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Small Business Tips

How to Choose a Point of Sale (POS) System

Manasa Reddigari

A point of sale (POS) system plays a key role in small business operations. Let's take a look at what you can expect from modern POS systems. We'll also walk through how to choose a POS for your small business.

What is a Point of Sale System?

In business, the "point of sale" refers to the location where transactions happen. The point of sale system is the infrastructure that allows you to do these transactions.    

Traditional retail POS systems include:  

  • Computer and monitor
  • Customer display
  • Barcode scanner
  • Receipt printer
  • Cash drawer
  • Card reader.

The features of a POS system can vary depending on the industry and application. Choose one that fits the needs of your small business.

What to Look for In a Point of Sale System

Today, there are multiple POS vendors available to businesses. Consider the following criteria to identify a POS system that aligns with your financial and operational strategy.  


Determine the total cost of the POS system. Include the setup cost, monthly processing, equipment rental and software fees; and per-transaction processing fees. Avoid POS vendors that are not transparent about their pricing.  

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A POS system should fit within your budget but provide the features you need. A feature-rich POS system may be more expensive in the short-term. But it may yield savings in time and administrative effort in the long-run.    

If you run a storefront business that sells products, you might choose a retail point of sale system that supports inventory management or has an NFC reader for contactless payments. If you operate a repair business, choose a mobile point of sale system for on-the-go transactions.    

Try the POS system yourself to ensure the usability of these features.  


Your point of sale system should operate at peak performance even with high usage. A delay in payment processing could frustrate customers and hurt sales. Contact other businesses that use the POS system you are interested in. This will help you avoid poor-quality systems that are prone to malfunction. Look for a POS vendor with strong customer support to help speedily resolve any issues.


Protect your customers and your business reputation by ensuring your POS system is up-to-date with security measures. Choose a point of sale system that is EMV-compliant. The encryption in these systems can prevent sensitive financial data from being exposed.  

Point of Sale System Options


Feature-rich systems like Microsoft Dynamics or Vend are great for businesses that need an all-in-one POS system. These systems can handle payment processing, reporting, inventory control, marketing and product management.  


Looking for a POS system tailored to your industry? Consider a specialized system like ShopKeep for retail businesses or TouchBistro for restaurants. Features like fast checkout and color-coded seat planning can meet the special demands of your business.  


Mobile POS systems like Bindo or Square make it easy to process transactions on the go. These all offer support for e-commerce integration, mobile payments and even offer a virtual storefront to keep up with your business no matter where it takes you.

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