Cash Register versus Point of Sale


Common Reasons Businesses Upgrade from Cash Registers to POS Systems

Is Your Cash Register Costing You Money?

The cash register was invented in 1879. It was invented by James Ritty and his brother in Ohio. The brothers named it “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.” Ritty was a saloon owner who was worried one of his employees was stealing money. Since that time the cash register has not changed all too much, it still serves as a simple machine to calculate sales with a drawer to store cash and change.

When you think of a cash register, does a clunky machine come to mind? If it does, it might be time to take a look at what modern, online cash registers can do for your store.

While traditional cash registers might have been the norm for retailers of years past, modern devices look and work a little differently now. Shops that are still holding on to the traditional machines or other outdated legacy systems might be missing out on valuable benefits that range from added flexibility to improving their sales through data and analytics. 

Retailers today, whether running a kiosk or managing multiple store locations, are faced with the reality of finding smarter ways to run their store all while staying current with what consumers expect from their in-store experience.

Let’s take a look at how an online cash register can take your business to the next level.

  • What is a cash register?
  • What is an online cash register?
  • Difference between a regular cash register and a POS
  • Benefits of switching to a point of sale or online cash register

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What is a cash register?

A cash register or till is a mechanical device that rings up sales, does basic calculations and holds money. That’s the traditional meaning of the word. Pretty simple right?  

For better or for worse, cash registers have been the go-to piece of equipment for anyone setting up shop. First hitting the market in 1870, by 1915 a total of 1.5 million cash registers were sold worldwide. Although it has evolved since its conception, a standard cash register can only do what it was designed to do—basic functions and minimal reporting (if any). 

Fast forward to today, and the cash register does quite a bit more. Yes, it still rings up sales and may still hold money, but a cash register, in its traditional form, is on it’s way out. 

In today’s over-saturated retail market, retailers need to think long and hard about their approach to succeed in their respective verticals.


What is an online cash register? 

The point of sale system (POS), or what some call an online cash register, is the modern-day incarnation of a traditional cash register, and is now considered the standard.

Online cash registers do much more than just compute sales. From offering inventory management to in-depth reporting, point of sale systems offer retailers a full range of tools to manage the ins and outs of their store, whether that’s online or in a physical establishment. 

“Basic cash registers — and really, cash itself — are analog dinosaurs in the digital jungle of financial transactions. It’s time for them to check out”.  PC World.

Difference between a regular cash register and a POS

A cash register in the traditional sense is entirely different from a POS system. Sure, a POS can ring in sales and hold onto cash, because it’s a tool for managing your entire business. 

For retailers, modern systems have inventory management aspects that give you the tools to upload and manage your stock, manage employees, check historical figures to make sales projections, improve customer service and more. Essentially, a POS streamlines every aspect of running a single-location or multi-store retail business. 

Basic cash registers, on the other hand, are limited in their capabilities and can only handle things like basic day-to-day operations such as logging transactions, making calculations or generating receipts. 


Benefits of switching to a point of sale or online cash register 

Updating your cash register to a POS will not only modernize your day-to-day operations, but it will also give your store a wealth of data that will help you see your business in a completely different light. 

From giving your business flexibility and access to data, to creating efficiencies, a POS has countless benefits that will transform the way you do business. 

Upgrading your cash register to a POS will help you:

  1. Save time and money
  2. Add flexibility and convenience
  3. Provide omnichannel capabilities 
  4. Take advantage of customer relationships management tools
  5. Access in-depth reporting and analytics

Save time and money

A POS can save you time by automating your more repetitive or time-consuming tasks and help reduce instances of human error. 

While traditional cash registers served their purpose for many years, they also required a sizable amount of manual efforts from store employees and owners. For any business, minimizing manual data input is essential when looking for efficiencies in reducing the time required to accomplish simple or complex daily tasks and minimize errors. 

An online cash register or POS provides cashiers with automated tools to process payments, look for inventory, refund orders and even order from suppliers, all in one place and without the need for extensive human intervention. 

Add flexibility and convenience 

While a traditional cash register requires for all transactions to take place with you physically in front of the cash register, an online cash register paired with the right system allows for more flexibility. 

Employees can walk around the store, so your staff have the ability to approach customers, check inventory levels or even process transactions right on the spot. This not only adds a great modern visual element to your store, but it also adds a level of convenience for your employees—saving them a lot of time during their already-busy days.

A POS also allows stores to offer a wider range of payment options and offer fast and safe mobile transactions. From paying with cash or credit to offering modern methods of payment like Apple Pay, having a POS lets you give your customers the options and peace of mind they need. Protecting your business from fraud and human error is essential in ensuring the safety of your business and your customers’ wallets. 

Provide omnichannel capabilities 

With eCommerce sales experiencing the highest jump ever in sales, reaching 211 billion dollars in Q2 of 2020 (a 31% increase from Q1), it’s no doubt that having a system in place that works seamlessly with your online store has become synonymous with surviving or succeeding in the new retail landscape. 

While you could only rely on your traditional cash register to handle sales for a specific physical store, an online cash register or POS gives you a wide net of possibilities by communicating with your other POS systems and your ecommerce shop. A POS provides store owners with a centralized place to handle everything related to their business, facilitating access to information across stores and also helping them create a seamless experience across channels, whether online or physical.

For example, if a customer is researching a product online in your eCom store and decides to go to your store to purchase it, your integrated omnichannel system will be able to let them know things like in-store availability and even offer them the option to buy online and pick up in store. Offering your customers this level of flexibility and consistency across channels and having a POS that integrates seamlessly with your ecommerce shop will help you meet the modern-day omnichannel demands of your shoppers. 

Take advantage of customer relationship management tools 

Creating and strengthening relationships with customers is an essential part of any business. With a POS you get access to new ways of managing customer information as well as loyalty programs that incentivize purchases and nurture your connections with your customer base. 

Now, when a customer walks into your store, you’re able to gather important information like their name, contact information and past purchases. With this information, you can start building a profile for your customer and even shape and personalize their customer service or the type of offers you send their way via loyalty programs. An online cash register is much more than just just a cash register—it can also be a rewards program, a marketing tool and a treasure chest of customer insights. 

Having a POS is a way of going beyond regular transactions and interactions and investing in your future relationships with your customers.  

Access to in-depth reporting and analytics 

A cash register fulfills the function of storing physical money and recording transactions throughout the day, however analyzing the input data is left up to you. Having raw data is one thing, but having access to reporting tools that you can understand, dissect and get actionable insights from is another thing entirely. 

A robust online cash register has analytical tools and reports that provide priceless insight into your business, guiding your business decisions and as a result helping you grow your business substantially. From tracking employee performance to checking sales, profits and trends with built-in revenue reports, a POS helps business owners look beyond the numbers, and truly understand their business inside out. 

With a regular cash register, you wouldn’t be able to know which inventory has been sitting too long or which has been flying off the shelves, or even which employees are cashing in more sales. Figuring this information out would require more manual labor, research and time—all valuable things that most store owners don’t have enough of. With a POS, you’d have access to this type of information and more, by simply accessing your reports and dashboards. Easy right? 


Modernize your business with an online cash register 

As technology evolves and more businesses adopt point of sale software, those relying on outdated systems will lag behind their competitors. From increased convenience, reporting and analytics capabilities, reduced manual labor and the image of your business, there is a lot to gain by looking for contemporary solutions for your retail needs.

It’s time to ditch the old cash register and take a step into the future of commerce.