Computerised Cash Registers: Why Are They Important?

Here’s a wild claim: Computerized cash registers can print out cash…

OK. So it might not necessarily print out cash like a normal printer would, but having one sure can improve a small business’s bottom line.

Think about this…

Having a computerised cash register lets you process orders quicker, improves the accuracy of your cashiers, and keeps the lines to your cashier from building up.

All this can improve the overall experience of your customers and staff during the soft opening and regular operations, which theeen improves your small business’s bottom line.

I said so, didn’t I? A computerized cash register can “print out” cash.

To help you learn more about the role computerized cash registers play in improving a small business’s performance and how they fare with EPOS systems, continue reading this guide.

Table of contents

  • What are the different types of cash registers?
  • What are computerised cash registers
  • Benefits of computerised cash registers
  • Cash register apps
  • What is an EPOS?
  • Computerised cash register vs EPOS
  • Computerised cash register: equipment, software, and costs
  • How to choose the right computerised cash registers
  • Top 10 computerised cash register for small businesses
  • How to turn your computer into a cash register
  • FAQs about computerised cash register

 

First, what are the different types of cash registers?

The modern day cash register is so much more than a till or cash drawer. It contains powerful software and cash register hardware that lets it perform numerous business operations, provide actionable advice on inventory and ordering, and accept modern forms of payment.

When shopping around for cash registers for small business, there are four different types to choose from:

1. Electronic Cash Registers

Not long after the advent of electronic calculators in the 50s, the electronic cash register became available to the public.

Also known as a computerised cash register, it was used for decades as the only method of accepting any electronic payments, such as credit and debit cards.

Features for sales tracking and reporting, as well as some simple inventory management data, were added to the computerised cash register as it developed.

Today, the standard computerised cash register consists of a cash drawer at the bottom with an input screen or pad above it. Many newer models can be controlled with a mouse, keypad, or touchscreen controls.

Upgrading these machines with peripherals, such as barcode scanners and receipt printers, is a good way to improve their functionality at a minimal cost.

While obsolete by current standards, they are still viable options for those looking for cash registers for small business. 

2. Point of Sale Cash Registers and Computerised Desktop Hardware

POS (Point of Sale) systems add a wide array of features to the computerised cash register and allow for more customization to better suit the needs of individual users.

Basically, it’s like a cash register on steroids.

While it handles cash transactions and does everything that a normal cash register can do, it also gives you access to a detailed POS reporting on those transactions.

A modern day point of sale cash register comes equipped with a user-friendly touchscreen interface that employees can use to administer purchases more efficiently, helping to keep the lines at the cashier short.

Furthermore, the software that comes with these machines can perform important business analysis and procedures including, but not limited to:

  • Product performance analysis
  • Inventory management
  • Employee management
  • Sales reports and metrics
  • Loyalty programs
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Multi-store consolidation
  • Sales, promos, and discounts
  • Commission calculations
  • Franchising
  • Accounting tools
  • Tip management for employees
  • eCommerce integration

3. Mobile Cash Registers on Tablets

A mobile point of sale cash register (mPOS) is a portable POS on a smartphone or tablet that functions as a register. These come with robust features to improve business operations but cost less than a traditional desktop POS solution.

One great advantage to opting for an mPOS is that, unlike desktop cash registers, tablets and smartphones can easily be moved around the retail space, allowing employees to check out customers quickly and conveniently.

Having an mPOS system is ideal for businesses such as home and repair services, market vendors, food trucks and the like, to take electronic payments on the go.

Those looking for cash registers for small business should also consider using mobile cash registers since they are a capable, low-cost alternative to more expensive desktop cash registers.

4. Cloud-based Cash Registers

Rather than boasting any significant advancements in hardware, what makes the cloud-based cash register a revolutionary product is it’s unique software.

A cloud-based cash register, or cloud POS, is a web-based point of sale system that lets you process payments through the internet, allowing for greater connectivity.

One of the biggest draws to using cloud based cash registers is having the ability to remotely review important information, and even install important software updates from off-site.

All data is stored in secured remote servers and updated in real time letting business owners see daily sales, complete orders, manage inventory, perform accounting tasks, and track promotions even when they’re out of the office.

What are computerised cash registers?

Electronic or computerised cash registers are machines used for efficiently checking out items in your store. 

They assist you in tracking your sales, reducing register errors, compiling inventory information, keeping cash, handing in change to customers, and more.

Computerised cash tills usually come as a set with a barcode reader, receipt printer, a keypad, and a cash drawer. You can also opt to buy the hardware and POS software individually to get the best value for your money. 

By buying your electronic cash register hardware and POS software separately, you’ll be able to mix and match the features that best suit your needs, such as going for a double-sided touchscreen for the convenience of your clerks and customers.

While computerised cash registers can function independently, they often form part of an entire EPOS software (if you’re wondering what EPOS is, we’ll get to that in the last sections).

Benefits of computerised cash registers for small businesses

Below are the advantages of using computerised POS cash registers for small businesses.

Rapid checkouts

Old cash registers (traditional and manually operated POS cash registers) used to be practical for shops until they got thousands of orders and couldn’t catch up with them, leaving behind their inventory tracking and other tasks.

In contrast, computerised cash tills simplify and hasten your checkout stage and related administrative processes — giving you more time for other important duties.

They can swiftly compute the total sales figures of every transaction and give your sales clerks the exact change they need to hand your customers.

They can also provide receipts detailing the transaction, including relevant details such as the transaction date and time, sales clerk’s ID name and number, refund policy, and even promotions.

When you have a soft opening, uber-busy day, or a newly hired sales clerk, you’ll be thankful for this advantageous attribute.

Heightened accuracy

Another benefit of using a computerised cash register is high accuracy.

Because its internal system instantly records each transaction, it’s easier now to compare sales figures with the money in the drawer and pinpoint any discrepancies at the end of your workday.

Computerised cash registers tell your sales clerks how much to charge your customers and give as change. They can also void transactions and apply discounts and sales offers. 

All these functions reduce human error and audit reporting inaccuracies and practically streamline your transactional processes.

Cash security

Computerised POS cash registers can securely keep your cash in your drawer because they have robust locking systems.

Their drawers automatically lock and only allow access to authorized users logging in with the correct passwords. Conversely, old cash registers are protected only with key locks and, therefore, less secure.

Computerised cash tills also keep your money out of public view, reducing any temptation for embezzlement and outside theft in the store. 

Plus, the machines log the time, date, and sales clerk using the register — so you have a proper electronic trail should incidents happen.

However, supervisory sales employees can use override codes or passkeys to access the cash drawer for customer refunds and other valid instances.

Additionally, electronic cash register systems are the electronic format of the traditional POS systems and mostly operate online, where they store information securely in a cloud.

Variety in payment mode choices

Computerised cash registers allow you to widen and diversify your customers’ options for their payment methods.

By connecting an integrated credit card reader for your electronic cash register, you’ll be able to accept immediate debit and credit card payments, and process them safely through PIN reading mechanisms.

Besides cash, electronic cash tills even let you receive loyalty cards, vouchers, cheques, and other payment modes. 

Cash register apps

Business owners can also install cash register software applications on their mobile devices to replace their old cash tills and complement their electronic registers.

Examples of cash register apps available in Android are:

  • Cash Register
  • Cash Register Express Lite
  • Bonrix Cash Register POS
  • Bitcoin Cash Register

If you’re looking to use a cash register app, look for these attributes:

  • Payment flexibility. Get apps that can accept debit and credit card payments and mobile methods, such as PayPal, Android Pay, Apple Pay, PayMaya, Bitcoin, etc. 
  • User experience/user-intuitive design. Prioritize apps that are visually clean and appealing and simple to use for your staff. 
  • Integrated reporting. The cash register app should have built-in integrated reporting functions for managing inventory and employees, monitoring sales, including analytics.
  • Support. Your chosen app should assist you when you have questions or need help with using it.
  • Third-party app integrations. Additional tools for your credit card readers, barcode scanners, receipt printers, accounting software, etc. should have minimal configurations.
  • Offline mode. The cash register app should allow you to operate offline and synchronize all data once the internet connection returns.
  • Cost. Check if your selected application suits your budget. Is it always free? Does it offer freemium versions and have in-app purchases revealing more advanced capabilities, etc? 

What is an EPOS?

An electronic point of sale system (EPOS) is a combination of software and hardware intended to streamline your sales tracking, payment processing, and other tasks.

Computerised cash register vs EPOS

When reading about computerised cash registers, you’ve likely encountered discussions on what EPOS is and why an EPOS purchase (even used EPOS equipment) is better for your business.

Essentially, computerised cash registers only tell you how many sales you’re making. But an EPOS software can offer more insights on the best-selling and low-stock items, best-performing employees, etc.

Compared with computerised cash registers, EPOS software works with much greater holistic accuracy, security, and efficiency — not to mention less error-prone.

This is especially crucial in bustling operations and other important activities (e.g., soft opening) when things should run smoothly and you have to make zero to few mistakes only.

EPOS systems can even accommodate and integrate marketing functionalities into your strategies, unlike electronic cash tills.

An EPOS purchase is typically preferable over buying a computerised cash register alone to manage your orders and sales. 

If your current budget’s a bit tight, you can buy used EPOS equipment (as long as you’re the first to the second user, depending on the duration). 

Ensure your supplier is trustworthy and have them demonstrate the functionality of all parts before paying for your used EPOS equipment.

Computerised cash register: equipment, software, and costs

According to Adam Rowe, a Forbes Contributor and a writer at Tech.co, “point-of-sale systems typically cost between $50-100 per month for small businesses with one register, while larger businesses and franchises will likely have to pay $100-200 per month for extra features and registers. Including the initial cost of hardware, a POS system may cost between $1200 and $6500 for the first year, and $600 to $1200 for each year afterwards”.

A computerised cash register augmented with an EPOS system, or electronic point of sale system, requires a few individual components to get it working properly.

The following are common POS hardware and software components you’ll need to get your EPOS system up and running:

Monitor/Tablet

Displays the product database and enables other functions, such as viewing sales reports and employee clock-in. Touchscreen monitors and Tablets—especially iPads—are popular for replacing bulkier monitors.

Barcode scanner

Automates the retail checkout process by scanning barcodes to pull product info and add it to the checkout total. Barcode scanners can also integrate with POS software to automatically adjust stock levels.

Credit card reader

Especially useful in retail, a device which interfaces with payment cards that allows for electronic fund transfers. Inarguably a crucial component of any modern EPOS system.

Receipt printer

While email and text receipts are rapidly gaining popularity, paper receipts remain essential and enable customers to take a quick glance at their purchased or returned items.

Cash drawer

Though it’s arguable whether or not cash may eventually fade away in the coming years thanks to such things as the rise of cryptocurrency, cash is currently still king. This means that a cash drawer is still a necessity for practically all business models.

The cash drawer can be placed on a counter and can support a touchscreen monitor, receipt printer, and even another point of sale device

In a typical EPOS system setup, the receipt printer sends a signal to the cash drawer, triggering it open only when needed.

Software

Your POS hardware, no matter how cutting edge, is only capable of so much without the right POS system software.

POS system software can be geared towards apparel retail stores with heavy inventory needs, grocery stores that need scale integration, service-oriented restaurants and cafes that need menu optimization, and much more.

How to choose the right computerised cash register

Simply put, choosing the right computerised cash register boils down to selecting POS hardware with the features that you want and a POS system software that best suits the needs of your business model.

Paying a premium for POS hardware will get faster speeds and double-sided touchscreens for customer convenience, among other things.

It’s important to remember that you can often get by with just the bare minimum when it comes to your POS hardware.

However, choosing the right software is an entirely different beast. Because different POS systems are created to cater to different business models, it’s crucial to pick the one that best compliments your business.

Top 10 a computerised cash register for small businesses

If you already know what you’re looking for in a computerised cash register but don’t know where to buy a set, or even just its individual components, here are a few reliable places you can check out:

1. Amazon.com

Amazon.com has millions of customers from all over the world. It’s a vast Internet-based enterprise that sells a multitude of products, either directly or as the middleman between other retailers.

2. Officedepot

Office Depot, Inc. ranks as the second-largest operator of office supplies superstores in the United States, trailing only category leader Staples, Inc.

3. Bestbuy

Founded in 1966, Best Buy Co., Inc. is a provider of technology products, services and solutions. They have more than 1,000 stores and about 100,000 employees in the United States and Canada.

4. Odoo

Odoo is a suite of business management software tools, including e-commerce, CRM, accounting, billing, warehouse, project management, manufacturing, and inventory management, among others.

5. Ciontek

Ciontek is an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) specializing in Android POS hardware solutions. Founded in 2009, Ciontek develops hardware and firmware technology.

The company offers everything from handheld barcode scanners to industrial tablets, and ultimately focuses on POS service systems such as Smart POS and Comprehensive Payment system.

6. Lightspeed

Lightspeed Commerce was founded in 2005 by Dax da Silva, who also serves as the CEO of the company. It’s a POS and e-commerce software provider based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They also have offices in Ottawa, New York, Santa Cruz, Toronto, and Amsterdam.

7. Nextar

Nextar is an offline free software that is compatible with any Windows computer. They offer a simple POS system that works perfectly well for small and medium-sized businesses.

8. Upserve

Founded in 2009 under the name “Swipely,” Upserve specializes in restaurant management platforms which allows independent, full-service restaurants to run and manage their entire business more efficiently.

9. Radiant POS

Radiant Systems was a provider of technology to the retail and hospitality industries and was acquired by NCR Corporation in 2011.

The company claims to be the premiere POS system for gas stations and convenience stores. They are also the exclusive POS technology provider for the U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants and Gulf Petroleum.

10. Alice POS

Alice POS is a capable cloud-based retail POS solution for networks such as franchises and buying groups. It offers omnichannel solutions that unify and centralize sales across all your stores and channels.

How to turn your computer into a cash register

Starting a small business can easily put a strain on your finances. Save money by using an existing computer as a cash register instead of buying a brand new POS machine.

Don’t know how to convert your computer into a cash register? Don’t sweat it! Here are a few steps you can follow to do just that:

1. Install a POS system on your computer. Wasp Point-Of-Sale, QuickBooks Point-Of-Sale, and Microsoft Dynamics POS are just a few of many viable choices.

2. Follow the on-screen instructions of the POS software’s installation wizard, agree to the terms of service, and choose the location on your hard drive to begin the installation process.

3. Connect the pertinent peripherals, such as the barcode scanner and the receipt printer, when prompted by the installation wizard.

4. Launch the POS software and input the information that is relevant to your business. This includes entering the correct sales tax for your respective state, product names and descriptions, and the UPC codes for individual products.

5. Test the new POS system by running a few transactions. Ensure that all the peripherals are working properly with each transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you turn your computer into a cash register?

By Installing a point-of-sale application on your computer and connecting the necessary components, such as a barcode scanner, cash drawer, and a receipt printer, among other things, you’ll be able to turn your computer into a cash register.

What is a POS cash register?

A POS cash register is a machine that stores your cash in a drawer and lets you facilitate the checkout process while providing you with the advantages of a POS system.

What features do you need in a cash register for a small business?

To help you run your small business, your computerised cash register should at least be able to:

  1. Keep track of sales data
  2. Present daily, hourly, or even real time sales reports based on sales data
  3. Keep track of inventory
  4. Store customer data
  5. Track employee hours and sales performance

What is an ECR machine?

ECR is an acronym for Electronic Cash Register. It’s simply another name for “computerised cash register”.

Is it safe to use an electronic cash register?

Generally, using an electronic cash register is just as safe, if not safer, than using a manual cash register. This is largely due to the security features and data tracking capabilities that come with POS systems.

How to explain a computerised cash register to your employee?

To help your employee use the register system easily, explain how the computerised cash register works. For the most part, there are three key things you need to highlight.

  • Your employee needs to sign in to the computerised cash register with his/her ID or personal code.
  • Switch the computerised register system to “Training mode.”
  • Let your employee input test items to the register system to give him/her a better feel of how it works.
  • Walk your employee through the process of accepting cash payments or credit cards, among other payment methods.

Start using computerised cash registers

If your daily business operations require boatloads of manual, time-consuming processes, then you need to use computerised cash registers. At the very least, having one helps you process your orders quickly, which then gives your staff more bandwidth to do other tasks.

Also, consider an EPOS purchase to make your operations far more integrated and hyper-efficient.

With your computerised cash register, especially when linked with your EPOS software, you can deliver reliable services and a seamless customer experience, leading to more revenue and patronage.