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Retail Point of Sale Systems and Software

Easily manage inventory from the stockroom to the point of sale.

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Why manually capture transaction data when you can decrease checkout time and increase inventory accuracy while improving customer satisfaction?

With an automated retail point of sale system, you can minimize costly errors that prevent productivity—regardless of your industry.


There are several POS systems designed for specific industries, including grocery stores, gas stations, and salons. In fact, barcodes were originally patented for retail POS applications so stores could run faster and be more efficient.

While each application varies in the features it offers, most POS systems allow you to:

  • Maintain accurate stock levels
  • Create detailed sales and inventory reports
  • Process credit cards
  • Print barcoded price tags
  • Incorporate an employee time clock
  • Manage user-based security permissions
  • Track cash drawer shifts
  • Oversee data for multiple stores

What components do I need?

Several components are required for an effective POS system.

  • Retail point of sale software
  • Software is the main component of a POS system. It automatically records transaction data at the time of purchase using barcode technology that provides quick access to inventory, customers, sales, and other businesses. This enables you to accurately track inventory levels, transaction records, and sales histories, which leads to efficient operations and happier customers.

    TIP: Select your software first to ensure your peripherals are compatible. Not all POS hardware is compatible with every software package. Wasp makes POS systems that are compatible with most environments.

  • Point of sale terminals
  • In retail environments, point of sale terminals are small so they don’t take up valuable counter space. You can also integrate terminals with a monitor to conserve even more room and reduce the number of cables.

    You may purchase POS terminals with a CD-ROM drive so employees can’t install unauthorized software, media files, or viruses. Other options include a built-in magstripe credit card readers, smartcard readers, and fingerprint (biometric) security readers.

  • Cash drawers
  • Cash drawers organize and store cash, checks, signed credit receipts, and coupons. Many have media slots in the front of the drawer so you can insert checks, credit card slips, and gift certificates into a drawer without actually opening it. These features keep the cash more secure.

  • Receipt printers
  • Receipt printers use one of three printing technologies: direct thermal, impact (also called dot matrix), and inkjet.

    TIP: Select your labels before buying a printer. The label requirements dictate the type of printer you’ll need.

    Direct thermal receipt printer
    • Uses a heated print head to print receipts
    • Prints on heat-sensitive thermal receipt paper
    • Fast and quiet
    • Does not require ribbons
    • Optional two-color printing
    • Not recommended for heat-sensitive environments
    • Images fade quickly, especially when left in the sun
    Impact (dot matrix) receipt printer
    • Uses ribbons to create images on paper
    • Only printer that can create carbon copy receipts
    • Ideal for hot environments such as kitchens
    • Least expensive printer
    • Optional two-color printing
    • Optional check validation, slip/ticket printing, and journal printing
    • Loud
    • Requires a ribbon
    Inkjet receipt printer
    • Uses nozzles to spray ink directly onto the receipt paper
    • Ideal for printing graphics or coupons
    • Fast and quiet
    • Optional two-color printing
    • Optional validation and slip/ticket printing
    • Ink can smear
    • Requires ink cartridges
  • Customer pole displays
  • Customer poles display purchase information to customers. But first you must confirm that the pole is compatible with your POS software or it will not understand the data you send it. Your manufacturer can help you determine compatibility.

    Between transactions you can display advertisements for loyalty programs or sales on the pole. The displays have different pole lengths to accommodate various counter heights.

  • Retail barcode scanners
  • Retail barcode scanners speed up the process and reduce user fatigue because they use omnidirectional technology to read all barcodes—regardless of their orientation to the scanner. You have a choice of in- or on-counter models. In-counter models are ideal for high-volume purchases such as grocery stores. On-counter scanners work best for stores with limited counter space. 2D scanners can read both 1 and 2D codes.

  • Magstripe readers
  • Magstripe readers (also called magnetic stripe readers or MSR) capture information encoded in the electromagnetic strips on the back of credit, debit, and gift cards. You must have credit card processing software to verify banking information for credit and debit cards.

    Standard magstripe readers are made of plastic, which makes them ideal for occasional use and small retail operations. Metal readers have a longer slot for increased reading accuracy and are designed for high-volume applications and outdoor and unsupervised use.

  • Transaction terminals
  • Transaction terminals electronically capture customer signatures and/or PINs, which are easier and more secure to store than piles of signed receipts which can get lost or damaged. Terminals may also have integrated magstripe readers for processing credit, debit, and gift card transactions. Some models include LCD screens for advertising.

  • Check readers
  • To verify account information, check readers electronically read the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) characters printed at the bottom of checks at the time of the transaction. This enables you to prevent check fraud and increase efficiency.

    Readers must be compliant with your POS software. Check with your manufacturer to ensure compliance.

  • POS shoes
  • POS shoes are designed to fit over a cash drawer and bear the weight of other POS peripherals on top of it. You can usually stack a POS terminal, monitor, customer pole display, keyboard, and receipt printer on top of it. POS shoes allow you to better organize cables, too.

  • Keyboards
  • Programmable keyboards feature magnetic stripe card readers and a built-in scanning input port. They also protect against liquid spillage.