Cash registers are an integral component of any business. After all, at the heart of a business is the monetary transaction that takes place—the exchange of goods or services for currency. Historically, a manual cash register required cashiers to enter numbers and total calculations by hand. These days, less math is required, and even the most basic cash registers rely on technology for efficiency and accuracy.
But that's not to say all cash registers are created equal: some are much more advanced and can benefit your business in various ways beyond just totaling transactions. So what cash register and cash register features should you choose for your business?
Whether you're looking to upgrade your platform or are starting a new business, you'll want to select a cash register that can save you from unnecessary problems and headaches. Here’s a guide to help you choose one that works best for your business.
When it comes to types of cash registers for your business, there are two main categories to consider: traditional, electronic cash registers, and more elaborate, computerized point of sale (POS) platforms.
As the name suggests, traditional cash registers (sometimes called analog cash registers) are very streamlined machines with specific—and limited—functionality for cash management. They are extremely basic in construction and utility, and very easy to use. But they lack much of the sophistication of modern alternatives. And in some cases, they simply aren’t equipped to keep pace with the needs of a growing business or consumer expectations.
One of the primary benefits is that these are cheap cash registers. This is both a benefit and a challenge, however. Notice we said “cheap” and not “inexpensive.” While traditional registers don’t cost much at their time of purchase, they can end up costing your business in other ways in the long run. The adage, “you get what you pay for,” rings very true in this case.
Modern platforms come with suites of business management tools designed to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. Analog registers simply can’t compete with this, and can even hold operators back when it comes to implementing solutions like eCommerce, online ordering, and delivery. In spite of these limitations, traditional options are available for a low upfront investment.
Perhaps a blessing and a curse, traditional registers are very simple machines. This makes them relatively easy to use and to train your team to use. In the way of cashier computer systems, a traditional solution will require minimal instruction and likely minimal troubleshooting for your business.
Traditional cash registers will have very limited functionality. They essentially perform one task—cash management—and depending on the platform you select, the machine may only be compatible with a small selection of payment options. The rise of mobile wallets and smartphone contactless payments requires a sophisticated, electronic system for compatibility.
With a traditional cash register you’ll also enjoy far fewer business management resources that come with more advanced POS platforms, like loyalty programs; workforce, kitchen, and inventory management solutions; integration with weights and scanners; online ordering integration; on-the-go reporting; and more.
Traditions can be beautiful, time-honored practices. In the business world, however, they can limit progress, evolution, and reaction to broader market changes. A traditional cash register can severely impact an operator’s ability to respond to an unforeseen change in the market, whether it’s a shift in adopted technology or a global pandemic.
To stay in lockstep with an ever-changing environment, it’s important to consider where your business operations need to be nimble. Increasingly, your mechanism for sales transactions and the operations that align with those transactions is one of those areas where agility is key.
As referenced in the introduction of this post, the modern option for an electronic cash register system is the computerized POS platform. Not only does a POS handle monetary transactions—it’s the heart of the central nervous system of your business. Nearly all of your critical business operations can (and should) run through your POS. And with cloud-based solutions now available, running your business is more mobile and accessible than ever.
With a modern, cloud-based POS platform, business owners are well positioned for scalability and a solution that can grow as the business grows. New functionality can be unlocked within the system (more detail on functionality is included in the next section of this post). Not only that, but a cloud solution means operators can push changes to one, multiple, or all locations—and see metrics and reports for these, too—from a single, central dashboard.
A cloud system allows business managers access to critical operational information from anywhere at any time. These systems use secure cloud infrastructure and wireless connectivity. In turn, information on everything from daily sales totals to menu details or inventory levels is available at the click of a button or swipe of a screen.
System-wide health monitoring another added bonus. Cloud POS platforms often offer solutions for mobile device management (MDM), which gives you instant notice when a system is down, running on dated software, or experiencing network connectivity issues. And ensuring your platform runs on the latest, most secure software versions, updates are as simple as clicking “update now” on a push notification or application store listing.
As mentioned in the previous section, modern POS platforms offer tons of features, functionality, and integration choices. Such capabilities include business analyses and procedures, and can even work to enhance your customer experience. Here are some examples:
The options are extensive, and generally customizable to a business’s specific needs.
Because modern POS platforms are feature rich, they can sometimes offer so many features it’s overwhelming to end users. It’s a good idea to look for platforms with professional and managed services offerings or account management to help make sense of all the options. Business owners can also look for platforms that provide extensive support resources and tutorials for quick feature introductions.
Certainly when compared to traditional counterparts, POS registers will have a higher up-front cost. However, the investment will pay off over time if your business is able to easily expand and react to sudden changes in the marketplace. A modern solution will ensure you can make adjustments as needed at little or no additional cost.
Do your research and choose the cash register and corresponding features that are best designed to meet your business's specific needs. It is important to note that you must know which features your business requires.
Access to feature-rich iPad POS systems like Revel allow for increased flexibility and mobility for your business. You can check on store performance, sales and inventory reports from anywhere at any time.
Flexibility also extends to the platform hardware, offering vendors a sleek, low-profile register that can live virtually anywhere within a brick-and-mortar store, serve as a mobile POS (or mPOS) with the mobile order taker configuration, and handle online transactions for customers who never set foot on location.
These mobile-based systems are relatively simpler to use and also provide businesses with various additional functionalities which may improve performance and efficiency. Learn more and request a free demo today!