Cash Registers VS. POS Systems


If you are running a retail business or you are planning to start one in the future, you should think of the best way to incorporate technology that will make it easy for you to process sales and ring up customers. As a business owner, think of the best way to improve your business effectiveness, especially in serving customers. However, choosing the right tool for your retail store might not be as easy as it sounds. Traditional cash registers used to be very popular some years back, but the entry of POS systems on the market has made it difficult for some investors to choose the right technology between the two.


Typically, a retail store serving thousands of customers per day needs a system that will make it easy to manage all the sales transactions. Point of sale (POS) system and Cash register are the popular technologies used in many retail stores, and some businesses use them interchangeably. However, they are not the same. The systems differ in different ways, but they all help in easing business transactions. Depending on what your business needs, you can choose either of them. Let’s now break it down for you to understand how cash registers and POS systems differ and work.

Cash Register 

In simple terms, a cash register is a business machine that comes with a money drawer and shows every amount of sale as well as recording the money coming in and going out of your retail store. The cash register logs all money transactions taking place in your business, making it easy for you to manage cash flow and help you to monitor sales. Some cash registers can even calculate the taxes, sales, and profits that you have made for a certain period and generate receipts for each transaction. The majority of cash registers are used in department stores and grocery stores.


The development of cash registers has come a long way since the first one was invented in 1896 by James Ritty, a cigar, whiskey, and wine merchant as a way to curb employee theft in his business. The technology succeeded, and many business owners installed a cash register in their stores. Even today, employee theft is a big challenge facing many retailers, and it’s the second-most leading cause of business losses and shrinkage. Initially, the cash registers were used manually before the electronic ones came into the market, like the ones you see in restaurants. The primary cash register handles cash transactions, but the latest models have been fitted with different features to execute more functions. A simple cash register is very cheap, but if you need to incorporate it with more features like scales, barcode scanner, and credit card reader, then you should be ready to invest more money.


Why install a cash register in your retail store?

There are many reasons why cash registers are popular and will continue being used in different retail stores. They offer the following benefits to the user;


Cash registers are very affordable, and many retail stores, such as small businesses, prefer using them in their stores. With as low as $100, you can get a cash register to process cash transactions tail store. That’s why small businesses, such as groceries and restaurants, are still using technology today. With the cash registry, you are not required to pay any monthly charges or even pay for regular software updates.


Cash registers are known for their long and impressive lifespan. The machine can serve you for over 20 years and still be in good condition if you take good care of it. That assures users value for their money, and it could be one of the many reasons why many businesses prefer them over modern POS systems.


How about the POS system?

POS system is a modern technology used by retailers to monitor and execute purchases in the store. Point of Sale systems are almost the same as the cash registers, and they mostly perform the same functions, but POS comes with more advanced features. In short, the POS system can execute everything that is done by cash registers, but the cash register cannot do everything a POS system can do.

You can use the POS system to administer cash transactions, monitor your inventory as well as managing your employees. On the other hand, the POS system can serve as a key sales strategizing technology as it provides sales reports and an in-depth analysis of your business and individual product performance. You can use the sales report to come up with the best marketing and sales master plan and enhance your overall sales. In terms of monitoring your inventory, there are POS systems that notify your suppliers automatically when the stock goes down. That means you will not need to keep calling your suppliers; the system will make it easy for you.


Why go for POS systems?

Majority of the modern retail stores prefer using POS systems to help in managing their sales transactions, and you should also consider using them due to the following reasons;

  • Offers smart inventory management– when a customer buys a product from your store, the POS system updates your inventory automatically. The system will also notify you automatically when the stock goes down. Some POS systems alert your suppliers once the stock is down.
  • Helps in making better decisions–POS systems provide you with sales reports and product performance, which helps you in making the right decisions in terms of what to stock and when to do it. Advanced analytics will inform your future marketing strategy.
  • Customer management–POS systems come with features such as customer loyalty programs that award and reward loyal customers. It also collects customer data, such as email, to help in targeted customer marketing.
  • Software integrations–POS systems allow you to use more than one technology to enhance your business effectiveness. You will rarely come across a single POS system with everything you need; you will have to integrate it with other software to solve all your business needs.


Cash Registers VS. POS Systems, which is the best?

It’s hard to tell the best between the two authoritatively. It all depends on your business needs and your budget. If cash registers are okay for your business, then go for it. For the large retail stores, POS systems will be the best option but also weigh out the options and get the right technology for your retail store. Remember, some retail stores use both cash register and POS systems simultaneously.