One thing that every retail store needs is a machine that processes transactions. These machines include a traditional or computerized cash register or a point of sale (POS) system. A huge question that many entrepreneurs ask themselves, before launching their business, is what machine they should invest in to process and record transactions. Cash registers have been around forever, but POS systems have gained considerable popularity in recent years. Choosing the right processing system depends on several factors.
Factors include the cost of the machine, how busy you anticipate your business will be, whether you will accept any coupon codes, the number of systems your store needs, and more.
What Is a Cash Register?
A cash register is a mechanical or electronic device designed to record and calculate sales transactions. It typically includes a cash drawer, a receipt printer, and physical buttons for entering product prices. Cash registers are known for their simplicity and straightforward functionality. They have been a staple in retail environments for decades, offering a reliable means of processing cash transactions.
Types of cash registers include mechanical cash registers, electronic cash registers (ECR), and POS cash registers—including countertop, mobile, and tablet based cash registers.
What Is a POS System?
A POS system, short for Point of Sale system, is a comprehensive solution that goes beyond the capabilities of a traditional cash register. A POS system integrates various elements, including hardware and software, to streamline the entire sales process. Unlike cash registers, POS systems can handle multiple payment methods, track inventory, generate detailed sales reports, and often provide more advanced features like customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
Which Do You Need: POS System vs Cash Register
The most significant difference between a cash register and a Point of Sale System (POS) would be the cost of each machine and the functionality they provide. If you aim to save money, the cash register is the cheaper option to go with. However, the feature of the POS System makes its selling price somewhat reasonable! Additionally, the performance of the cash register may not seem the best, and this functionality has a massive impact on your businesses’ sales and revenue. A mid-level cash register would typically cost about $300-800, whereas a POS system could set you back for about $100-300 per month.
There are three types of functionality retail store owners, and business entrepreneurs look for; software/hardware, till, and business functionality. Cash registers have a receipt printer and a built-in cash drawer to store money. This functionality can be found in POS systems, but it will work alongside the software separately. POS systems come with a touch screen, and cash registers have push buttons. The touch screen is a much better option to go with, especially if the business is anticipated to be busy, as it’s the quicker option, but there is always the chance of a system freeze. Most POS systems have credit card acceptance built into the software, but cash registers do not.
Coming to the till functions, POS systems and cash registers provide all the basic features needed to carry out transactions and sales, accepting cash payments, adding taxes and discounts, end-of-day reports, and refunds. The real difference is that POS systems have unlimited products and categories. In contrast, a cash register typically has up to 200 categories and 2,000 products, which is sufficient for a lot of businesses. While both these machines provide daily reports, a POS system produces much more detailed reports.
Business functions are where the POS systems shine. POS systems provide advanced analytics of the daily reports produced, whereas a cash register prints sales totals for each department. POS systems can use accounting software, manage digital timesheets, allocate gift cards and loyalty cards, track payments and inventory, and give reminders when your inventory is running low.
Breaking Down the Features
1. Payment Processing
- Primarily designed for cash transactions.
- Some modern models may accept card payments but lack the flexibility of POS systems.
- Accepts a variety of payment methods, including both credit cards and debit cards, mobile payments, and digital wallets.
- Enables seamless integration with payment processors for real-time transaction processing.
2. Inventory Management
- Limited or no inventory management features.
- Comprehensive inventory tracking, allowing businesses to monitor stock levels, receive alerts for low inventory, and automate reordering processes.
3. Sales Analytics
- Limited reporting capabilities, often manual and time-consuming.
- Generates detailed sales reports, providing insights into product performance, peak sales times, and customer purchasing behavior.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Does not typically include CRM features.
- Offers CRM tools to manage customer data, track purchase history, and implement loyalty programs.
Contact Us for Your Cash Register Solutions
The decision between a cash register vs POS system boils down to the unique needs and goals of your business. If you operate a small business with straightforward transaction processes and a limited budget, a cash register might suffice. However, for businesses aiming for efficiency, versatility, and advanced features, investing in a POS system could be the best choice.
Ultimately, the decision depends on factors such as budget constraints, the scale of operations, and the desire for business growth. As technology continues to advance, businesses have the opportunity to leverage innovative solutions that align with their specific requirements, ensuring a seamless and improved transaction experience.
Contact Dynamic Merchant Solutions today for your POS cash register, POS system, and other cash register needs. Our experts will help you determine the best fit for your business.