Point of sale systems have been making the lives of retailers, merchants and restaurateurs a lot easier for years. As technology advances, more traditional cash registers have started falling out of favor; new point sale systems make it easier for business owners and their employees to learn and operate a more efficient and useful system that quite simply functions as another employee.

As we move forward, let’s get back to basics and clear up any confusion between the terms POS, POS system and POS purchase.

What is a POS?

“POS” is an abbreviation for point of sale. A POS or point of sale generally means any location where a sale or transaction may take place. For retailers and restaurateurs, POS traditionally means the area surrounding the cashier or counter where payment is accepted during checkout.

If you look at the bigger picture, a POS or point of sale can easily mean a mall, a market or a city because these are locations where something likely is going to get bought or sold. Point of sale is also referred to as a point of purchase.

What is a POS System?

A POS System or point of sale system is the term used to describe a system of software and hardware that aid retailers and restaurants with sales, inventory management, analytics, reporting and employee management. A typical POS System consists of a computer that runs the POS software, a receipt printer, barcode scanner, credit card reader and an on-site server for legacy based point of sale systems. Cloud based POS systems that run on iPads and other handheld devices don’t need a physical server on-site because everything is accessed, saved and synced online.

What is the difference between a POS and cash register?

When you want to do more than ring up sales, you know it’s time to move from your cash register to a cloud-based POS system. While a cash register is a great place to store your…well, cash, a POS system acts an additional employee (or several employees) to your business. From helping you manage inventory to tracking customer preferences, managing loyalty programs, offering the tools to create a more personalized customer experience, tracking employee sales performance and giving you the data to run reports that will help guide your business decisions, a POS becomes a key component of any commerce or hospitality business.

What is a mobile POS (mPOS)?

Bringing your entire business with you wherever you go is only possible when you use a mobile, tablet or iPhone-based POS system. From busting line ups within your store by ringing in sales from the line to showing customers images of additional products and bringing your entire store to a trade show with you, a mobile POS allows a whole new level of management.

How do retail stores benefit from using a POS?

Retailers using a POS system will be able to run reports based on past sales, track employee performance, remember what visitors bought on past visits and ensure that they’re keeping the right stock on their shelves. A POS system saves store owners, bookkeepers and sales staff time by taking care of repetitive tasks and automating manual processes.

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