause enough noise in the power supply to wreak havoc with POS computer systems. You may need to filter power to eliminate troublesome spikes and noise before they get to your POS terminals or install a dedicated circuit with an isolated ground.

Choose Point of Sale (POS) System Computers & Software

A computer acts as the central component of a POS terminal, running the application. You can find complete PC-based POS systems or buy computers separately. When you buy all your hardware from one source, the reseller can take responsibility for the entire system, which can make setup and ongoing support easier. Some sellers even charge an extra fee if you supply your own computer.

If you buy computers separate from your POS system, coordinate the purchase with your POS system seller. Get exact specifications and follow them closely to avoid most compatibility problems. POS applications are not that demanding on the computer, so an average to low-end computer will usually get the job done. The computer does need to be upgradeable; some POS software requires newer operating systems.

Do not use your POS computers for anything other than POS. Especially resist the temptation to connect them to the Internet and use them for Web browsing or email. As with any computer systems, backups are important. When you have your POS system set up, create automated backup schedules.

Select POS system software

Most POS software packages offer similar functionality and you can safely assume that all major POS software handles standard customer transactions. POS software typically displays items and prices in a sale, handles taxes, returns, voids, payments (including credit card processing), layaways, and discounts, generates accounting reports, and tracks inventory. Restaurant POS software allows you to create checks by diner or table, place special orders, track orders per server, move diners from the bar to a table, generate waiting lists, and more. You may want to consider additional features depending on your business.


As you add features, POS software becomes more complicated and costly. Most major POS software publishers provide a software demo on their websites. Many even provide a full working version of the POS software either as a download or on CD. Using the software on your own can help you evaluate ease of use and judge stability. Know what you need POS software to do before comparing long lists of features. Draw up a list of factors that make your business unique. What unusual purchasing programs do you have? Do you offer incentives that require very detailed or specific tracking? Other questions to ask include:

Consider POS hardware & software compatibility

When choosing your POS system, you may want to look for a system with software that can run on any type of PC so you're not tied down to a particular vendor or platform. Some manufacturers use proprietary hardware, which gives you less flexibility to purchase upgrades and additional equipment from other sources. The primary advantage of proprietary systems is that software is written specifically to work with one piece of hardware, ensuring seamless compatibility.

Upgrading your POS system as your business grows is not only easy - it's almost expected. Regular software updates let you get access to the latest features. Upgrades may be included in your service contract, or may involve a small additional fee. Adding new hardware - entire new terminals, or new peripherals for existing terminals - is also generally easy, provided the hardware you add is compatible with your software. Buying "more of the same" is a good way to make sure everything connects smoothly.


Evaluate Point of Sale (POS) System Hardware

Most basic POS systems consists of a cash drawer, receipt printer, monitor, and an input device. Employees can use touch screens, programmable keyboards, scanners, or handheld terminals to enter data into a POS system.

Select additional hardware to finish out your POS system.

No matter which POS system hardware you choose, consider the environment where your employees will use it. Both keyboards and touch screens are available with varying levels of spill- and dust-proofing. When looking into handheld devices, ask about the "drop test." Units are rated for toughness according to how much of a fall they can survive. Preventative maintenance can be important. Simply vacuuming out the cases and lubing and cleaning printers can extend their lives considerably.

Remember you will need a merchant account and credit card processing set up with retail swipe rates for the POS System to actually work!

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