Best POS Systems - Deals & Discounts Guide

Top POS software systems are needed to handle multiple functions transactions. Read a deals and discounts guide to the best POS systems available today.

Operating a business was always a complicated process but for centuries the original point-of-sale (POS) was a simple, solitary cash register. Cash registers are still necessary but the POS process has progressed far beyond the exchange of cash for goods or services. Business owners need top-level POS software and systems to handle multiple types of monetary transactions occurring today. POS software also helps manage payroll, coordinate real-time data from multiple store locations and generate sales reports at the end of business days. Keep reading below for a guide to the best POS systems available for your business today.

Overview of Point of Sale (POS) Processes and Systems

Understanding modern POS systems involves first understanding the concept of a point a sale. A POS, also referred to as a point of purchase, is the location where a customer completes a transaction by paying for items (goods or products) or services. The POS is also where any sales tax is assessed and incorporated into the checkout price. POS processes are executed in-person at physical store locations. On-site POS terminals process debit and credit card purchases as well as transactions completed using virtual sales points via smartphones, computers or tablets. POS transactions also occur when customers make online purchases from home, which happens more frequently every month.

POS systems are comprehensive software systems used for a variety of purposes integral to operating a business. Ecommerce integration and contactless payment features are commonly included. Retail department stores selling large varieties of products frequently use separate POS systems for each product category or section of a store. For example, stores such as Boscov’s, Walmart and Target all sell jewelry, electronics, clothing, sporting goods and automotive products. Walmart also operates its own auto care centers and both Walmart and Target also sell groceries. Each one of these departments might utilize its own POS system, which helps to expand micro-marketing possibilities and attract customers to key sales funnel points at earlier opportunities.

Finding the Right POS for Your Business

POS systems use hardware, software, or both. Not every business requires POS hardware to function but every POS system on the market uses POS software. POS hardware involves physical devices used to collect payments from customers and process transactions. A cash register is the most common type of POS hardware. Food trucks, arts festival booths, musicians and any other type of mobile business might not need something so bulky, however. Smartphones and tablets are also POS hardwares, which function well for mobile and permanent-location businesses alike. Credit card readers, receipt printers and barcode scanners are also common POS hardware devices. A cash drawer is a secure (often hidden) location where businesses store cash made from daily sales. Cash drawers help reduce theft, and when connected to POS software also reduce fraud by tracking when the drawer is opened and closed.

POS Software - Typical Features

While all POS systems essentially serve the same purpose, many products go about the process by offering features unique to their respective platforms. This means some products do it all and others offer more limited albeit specialized functions. Payment processing is the primary function of most POS systems. Cash, contactless payment, secure eCommerce payments and chip or magstripe card transactions are all processed via POS softwares. POS software also processes card-not-present transactions when a customer does not have his or her card on-site or inputs payment information during an online checkout.

Inventory management is included in some POS software systems. Some POS software runs automated inventory processes, which alert you or your staff about products in need of refilling or purchase. POS reports not only display overall sales and profits but also include end-of-day reporting, which helps improve accounting accuracy and daily operational decisions. Additional POS software features include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) - analyzes, personalizes, and improves customer service, marketing and communications approaches.

  • Tipping functionality - allows customers to add tips at digital POS checkouts.

  • Employee management - involves team management software, which tracks employee clock-in and clock-out times; grants different levels of managerial and task access.

  • Digital and virtual receipt printing. 

POS Software - Products

Numerous POS software systems are on the market, but which one is best for your business? It is important to know if your business requires a full-service POS system or one with more isolated, specialized features. Amazon Go is an Amazon-facilitated concept convenience store, which allows customers to purchase items without going through a register. This type of forward-thinking customer-centric technology might drastically change how POS systems are used for a long time to come. Cloud-based POS systems such as Clover allow for real-time data updates from various store locations simultaneously, while also printing individual store and business-wide end-of-day reports. Additional POS software products and their best functions and features include:

  • Square (best overall; full-service features).

  • Vend by Lightspeed (best for businesses with one or more locations; top-rated inventory management tools).

  • Toast (best for restaurants; flexible per-transaction payment options).

  • SSI Casino and Hospitality POS (best for casinos; actionable real-time insights)

  • Shopify (best for eCommerce; optional advanced staff management and sales forecasting tools).

How to Decide Between Available POS Options

POS systems are integral for marketing purposes because customers make purchases at specifically strategic areas inside a store. Setting up various POS locations increases sales and so it is important to choose a POS best suited for your store layout, department types, and needs. Pricing is of course another important factor. Many POS manufacturing companies offer free trials. Others offer tiered levels of features in monthly or annual subscription plans. Prices range from free Square versions (with limited features) to $9 per month (Shopify) through $99 per month (Vend) and up.

Additional Factors to Consider

Factors to consider when purchasing POS system software include pricing, features, functionality and quality of customer service. The type of system you need (cloud, hardware included, etc.) is also important. Ease-of-use is significantly important because if your employees cannot understand your POS system’s operating requirements, mistakes will be made and profits lost.

POS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to a few frequently asked questions (FAGs) about POS systems include:

  • How does a POS support my business growth? - Some POS systems support multiple registers, outlets and strategic POS locations. Connecting all business locations to one database keeps you on top of important numbers every day of the year.

  • How is store and customer data protected? - POS systems use data encryptions services, which vary in parameters per provider.

  • Are there remote-access POS systems? Yes. Systems such as SmartPOS and Tray offer remote-access features.