POS Systems Aren't Just for Restaurants Anymore

article by Lei X. author
Point of sale technology has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the leaps and bounds taken by online and cloud-based systems in recent years. As tools have increasingly been able to cut cords and become mobile, POS platforms have started to fully embrace this revolution by offering mobile payment solutions that can work independently of a fixed terminal.

Nonetheless, many companies continue to employ their traditional, stationary POS terminals, preferring to maintain the status quo and keep familiar systems in place. However, as mobile POS gains ground and improves its offerings, it has become a harder solution to outright ignore. If you are unsure about which system is best for your small business, read on for a breakdown of how traditional POS terminals stack up against their mobile counterparts.

The Basics

  • Cost: This is one area where traditional POS terminals fall far behind mobile POS systems. Traditional terminals are excellent cash registers and help collect sales data, but not much else. Additionally, the hardware costs can be high, and that’s before factoring in updates and upgrade expenses. Mobile POS terminals, on the other hand, primarily consist of software that can be installed on existing computers, tablets and even smartphones. Moreover, updates are downloaded and installed automatically, free of charge.
  • Hardware: One of the most appealing features of mobile POS technology is the fact that there are very few hardware requirements. Online POS system providers such as Ambur let you install their services on any internet-connected device, and allow for integrating credit card readers, receipt printers, and other tools as you need. On the other hand, traditional POS terminals are sold separately, and include a variety of hardware costs to be fully functional.

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  • Data Accessibility: Traditional POS terminals are stationary, and are generally not connected to the internet. Moreover, their systems require you to manually extract the data you need and export it to other programs to view and analyze it. Many newer POS platforms include dynamic data analysis and reporting, and their online nature means you can access your data from anywhere, even directly from the tablet you use as your cash register.
  • Features: This is the major divergence point between the traditional point of sale and modern POS services. Companies such as Revel and HarborTouch offer POS platforms that include comprehensive management tools. These features can include inventory and payroll management, marketing functions, and even sales analytics, allowing you to centralize your operations and simplify your business. Traditional POS terminals can be connected to your operations, but are generally used exclusively as payment processing centers.
  • Mobility: Mobile POS services are the clear winner in this category. By freeing their systems from traditional terminals, modern POS platforms give you the ability to offer services such as tableside payments, quick checkouts, and other benefits that often lead to improved customer satisfaction. Traditional POS terminals are useful in certain situations, but cannot compete with the freedom and flexibility offered by their mobile counterparts.


The Verdict

While traditional POS terminals are not going away anytime soon, mobile POS systems are an excellent alternative for a small business in need of an agile and comprehensive point of sale solution. Research your available options and explore in-depth reviews of the services you are considering to make the best possible decision. If you want to learn more on mobile POS systems how they can benefit your business, you are advised to read our extensive reviews.