The Evolution of Cash Registers for Small Business

cash registers for small business Retail POS Systems

Developed in 1879, the first cash registers for small business had a success. They appeared to be a handy solution to handle various tasks from calculating taxes to ringing sales. For this reason, they are used even today when any small business owner requires a reliable and long-lasting solution.

Whether you launch a new cafe or run a well-established coffee shop, having cash registers for small business is vital from many points of view. Moreover, they evolved to deliver some more advanced features out of the box. On the other hand, modern solutions in the face of POS cash register come as an all-in-one platform.

So, which one to choose? Is it going to be a traditional cash register for small business or an advanced cafe POS system with all functions in the pack? will figure it out for you.

POS Solutions vs. Traditional Cash Registers for Small Business

So, what is the difference between brick-to-mortar cash registers for small business and advanced cafe POS systems? Both service actually the same purposes though in a very different way.

PlatformCash Register POS System
FlexibilityBasic set of features Advanced platform with integration capabilities
Features Cash and receipt storage, sales tracking/basic reports Real-time reports, mobile payments, inventory management
Extensionsbarcode scanners and card readers all-in-one solution with touchscreen display, iPad and iPhone payments, remote processing
Pricingfrom $100 to $500 from $0 to $49 per month

Old-School Cash Register

For many decades, the tool has been actually the only legal way for businesses to sell their products to customers. It was divided into several types depending on the business fields. From restaurant and cafe cash registers to instruments for groceries, boutiques, etc. The platform had some of the core features to let entrepreneurs:

  • Store cash and receipts.
  • Calculate taxes and print simple reports.
  • Handle primitive sales tracking and reports.

Traditional cash registers for small business consisted of:

  1. Hardware for more functionality.
  2. Barcode scanners.
  3. Credit/debit card readers.

The basic package was pretty limited. A cafe or restaurant owner was forced to pay extra cash for a set of additional features. In other words, the more features you need, the higher your cash register price will be.

Traditional Cash Register Price: the basic cash register price started at $100. It sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? However, business owners were forced to pay every time they required extended features. Each update or modification increased the final cash register price. It could go p to $300-$400 considering all perks you might want from it.

Modern POS Cash Register

cash registers for small business

A modern POS cash register appeared to be a more flexible alternative. It combines all functions that can be found in traditional cash registers in addition to advanced technical capabilities. They include:

  • Real-Time Tracking – advanced cafe POS systems generate more accurate data. You can benefit from more reliable
  • Inventory Management – POS solutions are designed to handle inventory management and track assets.
  • All types of operations – from mobile transactions and credit card processing to the remote

Just like traditional cash registers for small business, POS systems also have some core elements. They are actually the same with some slight modifications:

  1. Hardware.
  2. Touchscreen device.
  3. A desktop computer or mobile device.
  4. Credit card readers, barcode scanners and anything you might need.

The main difference is that POS cash register delivers all those elements as an all-in-one solution. You get a full pack of features within a single platform with no need for modification.

POS Cash Register Price: the price may range depending on the package and features. A typical POS cash register will cost you from $1500. However, Square comes as a cost-effective and up-to-date alternative delivering its award-winning tool for small business. You can get all the features in one platform for only $9 per month. Moreover, you can try the entire Square point of sale system absolutely free!

The Benefits of Traditional Cash Registers for Small Business

They are reliable and relatively easy to use. They serve fundamental purposes though still look pretty limited if compared to modern POS systems. The main benefits include:

  • Affordable Price – Considering pretty low cash register price, a basic package will cost you about $100. But you should note that each and every update or new feature will cost you more. Prepare to pay every time you need a barcode scanner or a card reader. Those are essential features for modern business. So, it appears that traditional cash registers are not as affordable as they seem at first sight.
  • Durability – Invented in 1879, the tool still serves today. It is the best proof of long lifespan and reliability. Despite all limits and the lack of features, it is a long-lasting instrument that will serve your need as long as you need.

The Benefits of A Modern POS Cash Register

cash registers for small business

Modern POS systems offer a wider set of features. They are more flexible, which means more integration capabilities. The main advantage is the fact that you actually get an ultimate all-in-one small business solution at a reasonable price. Here is what you get:

  • Precise Data – Modern technologies let users generate more reliable and accurate data. Modern cafe POS systems boast great analytic tools. They let you track sales, generate reports and make wise crucial decisions for the business.
  • Advanced Inventory Management – Whether you need to monitor your stock level status or update the inventory advanced POS solutions will do the trick. They provide real-time data on all necessary products or items from the inventory. You can set most and least popular goods, make on-time orders, etc.
  • Enhanced Marketing Tools – Modern POS cash registers for small business come as an effective promotion tool. They contain marketing and loyalty programs to keep your customers satisfied 24/7. Moreover, you can use marketing campaigns for a better customs’ acquisition, collect emails, form strong clients’ feedback and more.
  • Integration Opportunities – POS systems for small business introduce flexible POS cash registers. It means that you can integrate third-party software for an enhanced experience. Implement business management instruments, payrolls, marketing tools, etc.

The Bottom Line

Small business niche is facing probably the toughest competition especially when it comes to the hospitality field. It is getting harder for new players to stand out from competitors. This is where modern technologies in the face of cafe POS systems might help. Keeping your clients satisfied in the key to success. You need to serve them fast and at the highest quality.

Modern point of sale solutions are aimed at bringing your business to a new level, while traditional tools are getting out-of-date each date. Opting for more affordable at first sight traditional cash registers will hardly let you save and earn in the long run. The only way to take the challenge is to use advanced POS cash register for small business.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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About the author:
Aleksey Kartsev

A dedicated explorer and writer, Denis has made a long path from a copywriter to a digital marketing specialist. He has been working for years in the retail industry while defining the most effective and advanced IT solutions for business. His mission is to provide a handy guide for companies containing up-to-date software descriptions to drive their business forward.

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