Last Updated: April 26, 2023

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Read This Before Buying a POS System

A point of sale (POS) system is the modern version of a cash register. It incorporates advanced features such as a computer, monitor, scanner and advanced software with basic features such as a cash drawer and receipt printer.

Advanced POS systems are also capable of tracking and analyzing all sorts of data that can be used to make smart business decisions. Track sales, manage inventory and improve your bottom line.

About POS Systems

There are two basic types of POS systems: Those designed for retail stores and those designed for hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The POS systems are priced similarly, but the features and options are different. Hotels, spas and hair salons are among the businesses that also use POS systems.

If you’re still using a manual cash register, investing in a POS system will completely change the way you do business - for the better, of course. Some of the major benefits include:

  • Faster transactions - Get your customers in and out of the door faster. Make them happy while also increasing turnover.
  • Accurate pricing - A computerized system ensures that every item will be sold for the correct price. There’s no risk of staff members accidentally entering the wrong price or guessing on price when an item isn’t marked.
  • Less shrinkage - Every item is accounted for electronically when you have a POS system. Theft and waste will decline dramatically.
  • Inventory management - POS software can give you detailed reports on which items are selling and which are not. Use this information to make better purchasing decisions.
  • Marketing data - Collect information about customer habits and preferences to put together targeted marketing. Send regular customers a 10 percent off coupon, or entice occasional customers to come back by offering a free appetizer.
  • Better margins - A POS system’s detailed reports will help you identify which items are the most profitable and which are not beneficial to the business.

POS System

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Cost of POS Systems

The price of POS systems varies widely based on the level of technology, and the type and amount of hardware that is purchased.

You can buy a basic system off the shelf for about $1,000, but you’ll have to set it up yourself and there will be no tech support. Also, the software that comes with these systems often has limited capabilities.

In most cases, you’re looking at spending anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 on a complete POS system. That includes hardware such as a monitor, keyboard and barcode scanner; software; installation; training; customer support.

You could pay $6,000 for one top-of-the-line terminal with advanced software and a touchscreen monitor, for example. Or, you could pay $15,000 for more basic system with four terminals.

An Expert Comparison of Wired and Wireless POS Systems

Wired POS System Overview

POS (point of sale) systems are essentially the modern version of cash registers. They incorporate advanced components like a computer, monitor and scanner with simple features such as a cash drawer and receipt printer. Most POS systems are also capable of tracking and analyzing all sorts of data that is useful in making business decisions.

The vast majority of POS systems are “wired” - meaning they’re in a fixed location, tied to a landline connection and a power supply. Think of the checkout lines at the grocery store. Wired POS systems also are widely used in restaurant and hospitality industries.

How Much Do Wired POS Systems Cost?

Complete POS systems usually range in price from about $1,500 to $8,000 per terminal, depending on the level of technology and the amount of hardware. In this price range, you can expect the cost to include software, installation, training and customer support.

Wired POS Systems Pros

  • Price - Wired POS systems are an older technology and, thus, more affordable. As wireless technology grows in popularity, the prices are expected to fall even further.
  • Familiarity - Customers are used to seeing wired POS terminals. They’re accustomed to walking up to a fixed checkout area, not to being approached by a cashier with a handheld device.

Wired POS Systems Cons

  • Lack of mobility - With a wired system, your employees are fixed to a single location to ring up customers or enter orders. This means less time on the floor helping customers and interacting with them.
  • Size - Wired POS systems tend to be large and bulky, taking up a significant amount of floorspace. Wireless systems, on the other hand, fit into the palm of your hand.

Wireless POS System

Wireless POS Systems Overview

Wireless POS systems are quickly growing in popularity as technology improves. They perform all the same functions as traditional wired systems, but offer the convenience of a handheld device.

Wireless POS systems use handheld computers, PDAs or tablets. As barcodes are scanned or order information is entered, the system wirelessly transmits the information back to a base station. Wireless POS systems are also capable of processing credit cards.

A wireless POS system can transform the way you do business. Restaurant servers can send orders right from the table. Cashiers can ring up a purchase and print a receipt from anywhere in the store. Warehouse employees can use wireless POS to scan shelves and find out which items need to be restocked. The possibilities are almost endless.

How Much Do Wireless POS Systems Cost?

Wireless POS system bundle packages starts at about $4,000 to $6,000. This will get you one or two handheld terminals with built-in credit card processors, a wireless communication center, software and at least one printer. Additional handheld POS terminals usually cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500.

Wireless POS Systems Pros

  • More customer interaction - When your cashiers and servers are mobile, they can spend more time on the floor interacting with customers. They’re not tied to a fixed computer station.
  • Better productivity - Servers can give their customers better service when they’re not constantly running back and forth to a computer terminal. Cashiers can eliminate long lines by processing orders before a customer gets to the cash register.
  • Increased sales - Your employees will be able to process more transactions each day, leading to increased revenue.

Wireless POS Systems Cons

  • Price - You’ll pay more for a complete wireless POS system than you would for a complete wired system.

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