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Types of POS Systems for Retail: 4 Options

A point of sale (POS) system is the glue holding any retail business together. It makes sales possible, makes inventory management a breeze, and gives you the tools you need to scale and grow. 

When choosing a tool that’s fundamental to your small business’ success, you need to know exactly what your options are — and the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

Let’s take a look at what a POS system is and what types of POS systems for retail are available on the market. 

What Is a POS System?

A point of sale system is the foundation of all successful retail businesses. Your POS system is responsible for every sales transaction in your store, making it absolutely essential to your operations. 

But a POS system is more than just a tool to process transactions; it also tracks your stock, generates in-depth sales reports, manages your customer loyalty program, and more. 

Since your POS solution touches every aspect of your small business, choosing the right type of system is critical for your store’s growth. 

Let’s explore each of your options, as well as their main pros and cons. 

1. Cash Register: The Basic Choice

A standalone cash register is the simplest type of POS system for retail. This basic tool allows you to ring up customers’ purchases, accept payments, and issue receipts. 

Most cash registers also generate basic sales reports, allowing you to review your transactions at the end of each day. 

The main advantage of choosing a cash register as your POS solution is that they’re straightforward, easy to use, and uncomplicated. You won’t have to spend time learning and implementing a new system, allowing you to start making sales almost immediately. 

On the other hand, cash registers lack many of the key features that retail businesses need to grow. A cash register can’t help you manage inventory, identify sales trends in your historical data, or attract new customers using marketing integrations or a loyalty program. 

2. Tablet POS System: A Mobile Solution

If you spend most of your time on the sales floor, a tablet POS system might be your best bet. 

This type of POS system for retail gives you access to your POS software from anywhere in your store, giving you the freedom to assist customers, adjust your product displays, or count inventory while keeping your POS software in the palm of your hand. 

While a tablet POS system offers great flexibility, these systems often have less robust back office functionality. For example, sales and inventory reports might not be as detailed or as customizable. 

3. Traditional POS System: The Reliable Option

A traditional POS system is a solution that stores your business’ information on a local server inside your store. These systems don’t require an internet connection to process sales and sync data, meaning that they’re always reliable. 

Though dependable, the required on-site hardware for traditional POS systems means that they’re often costly. These systems also don’t scale well as your store grows, since you can’t easily sync data between two different locations. 

It’s worth noting that many POS providers now offer hybrid solutions, which combine the reliability of a traditional POS system with the flexibility of a cloud-based option. We’ll talk more about cloud-based POS systems in the next section. 

4. Cloud-Based POS System: The Best Choice

If you’re looking for ultimate flexibility, functionality, and scalability, then you need a cloud-based POS system for your store. 

This type of POS system for retail allows you to access your store’s data from anywhere, at any time — giving you the freedom to manage your inventory, review your sales, and keep an eye on your business whether you’re on the sales floor, working from home, or in the back office. 

As a bonus, cloud-based POS systems are generally cost-efficient, especially since many providers allow you to provide your own hardware as long as the specifications match. 

One drawback of cloud-based POS systems is that they require an internet connection, but many modern solutions now allow for limited offline functionality, meaning that you can continue making sales and keep your store operational during any outages. 

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Transform Your Store With the Best Type of POS System for Retail

With so many options on the market, choosing the right type of POS system for retail might seem overwhelming — but if your goal is to grow your business, then the choice is clear. 

Cloud-based systems are modern, sophisticated, and feature-rich, giving you all the tools you need to streamline your operations and boost your sales.

If you’re ready to see what a cloud-based POS system can do for your store, schedule a live demo with one of our retail industry experts today!

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