What Is Point of Sale Software? A Checklist for Choosing the Best POS for Your Business

May 12, 2021

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Point-of-sale (POS) software is constantly evolving. Clunky cash registers alone can’t keep up. Brick-and-mortar retailers are adopting leaner systems that operate on mobile devices in favor of complicated setups that cost thousands of dollars.

But it’s not just retail stores that are interested in POS systems—online store owners who sell at craft fairs, trade shows, and farmers markets are also in need of inexpensive and easy-to-use point-of-sale solutions.

So, what exactly is point of sale software, how do you know if you need it, and how do you choose the right tool for your business?

What is point-of-sale (POS) software?

Point of sale software is what brick-and-mortar retailers use to conduct sales in person. It's sometimes a cash register, computer, or even a tablet where cashiers input products, tally the cost, and conduct the financial transaction. Most POS software will also communicate with inventory levels to keep everything in balance.

A lot of big-box stores have wildly complex and expensive POS solutions, some of which were custom built for their needs. Independent retailers are moving away from these traditional POS systems and toward cloud-based point-of-sale solutions.

Types of POS software

There are two main types of POS software: on-premise and cloud-based. On-premise POS software requires you to be on location to use it. Terminals are the most common on-premise POS. Cloud-based POS software offers more flexibility, as you can use any connected, compatible device to access the dashboard. Cloud-based POS software is becoming more mainstream—the market was valued at around $1.29 billion for 2019, with an expected growth rate of more than 21.38% through 2026.

A cloud-based POS allows you to conduct sales and check in on your business even when you’re not at the store. You access it directly from the internet, and it’s often compatible with most POS hardware (cash drawers, printers, etc.) and other tools in your tech stack. This is great if you’re a small business that sells in a store and online along with the occasional in-person event.

When you use a cloud-based POS and link it to your Shopify store, your inventory automatically adjusts, helping you mitigate costly problems like stockouts. Cloud-based POS systems are also typically less expensive and more convenient than a tethered on-premise solution.

There are other types of POS software that fall into one or both of the above categories:
  • Mobile POS (mPOS): A mobile point-of-sale can move around inside or outside a store. Store owners can take transactions from a central point of purchase, like a traditional checkout counter or cash register, or wherever they need it to be. To take transactions on the go, retailers often use hardware like a tablet or smartphone to process transactions. Best for: Pop-up shops; increasing in-store conversion rate
  • Tablets: A tablet POS can be both mobile and docked to a station. These POS systems run on Android tablets or iPads, acting as either the main POS or supplementing your central POS station. This is also a mPOS. Best for: Selling products with lots of details, features, and/or use cases; collecting lots of customer data at the point of purchase; self-serve options; pop-up shops and event sales
  • Desktop: POS systems that run on a desktop computer are typically on-premise solutions docked to a checkout station. They’re bulky but often more powerful and reliable, depending on the hardware you choose.
  • The main POS station in a permanent brick-and-mortar store; businesses that want to add mPOS in addition to their desktop setup
  • Self-serve kiosks: Self-serve kiosks are common in food-based businesses, especially for quick-service restaurants and fast casual dining. This type of POS can drive a 15%–30% increase in average check size. They also work in retail environments. Best for: Food-based businesses; reducing lines and wait times; digitally savvy customers
  • POS apps: Depending on the POS, there are a few point of sale apps to choose from. POS apps work with your hardware and other compatible devices to enable you to access your data and manage business operations. Best for: Businesses that want flexibility and customizability without needing lots of technical resources or budget
  • Open-source POS: Open-source software allows companies to use their source code to build custom solutions with their platform. You can build your open-source POS system internally or with external collaborators. Best for: Enterprises with lots of technical resources; highly unique POS needs
  • Multichannel POS: A multichannel POS can integrate with various commerce channels, an increasingly important capability. These channels include your own website, third-party online marketplaces, your store, pop-up shops, event sales, wholesale, social media, and more. Best for: Ecommerce merchants who do or plan to sell in-person; multichannel online brands
  • Retail POS: A retail POS has features tailored to a brick-and-mortar business selling products. These features could include inventory management, forecasting, and multichannel selling. Best for: Pop-up shops; permanent brick-and-mortar stores in a traditional retail environment
  • Restaurant POS: Restaurant POS systems are designed with food-based businesses in mind. Specific features might include menu planning and costing, ingredient-level tracking, dish customizations, and self-serve ordering. Best for: Food-based businesses (fast food, casual, quick-serve, sit-down, etc.)

Components of a POS system

There are other pieces of hardware that can complement your POS setup:
  • Barcode scanner: In addition to scanning barcodes, you can also use some scanners to add discount codes. There are 1D barcode scanners that use the traditional bar code, and 2D barcode scanners that can read QR codes.
  • Cash drawer: Unless you only process cashless payments, you’ll need somewhere to put the cash customers use to pay for your products. The cash drawer is a safe, secure place to organize bills.
  • Credit and debit card reader: This piece of hardware can read debit and credit cards. There are several ways to read a card, including swipe, tap, and EMV chip. You need this for payment processing so you can receive the funds from the customer’s bank.
  • Receipt printer: These aren’t always essential, especially if you use Shopify POS, because you can send email receipts, but a printer can connect to your POS and spit out receipts on the spot.
  • Label printer: There are some instances where you’ll need to print a label—ship-from-store, for example. With a label printer as part of your POS setup, you can do that on the spot.
  • Scale: If you sell products by weight, you’ll need a scale to be able to determine how much to charge customers. Some scales connect directly to your POS for a seamless checkout.

What does a POS system do?

Modern POS systems offer far more functionality than simply administering transactions. They can complete other business functions, as well as inform important business decisions, including:


  • Managing inventory across all locations, both online and offline
  • Providing sales metrics and reporting
  • Managing customer data effectively
  • Improving in-store sales
  • Adapting to business needs with customizations


Managing inventory across all locations, both online and offline

Whether you have inventory at your storefront, pop-up shop, or warehouse, keeping accurate counts across the board is a tricky (and sometimes tedious) task. Inventory is one of your largest expenses as a retailer, and you need a simple way to manage it. That means having the right products in the right place at the right time—and a POS that helps you achieve that goal.

A modern POS system should help retailers manage inventory anywhere you keep your products. Not only does this level of inventory management make tracking easier, but fulfilling orders is quicker when you know how much of a product is at a given location at any time.

With a POS, you can easily monitor stock counts across all your stores, while keeping customers happy by avoiding stockouts and automatically ceasing sales of products when inventory runs out. Accurate stock counts streamline ordering from vendors so you always have inventory in stock wherever your products are selling best.

Complete visibility of your inventory across all locations also makes it easier to move stock from one place to another (e.g., from warehouse to storefront) when you run low on a product. And it’s simpler to create purchase orders and accurately create your demand forecasts.

Providing sales metrics and reporting

A POS is useful for far more than processing transactions. You also can use crucial information from your point-of-sale solution to make data-informed decisions about your entire business.

Modern POS systems make it painless to see analytics across every channel in your retail business, both individually and as part of your business as a whole. The ability to break down and filter sales data this way can often shed light on what’s working—and what isn’t.

So, when you’re assessing a POS system, ensure you can easily track the following:
  • Data for both in-store and online sales
  • Sales broken down over time (number of sales by day, week, month, etc.)
  • Sales per employee
  • Sales per channel (across all stores and for each location)
  • Staff activities broken down by employee
  • Product reports (to see what’s selling and what’s still sitting on shelves)
  • Number of orders (broken down by various stages of fulfillment)

Easy, intuitive access to this kind of data can help you make better decisions and understand the overall health of your business.

Managing customer data effectively

A POS should also help you easily collect, track, and manage customer information. Access to these details can help you better understand your ideal customers and identify your most loyal shoppers.

When evaluating your shortlist of POS contenders, make sure that your top choice helps you manage the following:
  • Customer profiles. Collect contact details to build in-depth profiles of your customers to help you learn more about them and their shopping habits.
  • Customer order histories. Quick access to a customer’s order history can help you effectively cross-sell and upsell by offering on-the-spot, tailored product recommendations based on past purchases.
  • Customer loyalty programs. A POS should give you access to your loyalty program across all sales channels, whether someone buys online, in-store, or elsewhere.

Improving in-store sales

The traditional shopping experience has changed, and retailers have to meet the ever-evolving demands of customers in order to compete. But a POS system can help you keep up with a shifting industry.

The right POS features can help you appeal to the empowered shopper and make more sales. For example, use your POS to stay in touch with customers and keep your products top of mind after they leave your store. Sales associates can email customers a list of items they were interested in but didn’t purchase while in-store, so, when they’re ready, the customer can buy those items via a feature like Shopify POS Email cart.

Providing a variety of shipping options is another way you can serve your customers’ evolving needs. You can use a POS feature to ship a purchase to whatever address is most convenient for a shopper, whether it’s their home, their office, or another location—which can give you a competitive edge.

A POS that offers flexible shipping alternatives can minimize the need for returns and exchanges and keep sales strong. That’s why the following pickup, purchase, and delivery options are quickly becoming table stakes:
  • Buy online, pick up in-store. In-store pickup allows customers to buy online and collect their order from the retailer’s physical store or a third-party location. Thousands of stores are decreasing returns and selling more by letting customers check the size, color, and shape of their purchases before walking out—all while offering highly valued flexibility.
  • Home delivery. After customers buy products in-store—especially heavy or large products, like furniture—they don’t necessarily want to lug it home with them. As an added convenience, offer home delivery. Or, if an item isn't available in-store, but is at another location, customers can buy in store and have the item shipped to their home.
  • In-store returns/exchanges for items purchased online. Creating a hassle-free returns experience for customers can actually build loyalty. For example, if a customer wants to return a product they purchased online, they may want to make a return immediately rather than sending the product back via snail mail. Make it simple for them to visit your store to make the return.



Beautylish was founded in February 2010 with the goal of improving the way women discover and learn about the beauty products they use everyday. We would love to hear your feedback as we continually work on improving the experience (email us at feedback@beautylish.com). We are based in beautiful San Francisco, California.



Article | December 29, 2021

When printing receipts or invoices, many accounting and point-of-sale programs enable the usage of common desktop printers. Receipt printers, on the other hand, typically have a smaller footprint and consume less ink and paper than ordinary printers. This equals more profit and savings for your company. Therefore, we will explain everything you need to know about how to use a receipt printer. What is a receipt printer? In the retail and restaurant industry, a receipt printer is a crucial part of a point of sale (POS) system. As stated in its name, they are used to print credit card slips and client receipts. In retail stores, a receipt printer is used after customers have made transactions. This system is also used in restaurants to print orders in the kitchen or at the bar.

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Article | December 24, 2021

To manage a drugstore efficiently, shopkeepers would need a pharmacy POS to automate inventory management, curbside collection, or drive-thru orders. Our today’s article will point out the 5 best pharmacy software that can improve your business operation. ConnectPOS: An awarded POS system Being trusted by more than 10 thousand retailers worldwide, ConnectPOS offers the best solutions for multiple retail industries including pharmacy. Product and order management Thanks to the option that assigns each location to a different outlet, your inventory will no longer be cluttered. Customers may order online and pick it up in the shop. Refunds and exchanges are also accepted in physical locations. Customer management ConnectPOS supports loyalty programs with extensions from dependable vendors (Aheadworks, Amasty, etc). With the group pricing feature, you can develop effective tiered pricing for multiple consumer groups, thus providing your customers with a better experience. Moreover, gift cards, which can be used in both online and offline retailers, are accepted by ConnectPOS. DataScan: A well-known pharmacy POS Being in the pharmacy business for over 35 years, DataScan has a broad knowledge of the profession and always keeps up with industry trends. For wholesalers and analyzing sales This software includes a system that can do your shopping for you! It will compare prices from all wholesalers to find the best deal. You can also keep track of all previous outcomes and sales. Financial reporting The system will not only track your sales, but will also provide financial reports for you and your accountant. You will also receive an end-of-day reconciliation statement to assist you in staying on track. PrimeRx: Efficiency drug system As an all-in-one pharmacy POS software for automated prescription filling, invoicing, and claim processing, PrimeRx is ideal for independent, retail, and multi-store pharmacy owners. It enables a customizable workflow that is both efficient and straightforward. Automated refill management By evaluating the patient, prescriber, and pharmaceutical inventory, this system can fill prescriptions. Scheduled refills, as well as missed or expired refills, are displayed on the Dashboard. Updates and Interaction with customers The Patient Status Board is a standout feature of PrimeRx. You may converse with your customers as they wait for their prescriptions using this board. Customers can see where they are in line and how much longer they will have to wait. They will not have to disturb the pharmacist or the technician, and they will not be in the dark. PioneerRx: Global pharmacy POS PioneerRx is considered the most widely used pharmacy POS system. Its purpose is to deliver new tools to small businesses so they may outperform their larger competitors. Inventory control Inventory management using shelf stickers is one of PioneerRx’s primary features. This POS system creates shelf labels rather than pricing labels for each item. This helps your personnel to swiftly determine whether an item needs to be replenished or has been placed in an inappropriate location. Financial Intelligence and reporting You may send prescription data to pharmaceutical companies via the PioneerRx system. Make your own label revisions and financial reports as well. BesyRx: A feature-rich system As a pharmacy POS system that is uncomplicated and easy to use, BesyRX is confident in its product, with the introductory sentence “Your search for the best pharmacy management software ends here.” Signature capture for electronic and mobile delivery BestRx comes with a signature pad that allows you to electronically collect signatures. This includes signatures for prescriptions, HIPAA, and credit cards. The e-signatures are saved in the system and may be retrieved for audits or reporting as needed. This software also has a mobile delivery system that allows the pharmacy to keep track of all shipments received digitally. Document Management BestRx makes document management simple by allowing your team to scan and import papers straight into the system. Furthermore, the papers may be retrieved at the press of a button. The papers are securely kept and backed up on an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant cloud server. Conclusion Most pharmacy POS systems include various features to help your drugstore increase sales and efficiency.

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Adapting to the changing times

Article | December 23, 2021

Retailers are rapidly adapting their businesses as covid-19 continues to hinder sales. The most successful are shifting towards online experiential retail. As a business owner, you’re probably hearing a lot of ways that small businesses can adapt to the changing times. The most common that we’ve seen are: Move your store online, or improve your online sales processes. Offer on-the-go product deals Shift product focus to hands-on usage and activities. While these are definitely great starting points, they aren’t really specific to any industry. We’ll cover different ways you can adapt your retail business using the tools from right within your Erply account. We’ll even cover examples specific to a variety of industries so you can be inspired to change up or improve your covid-19 sales strategies. The strategy: Adapting your retail business Retail adaptation can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never undergone large-scale product changes before. A good place to start to is to think: what would you want to see in a retailer during the covid-19 shutdown? Think about yourself as a consumer, not a store owner. Life might be slowing down, but it’s not coming to a standstill — you probably want to find more ways to maintain safe, healthy protocols when shopping for necessities, looking for gifts, or seeking entertainment. As a retailer, your customers will be looking to you for ways to do all of these, while also minimizing the risk of coming into contact with covid-19. There are plenty of creative ways to shift your business offerings to fit these fast-changing times. We’ll first give examples of how your existing Erply tools can be used to adapt your business, then will cover industry-specific examples. Create special deals Remember, short-term value translates into long-term customer relationships! Loyalty points Looking to boost sales without discounting your products? Try offering loyalty points at an increased rate to encourage shopper support during covid-19. Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat business by incentivizing customers to repeatedly choose your store over competitors in exchange for rewards. Bundles and assemblies Product bundles and assemblies can be used to sell items together in a group. Product bundles can be used to sell large items together at a slightly discounted price or to help sell slow-moving inventory. Think subscription boxes, holiday-themed gift sets, or even items commonly purchased together. Promotions Seasonal, event-based, or brand collaborations; there’s never a bad time for a sales promotion! They’re a great way to encourage customer sales by offering enticing product discounts. Erply’s powerful promotions builder enables you to set up flat discounts, percent discounts, BOGO-type deals, and more. Price lists An alternative to promotions, price lists allow you to create highly specific discounts for any sales campaign. Price lists can target specific product groups, store locations, or even customer segments (think VIP pricing). Coupons Coupons can offer one-time, redeemable rewards. They tie into promotions, but aren’t available to every customer, only the ones who have a coupon or a coupon code. Improve customer service Customer service is more than just employee-to-customer interaction; it also includes accessibility and streamlined shopping. Buy online, pickup in-store Offer flexible, health-conscious ways for your customers to purchase products in your store. Our e-commerce options allow customers to buy products online, then purchase them in-store. Flexible retail tools mean you can offer a variety of pickup order options that suit the needs of you and your customers. Purchases can be paid in full, partially paid, or can be paid once the customer arrives for pickup. Offline mode for sales anywhere Covid-19 regulations might mean that you’re not able to sell out of your store as you normally would. Maybe you need to make sales on-the-go or from an outside location. Erply’s offline POS ensures that all sales are accounted for, even if you have no internet access. Once connection resumes, all sales data will sync up to your back office to keep your records accurate. The ability to make sales and perform basic POS actions without wifi connection means you can think up creative ways to service your customers outside of your physical store. Contactless payments Depending on your payment hardware, you may be able to accept contactless payments like NFC tap-to-pay, ApplePay, GooglePay, and SamsungPay. This allows you to offer flexible payment options for your customers, while also protecting them (and your employees) from physical contact. See if you own a contactless payment-enabled device. E-commerce for paid online classes and services Webstores are a great opportunity to boost sales when your physical store locations are closed or operating at limited capacity. Can’t sell your products in-store? Try demoing them online instead. Maybe you occasionally host in-store events. Those can be moved to the web, with an e-commerce solution to help you keep track of attendance (online passes can be sold for $0, if needed!) Right now, you can get set up with Shopify, WooCommerce, or ShopZ. Remote payments If you’re offering curbside pickup or phone orders, you can charge customers remotely through your payment processor. This can be done for curbside pickup phone orders, deliveries, or other unique payment processes that you might be implementing. Right now, customers using Global Payments (formally TSYS, Cayan) as their payment processor have access to theGenius Vault to charge customers remotely. Recurring billing If you’re setting up subscription services, you might want to set up recurring billing in your Erply account. Recurring billing automatically creates product invoices at set increments, which can be billed for any predetermined length of time. Erply does the hard work for you so you can focus on servicing your customers. Industry-specific retail adaptation ideas Below, we’ll list some industry-specific ideas on how you can adapt your retail business to the changing times. Be sure to check out all of the sections, even if an industry does not match your business, you might gain inspiration on how certain ideas can be adapted to your specific store! Most, if not all of these ideas can be implemented online or in-store. Be sure to contact our team if you need e-commerce set up on your Erply account, Remember, although people are spending more time indoors, those numbers will decrease as states open up and as the weather improves. Try to envision how your products can be used outdoors or during seasonal events while still adhering to social distancing policies. Fireworks stores Areas particularly affected by stay-at-home orders are seeing an increase in one-off fireworks usage, This will, of course, only increase as the weather warms up and we inch closer to summer holidays. Recommend setting up fireworks bundles to encourage sales, to new and existing customers. Starter packs can be used to help sell slower moving items and introduce new audiences to your store.. Depending on your state’s fireworks regulations, you might also want to set up subscription boxes, or a “fireworks of the month” bundle. Customers can pick up a box each month or sign up for delivery. Both options can take advantage of contactless payments or recurring billing. Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of promotions and coupons during those summer holidays to increase sales! Gardening stores Quarantined or not, your green-thumbed customers will still be looking for your expertise on plant care and gardening tips. We recommend providing online gardening classes with Q&A sessions. These can be paid for in your online store, which may also encourage customers to make additional online purposes. You also can set up bundle and assembly products in your Erply account to create planter kits or herb sets. Some gardening stores have been offering creative options too, such as a paint your own planter kit. Sports stores Sporting events might be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t have a need for your merchandise in the future. Warm weather encourages at-home practice, even if full on competitions are off the table. Now is a great time to take advantage of sales and coupons to keep inventory moving in preparation for season reopenings. These can come bundled with online training classes that give customers tips and tricks for different sport techniques, stretches, etc. Online video game sporting alternatives, like NBA 2K and FIFA, can be used to keep your customers engaged with your brand. Try partnering with local schools or recreational leagues to form online brackets, then charge online entry fees for players looking to participate. Arts and crafts shops The arts have seen a huge boom during state-wide quarantines. From therapeutic activities to creating artwork that supports good causes, such as Healthcare Heros or Rainbow Hunt, there’s a place for craft shops in every home. You might also want to consider bundling items that can be used to create drive-by signage. Online classes or video tutorials are a popular indoor activity that you can sell to your customers through an online webshop. Maybe your shop hosted paint and sip nights. You can either take these to the web, or provide customers with resources and ideas to host their own. Apparel stores Did you know that the color red is the hardest color to capture on photo and video? As more and more people adjust to working from home, promotions and coupons can be used to highlight webcam-friendly clothing and accessories. If you want to take on a more hands-on response to covid-19, you can try to repurpose inventory items to create protective face masks. What’s more, you can offer online classes on how to transform different clothing items into face masks. All of the above can be done using a basic e-commerce platform! Beauty brands Wellness is a huge focus during these coronavirus times, which means you can attract new customers by offering different wellness-themed bundles and packages. You may want to set up subscription boxes using Erply’s recurring billing tools. Brainstorm creative ideas for your products, such as webcam beauty tips for women and men. Bonus points if you can partner with actual customers or a local influencer and work a creative social hashtag to build a sense of community. You can even use coupon codes to encourage more of these sales, and commission an influencer from right within Erply.

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Article | December 23, 2021

As an open-source eCommerce platform, Magento has aided online retailers in growing and providing a consistent shopping experience for their customers. Let’s take a look at 5 Magento POS trends that are predicted to flourish in 2022. Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery There is now a disconnect between customer expectations and COVID reality. Despite the fact that consumers are conducting more shopping online, they still want access to their products as quickly as feasible. They anticipate faster delivery than ever before, and several online businesses, such as Amazon, have made significant investments in this area. Then, free delivery might be a deal-breaker. If they are offered the option of free shipping, 90% of customers said they would purchase online more frequently. Furthermore, 24% of buyers say that they would spend more to have free shipping. Companies that offer free delivery have a 20% greater conversion rate than those who do not. Greater Use of In-Store Self-checkout and Contactless Payment According to the Verizon Look Forward report, self-checkout is now used by 23% of respondents. Mobile payment systems have even replaced static POS counters in certain establishments, which will become a Magento POS trend in 2022. Contactless payment is expected to grow in popularity after 2021. Consumers have now seen the benefits of this new paying method and continued to demand access. That is why many shopkeepers choose ConnectPOS to support their self-service solution and improve the customer experience. Push Notification is the next Magento POS trend Push notifications are SMS messages that you may send to your clients in order to raise awareness and encourage them to interact with you more. Push notifications are preferred by about 44% of iOS users and 91% of Android users. The push notification extension of Magento allows you to communicate with your consumers directly through their browsers, without clogging their inboxes. You can keep your consumers informed about your special offers, discounts, new items, or promotions, as well as develop a solid relationship with them. Use of Voice Search and Personal Assistants Voice-based searches have grown popular as a result of the increased use of digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri. This Magento POS trend is simple to use, quick, and convenient. Compatible devices can use the Voice search capability to capture users’ inquiries in the form of voice. After that, it analyzes the language and provides the appropriate answer. By 2022, voice searches will account for almost half of all Internet purchases. Visual Search On sites like Pinterest, people undertake over 600 million visual searches every month. Because visual search is based on digital image processing, it allows you to search by picture. It is one of the characteristics that people utilize to look up landmarks or obtain directions. Visual search, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular on online eCommerce sites. Magento has included this functionality, allowing consumers to store an image of an item they like and use it to search for a comparable item to buy. It aids online business owners in expanding their capabilities and attracting the desired audience. In short Above are some Magento POS trends that retailers should understand to adapt well to changes in the next few years.

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Beautylish was founded in February 2010 with the goal of improving the way women discover and learn about the beauty products they use everyday. We would love to hear your feedback as we continually work on improving the experience (email us at feedback@beautylish.com). We are based in beautiful San Francisco, California.