Different Types of Point-Of-Sale Systems [Definition & Benefits]


A POS, or point of sale system, is extremely important if you’re running a business. There are many types of POS out there, and choosing the right one will help you grow your business. In this article, we’ll get into the details of a POS system, the different types, and the benefits of choosing a specific one. By the end of this article, you’ll easily be able to make the best decisions for your company!

What Is a Point of Sale System? 

A point of sale, or POS, is used to record sales and funds collected in a store. It can be a physical space (like a counter) or a virtual checkout page. These systems were first invented in 1879 by salon owner James Ritty in Ohio! This type of POS was much different from the ones we use now: it was just a cash register that recorded sales and kept track of payments.

With the increase in technology, POS systems have evolved. Now they keep track of inventory, customers, employees, sales, and payments!

DID YOU KNOW? The first computer-based POS system was invented in 1973, and was primarily made for restaurants.

What Does a POS System Consist Of? 

While there are many types, they all consist of the same two components, hardware and software. Both work in unison to make the POS system work efficiently.

  • Software: Software forms an integral part of any POS system. It is responsible for payment processing, POS reports, receipts, processing fee, and more. It works at the frontend initiating and recording transactions. At the backend, it is responsible for inventory management, employee management, and analysis of sales to manage business operations.
  • Hardware: Hardware includes all the components of the POS system that are visible. This includes barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, and cash registers, as well as computers, card and chip readers, smartphones, or tablets. It is important that you invest in good hardware components that are compatible with your POS software.

Types of POS

Now that we’ve gone over what a POS is and what it consists of, let’s take a look at the different types of point of sale systems available.

POS Apps 

POS apps work similarly to a traditional POS system; the main difference is that they allow you to process payments through smartphones or tablets. POS apps have gained popularity since the spread ofCOVID-19 as they allow customers to make quick payments without having to stand in line for a long time. It also allows business owners to access data anytime on their mobile phones.

The average price of POS apps varies between $59-$70 a month. These types of this POS system are suitable for small businesses, retailers, and online sellers.

Some POS apps service providers are Square (read our full review here), Lightspeed, and Shopify.

Mobile POS 

Mobile POS, or mPOS, is very similar to POS apps. Here, payments can be processed using a smartphone, tablet, or even an iPad! These are wireless, do not require many hardware components, and allow quick service. A mPOS also accept cash and card payments. The device can be connected to the POS software to accept payments and record sales.

The price of a mobile POS varies from one provider to another. The cost can range anywhere between $80 to $165 a month.

POS and mPOS systems are suitable for small businesses, traveling vendors, and any business owner looking for a portable POS system.

Some famous mPOS providers are Clover, Square, and Vend.

Touch Screen POS 

The use of touchscreen POS has become common amongst retailers. It can operate on any device like smartphones and tablets. A touch screen POS does not require a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse to process payments, which makes it more convenient and cost-friendly in the long run. Many businesses present their touch screens to customers, allowing them to fill in their details. It is one of the most common POS systems used.

One famous example of a touch screen POS is Amazon. The average price ranges between a flat fee of $100 to $300. Read reviews before purchasing and buy from a company that provides a warranty.

A touch screen POS is suitable for every type of business. Whether you require a POS for a restaurant or to run a bookshop, a touch screen POS is your most reliable option. It is easy to learn and only requires a one-time investment.

Some popular touch screen POS providers are Toast, TouchBistro (read our full reviews here and here), Upserve, and Lightspeed.

Cloud-Based POS

Cloud POS systems store data online rather than on a specific device. It is one of the best POS systems for retail as it allows easy access to data, is affordable, and can work on any device as long as it has an internet connection. Most providers also help you with the set-up and offer after-sale services to ensure your cloud POS runs smoothly.

Cloud-based systems are more affordable as they do not require any investment in hardware. The actual price depends on your service provider, but it usually ranges between $49-$99.

As mentioned, cloud POS types systems are suitable for retail stores, online businesses, stores that do not have space for a cash counter, or business owners looking for an affordable POS system option.

Some reliable cloud POS providers are Lightspeed, Revel, and Shopify.

Open Source POS

Open-source POS comes as a form of software to be purchased and installed on your device. Just like other software, it is used to accept payments, record sales, and analyze data to boost sales. You can connect your open source POS to any device, such as smartphones and tablets, as long as you know your password.

There are several free versions available for an open-source POS. However, we recommended that you buy the paid version to receive the maximum benefits. The average price varies between $79-$150 a month.

Some open source POS examples are Lightspeed, Revel, Shopify, Square, and Apple Pay.

It is suitable for any type of business, from retail stores to restaurants!

Multichannel POS

A multichannel POS allows businesses to sell on various platforms using centralized software. This includes selling physically in a store, online, and on the go; it allows owners to analyze their sales done on different platforms and allows customers to buy a product by whichever means are convenient to them. It reduces workload and centralizes all sales, helping analyze which channels are bringing the most bucks. Finally, these systems also allow credit card processing.

The average price of a multichannel POS is between $200 and $500. A multichannel POS is suitable for those who wish to expand their business on other platforms while keeping a centralized POS system. It is one of the best POS systems for retail, small businesses, manufacturers, and more!

Some of the popular multichannel POS providers are Shopify, Lightspeed Retail, Toast, Stripe, and Shopkeep.

Self-Service Kiosks

The last type of system that we will highlight is self-service kiosks. Have you ever visited a bus terminal, airport, or hotel and checked in on a separate system without an actual person? These are self-service kiosks. They allow quick service, have various payment terminals and are becoming more popular as people find them more accessible.

The price of self-service kiosks is on the higher side, between $1000 and $3000. However, this is a one-time cost and unlike the other types, does not require manpower to operate.

Self-service kiosks are suitable for retail stores, restaurants, book stores, tourist places, and more! They are recommended for spaces where security risks are less.

Some of the most reliable providers of self-service kiosks are Revel, Touchbistro, and Toast.

Key Takeaways

A POS system is where customers make payments for their purchases. It can be a physical space or a virtual page.
There are several kinds of POS systems out there; you should choose only the right POS for your business.
Some popular POS systems are mobile POS, POS apps, touchscreen POS, and cloud-based POS.
Other POS systems include open-source POS, multichannel POS, and self-service kiosks.

Benefits of Using a POS System 

Now that we’ve looked at the point of sale systems definition and its various types, we’ll go ahead and take a look at the benefits of using a POS system.

  • It makes it easier for the business owner to keep track of sales. Many also allow the POS to work on android or other smartphones which makes data more accessible.
  • A POS system helps with inventory management as it keeps a track of items. It helps business owners restock items, analyze products that are being sold faster than others, and those which are not as popular.
  • They also help with employee management as POS systems keep track of shifts, bonuses, tips, and leaves of each employee. Moreover, many prevent employees from reaching confidential information they shouldn’t have access to.
  • Although there are different kinds of POS systems, each can analyze sales data to help business owners personalize their marketing strategy and help boost sales.
DID YOU KNOW? POS systems also link to the cash drawer in the store. This provides additional security, as the cash drawer only opens up when instructed.


Point of sale refers to the place where customers make payments. There are several POS systems available on the market to choose from; these include mobile POS, POS apps, open-source POS, and multichannel POS. There are many benefits of using a POS, and you should choose only the best one depending upon your business needs. Good luck!


Which POS system is the best?

There are several POS systems available to choose from. The best one depends upon your business needs, budget, type of business, and employees!

What is the best POS software for retail?

Some of the best POS software for retail are Clover, Square POS, Toast, and Lightspeed. You should research well and choose the one suitable for your business needs before buying!

What are some of the types of point of sale systems?

There are several types of POS out there. Some of them are cloud-based POS, touch screen POS, mobile POS, POS apps, and open-source POS.


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