ePOS System vs Register: Which One is Better For Your Business?

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As an entrepreneur just getting started, you want to make the best decisions for your company now and into the future. You may be wondering if you should get an ePOS system or register. This article will give you the information you need in order to make a confident decision for your business.

Cash Register

A cash register is the dinosaur of retail and restaurant cash management. “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier” was patented in 1879. Dayton, Ohio bar owner, James Ritty invented it as a deterrent from employee theft, but it did not have a cash drawer. Instead, it merely recorded the sales of items so that business owners would know how much cash they should have on hand at the end of each day.

We have certainly come a long way since then, but the traditional cash register is still a very basic iteration of a cash management system. It usually does elementary sales tracking and can calculate simple taxes. Hardware options typically vary. While the basic system is inexpensive, add-ons like credit card readers, receipt printers, and barcode scanners can get pricey.

ePOS System

The ePOS system is a much more modern cash management system, and typically comes with lots of bells and whistles. It is sleek, more flexible in its use and location, and typically integrates with more standardized hardware. Many systems work on tablets so you do not need to purchase a scanner, and credit card or chip readers are generally inexpensive and simple to use.

ePOS systems are robust analytic tools are able to instantly handle all of the transaction management necessary in the retail, restaurant, and service industries. Most information taken by an ePOS system stays on the cloud and the software is subscription-based (essentially paid apps), making its use highly mobile.

Things to Consider When Choosing

Several factors will go into your choice to either start your business with a cash register or an ePOS. You will want to consider them carefully before making a decision. Not only will they help you choose which type of cash management system to go with, but they will also help you pick the one that has the features you need for your business.

  • What is the format of your sales?
  • Will you simply be brick-and-mortar, or will you also offer ecommerce sales?
  • How much inventory do you plan to have on hand at any given time?
  • How many employees will you have on your sales floor?
  • How many points of sale will you need?
  • Will you be taking any of your sales on the road?
  • Will you have more than one location?
  • What is your upfront budget?
  • Do you have the ability to pay for a monthly subscription?
  • Will you offer partial-pay accounts?
  • What are your marketing goals?
  • How many different items do will you offer?

Pros and Cons of a Cash Register


  • Inexpensive
  • Usually simple to use
  • Has been around forever
  • Fairly dependable


  • Additional hardware can be costly
  • Not portable
  • Doesn’t integrate with ecommerce
  • May be expensive to fix

Pros and Cons of an ePOS System


  • Add on hardware is standard and simple
  • Robust analytics
  • Robust reporting
  • Integrates with ecommerce
  • Offers additional services


  • Monthly fee for use of most software
  • May take time for employees to learn

When to Choose a Cash Register

A cash register is good for smaller brick-and-mortar businesses that will not be growing much in the near future. If your up-front investment budget is tight and you just need something to get you going, then this may be your best bet. Keep in mind, however, that if you are going to invest in extra hardware like a credit card reader and a barcode scanner, you may want to seriously consider going with the ePOS option because it gives you more flexibility and you can often get started with your existing phone or tablet.

When to Choose an ePOS System

Really, almost any modern business needs an ePOS system. Its price is comparable to a modestly-priced cash register with the bells and whistles, and the monthly fees for using the software is worth every penny you spend for the insights and automation.

Transactions are integrated across all platforms, including brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, social media purchases, and remote purchases.

Inventory is automatically updated in real time no matter where the purchase was made, and you can access it with just a few clicks from anywhere in the world on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. You can even set your system up to automatically order more stock when you start running low.

Customer Relations can be automated to maintain contact and send special offers to your best customers, and marketing campaigns can be targeted to people who are most likely to buy your products and services.

Employee performance can be monitored and they can even clock in and out of work from some ePOS systems. Make sure there is no wasted idle time by assigning tasks that will set your employees up to succeed and maintain efficiency every day.

Analytics will give you insights into where your business could use improvement, help you manage your inventory and employees, enhance customer experience with your business, and so much more.

When deciding between a cash register and an ePOS system, there is really no better option than the ePOS. If you intend for your business to grow and expand, then you need powerful tools that will help you stay competitive in today’s market. You are an entrepreneur and you want to spend your time growing your business. Let ePOS software handle the management details.

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