What is a POS system

The top 10 POS systems in comparison

1. What does a POS system have to do?

A modern cash register system must be intuitive to use, have extensive payment functions and enable mobile payment. GOBD conformity and compliance with the KassensichV is a matter of course in order to meet the strict requirements of the tax office. In contrast to the stand-alone cash register, additional functions are added to the system cash register in order to improve operational processes.

# 1 The necessary hardware

The important hardware components of a POS system include:

  • Terminal: All cashier functions are available to the cashier at the terminal. This requires a keyboard and a display for the cashier. The manufacturers often offer their own hardware as you know it from a cash register, but a modern PC can usually also be used. Touchscreen PCs, which make a keyboard superfluous and simplify operation, are very popular.
  • Cash drawer: This is used to store cash, and sometimes also for copies from card machines.
  • Bon printer: With it, cash receipts are printed for the customer, but also receipts for cash expenditures, cash deposits, cash withdrawals or cancellations.
  • Barcode scanner: The barcode scanner simplifies the checkout of sales items that are marked with a barcode. Dealers also need it for inventory to record goods.
  • Card readers: Are networked with the cash register in the cash register system.
  • Tablets: Often take on the function of the POS terminal (iPad cash register) or serve as additional devices for sales advisors, waiters or hairdressers (operating aids). The entrepreneur can also call up evaluations via a networked tablet, for example sales inquiries in real time. A tablet is used to checkout with the corresponding app.
  • Smartphones: Are often networked with the cash register system using an app. Serve as operating aids, replacements for the barcode scanner or query devices for evaluations.

# 2 functions for marketing, customer acquisition and customer loyalty

If you want to cash in, you need new and loyal customers. And this is exactly where POS systems help and offer functions such as:

  • Customer administration: Documentation of purchase history and individual preferences for better customer advice and customer service
  • Appointments / table reservations: The cash register supports customer acquisition with these functions.
  • Customer card: This means that the company's customer benefits from special services. Some of these cards are also available with a payment function.
  • Vouchers: The customer receives vouchers via SMS, e-mail or messenger message, which he can redeem at the time of purchase and which are managed by the cash register in accordance with GOBD.

# 3 functions for optimizing operational processes

In the operational process, the cash register is involved in a wide variety of processes. These include:

  • Customer service: When serving customers, sellers can access customer data and the article inventory in the warehouse. In the catering industry, the cash register supports the acceptance of a guest order and automatically forwards the order to the kitchen.
  • Employee administration: In addition to the seller statistics, time recording and interfaces to payroll accounting are also conceivable. An important point here is also the proof that a company complies with the minimum wage regulations.
  • Inventory management / inventory: Through the connection of the merchandise management, every sale leads to a change in inventory in the warehouse. An inventory can also be carried out using a cash register system.
  • E-commerce: Anyone who networks their Amazon, Ebay shop or their own online shop with the cash register always benefits from up-to-date information on stock levels. Nothing is more annoying than having to inform an online customer that the product they have ordered is currently not in stock.
  • Accounting: Modern cash register systems automatically transfer data from the daily closing to an accounting program or to the tax advisor. That saves time in the office.
  • Evaluations: The modern system checkout supports controlling with extensive evaluations. Sales and gross profit analyzes for goods, groups of goods, departments and salespeople are possible.

# 4 Examples of requirements in certain industries

In addition to POS systems, which are offered as a universal solution, there are industry solutions, e.g. for retail, gastronomy and service providers such as hairdressers or beauty salons. These industry solutions have special functions for the respective industry.

  • POS systems in retail
    The control of the inventory management is very important for retailers. Therefore, a retail checkout needs an interface to inventory management and an inventory module in any case.

  • POS systems for hairdressers
    The focus here is on perfect salon management. Appointment management, customer management and customer loyalty functions are very important here.

  • POS systems for restaurateurs
    Here the cash register supports the restaurant management. The cash register should therefore have functions such as table reservation, table overview, radio ordering, and control of the sequence of dishes.

Entrepreneurs who use a perfect POS system not only save time and money, but also improve customer acquisition and customer loyalty and have an instrument at their disposal to make their own company better and better. Every entrepreneur would do well to draw up his own catalog of criteria.

  • For gastronomy, retail and service providers
  • 100% tax office compliant
  • Mobile devices
  • All payment methods

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2. The providers at a glance

price per month
target groupHardware softwareSupport processes
from 39 €
RestaurateursiPad cash register, software as a mobile appCustomer management and customer loyalty; Processes guest service; Waiter administration; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management
from 49 €
RestaurateursiPad and desktops, software as a mobile appCustomer management and customer loyalty; Guest service processes; Waiter administration; Accounting; Controlling; Merchandise management
€ 14.90 / license
Retail, hairdressers, serviceiPad and desktops, software as a mobile appCustomer management and customer loyalty; Seller management; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management
iZettle Pro
39 €
gastronomyiPads, smartphonesCustomer management and customer loyalty; Seller management; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management; Invoicing and collection
from € 49.90
Gastronomy, retail, hairdressers, service providersManufacturer terminals; Software in the cloudCustomer management and customer loyalty; Customer service processes; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management; E-commerce
29 € / license
gastronomyiPads, smartphones; Software as a mobile appGuest service processes; Waiter administration; Accounting / controlling
39 € / license
Gastronomy, retail, hairdressers, service providersManufacturer terminals; Software in the cloudCustomer management and customer loyalty; Customer service processes; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management; E-commerce
19 € / license
Gastronomy, retail, hairdressers, service providersManufacturer terminals; Software in the cloudCustomer management and customer loyalty; Customer service processes; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management; E-commerce
on demand
Gastronomy, retail, hairdressers, service providersiPad; Software as a mobile appCustomer management and customer loyalty; Accounting / controlling; Merchandise management; E-commerce
from € 87
Universal checkoutManufacturer terminals; Software in the cloudConcentration on cash management and sales controlling; Interfaces to customer loyalty, customer advice, merchandise management and e-commerce can be individually configured

This overview shows you the following things: Modern POS systems are usually affordable, the monthly costs are manageable. There are both pure industry solutions and cross-industry solutions.

Many providers rely on iPads as point of sale terminals. Providers such as MagentaBusiness POS, POSCAST, ready2order and Vectron offer their own terminals. Peripheral devices such as cash drawers, receipt printers or barcode scanners are available from all providers, and in some cases the entrepreneur can also use his own hardware. The necessary investments for hardware are listed below in a detailed comparison.

3. The POS system comparison in detail

Since all providers offer all payment functions, we do not list this criterion in the comparison table. All systems in this comparison are also GOBD-compliant and meet the KassensichV.

Part 1: Gastrofix, Gastronovi, helloCash, iZettle Pro and MagentaBusiness POS.

criteriaGastrofixGastronovihelloCashiZettle ProMagentaBusiness POS
Industry specializationGastroGastroRetail, hair, localsGastroGastro, retail, hair, locals
Gastro = gastronomy; Retail = retail; Hair = hairdressing salons; Locals = other service providers
hardware(All systems offer peripheral devices such as cash drawers, receipt printers, etc.)
own hardwareNoYesNoNoYes
Tablets, smartphonesTabletsYesYesTabletsSmartphones
Marketing, customer acquisition and customer loyalty
Customer managementYesYesYesYesYes
Table reservation,
Vouchers, customer cardsYesYesCouponsNoCoupons
Optimization of operational processes
Customer serviceYesYesNoNoYes
Employee administrationYesYesYesYesYes
Wawi, inventoryYesYesYesYesYes
Bookkeeping / evaluationsYesYesYesYesYes
Software / monthfrom 99 €from 49 €from € 14.90from 39 €from € 49.90
Hardware / one-timefrom € 1,300from € 699from 388 €from € 349(included)

The monthly costs are affordable for all systems. There are clearer differences when it comes to investments in POS hardware.

Part 2: orderbird, POSCAST, ready2order, tillhub and Vectron

Industry specializationGastroAastro, Retail, Hair, LocalsGastro, retail, hair, localsGastro, retail, hair, localGastro, retail, hair, locals
Gastro = gastronomy; Retail = retail; Hair = hairdressing salons; Locals = other service providers
hardware (All systems offer peripheral devices such as cash drawers, receipt printers, etc.)
own hardwareNoYesYesNoYes
Tablets, smartphonesYesNoNoYesNo
Marketing, customer acquisition and customer loyalty
Customer managementNoYesYesYesYes
Table reservation,
Vouchers, customer cardsNoYesCouponsYesCoupons
Optimization of operational processes
Customer serviceNoYesYesNointerface
Employee administrationYesYesYesYesinterface
Wawi, inventoryNoYesYesYesinterface
Bookkeeping / evaluationsYesYesYesYesinterface
software29 € per devicefrom 39 €from 19 €from 49 €from 40 €
Hardware (one-time cost)from 599 €from 890 €on demandon demandfrom € 2,000

Even with these providers, the monthly costs for the software are kept within reasonable limits. When choosing the optimal POS system, it is not so much the price that counts, but the functionality.

4. Typical questions about choosing a POS system

How important is the price of a POS system?

When choosing the POS system, the decisive factor is not the price, but its functionality. For the software, the manufacturers usually offer favorable monthly installments per device used. Certainly, the hardware sometimes requires an initial investment of more than 1000 €. That is then a question of financing, with the manufacturers sometimes also mediating or offering leasing offers. Assuming a depreciation period of 3 years for an investment of 1800 € in the hardware, this results in depreciation amounts per year of 600 € or 50 € per month, which are incurred as operating expenses.

Let us assume that you invest in a cash register system that costs € 49.90 per month, then the system will already pay off if you generate more than € 49.90 per month thanks to the cash register system. That should be doable if you choose the perfect system for you. If a waiter alone generates € 100 more drinks in one evening because he has more time for his customers thanks to the system, the system would have more than paid off.

What is the best course of action when choosing a POS system?

The procedure is always in four stages. At the beginning there is the needs assessment, which is followed by the selection phase. After the test phase and purchase, the entrepreneur must introduce the new system without any friction losses in the company.

Key questions for determining needs

  • What industry is your company in? Are there special solutions here?
  • Do you need to make an appointment or reserve a table through the cash register? What does your customer contact route look like?
  • Which functions do you need for customer service on site? For example, restaurateurs need to take orders or order wirelessly with aisle control.
  • Do you need a merchandise management system? Possibly also with a connection to your e-commerce channels?
  • Do you have several branches? So do you need a branch-compatible POS system?
  • What requirements do you have for the seller administration or waiter administration? Do you need time recording in addition to sales revenue evaluations?
  • Which interfaces do you need for accounting? DATEV interface or interfaces to accounting programs?
  • Which evaluations do you need? Do you want to call up sales figures in real time, e.g. with your smartphone?

Companies should draw up a catalog of criteria based on these key questions and work with this catalog of criteria.

Procedure during the selection phase

Some providers offer a test phase, others have a system presentation beforehand, either as a webinar or video presentation or as an on-site presentation. If a manufacturer offers a test, you should take advantage of that. Test typical checkout processes or operating procedures in your company. Some entrepreneurs are very meticulous here. It is known of a Berlin hairdressing salon that it took 2 years to buy a cash register for needs analysis and system selection.

Introductory phase and system operation

Every new software system leads to a change in processes. Employees have to say goodbye to old habits and the entrepreneur may have to overcome resistance in the team. The introductory phase is easy when the new POS system is intuitive to use and quick to learn. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs have to adapt a few things:

  • Process descriptions and procedures for cashing and closing
  • New functions such as customer management have to be learned.
  • The interfaces to accounting and the procedure there also require a lot of conversion.

Intensive training and support for employees in handling the cash register are therefore very important.

What should you watch out for in the hardware and software of a POS system?

The trend among manufacturers of system tills is to make themselves independent of specific hardware devices. The POS software is crucial for the functioning of a POS system. Of course, a cash register system needs a cash drawer, a barcode scanner and a receipt printer. Here, the manufacturers of the POS systems usually do not offer their own hardware, but devices from other manufacturers. One example are the receipt printers from Epson.

The function of the terminal, on the other hand, can be taken over by a desktop, a touchscreen desktop or a tablet. The software ensures that the POS peripherals are connected to the terminal. Card devices are still required for payment by debit card or credit card. The more the trend towards contactless card payments increases, the more likely it is that smartphones will take over the function of card terminals in the future.

The design of the end devices is also important. The smaller a POS terminal, the more space the entrepreneur has in his shop. This is particularly important in stationary retail. The attractiveness of the design is also an important point, because the till is part of the shop equipment and influences the appearance of the overall design and the effect on the customer. In a classy beauty salon, the cash register should also have a classy design.

Conclusion: the POS system as a turbo for profitability

Cashier functions and GOBD conformity are the minimum requirements for cash register systems. The functions that a POS system offers are decisive. Modern system tills have interfaces for customer management and customer loyalty and optimize work processes. In the catering industry, for example, these are functions such as taking orders or radio ordering, as shown by the solutions from Gastrofix or Gastronovi. The entrepreneur saves time, reduces the error rate and increases the customer experience. Hairdressers can impress their customers with advice and cashing at the treatment center, retailers with instant access to individual items, as the example of MagentaBusiness POS shows. Some systems focus on a single industry, systems such as tillhub, ready2order or POSCAST offer solutions for several industries.

All cash register systems offer detailed statistics and evaluations, in particular sales and gross profit statistics per article, per product group and department and of course informative seller statistics for personnel management. In this way, the entrepreneur receives informative data to optimize his company in a targeted manner. Ideally, sales, gross profit and operating results improve thanks to the efficiency advantages of a networked system checkout.

The monthly costs for a POS system range from 19 euros to 100 euros and more. Investments in hardware range between 350 euros and over 2,000 euros. Good financial planning is required, and entrepreneurs can often finance the investments via leasing. In the case of the cash register system, it is not monthly costs and initial investments that are decisive, but rather whether a cash register system improves the processes in a company, whether this increases customer satisfaction or reduces costs. Therefore, proceed systematically when choosing a POS system. Draw up your catalog of criteria for what the cash register must be able to do, let the system be introduced to you and test it thoroughly.

Author: Für-Gründer.de editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Gründer.de for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Gründer.de, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.