What is a point of sale system and what are the types?

April 18, 2024

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Imagine a typical scene on a busy shopping day: a retail store is packed with customers, all waiting in long lines to pay for their products. The staff runs around, trying to serve everyone, but chaos seems inevitable. Meanwhile, in a cozy cafe, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mixes with the murmur of impatient customers.


However, the atmosphere of warmth is marred by confusion and disarray caused by the lack of an automated system to process transactions and manage inventory. In both cases, the absence of a point of sale translates into long waits, dissatisfied customers and lost business opportunities.


That is why we created this article, to explain a little more about the universe of point of sale systems, what their characteristics are and what aspects you should evaluate before implementing a system of this type.


pos system


What is a point of sale system?

In its simplest sense, a point of sale system refers to a device used to process transactions by retail businesses. It should be noted that a point of sale can be both a physical device for processing cards, as well as an electronic payment point in a web store.


“Software for point-of-sale devices is becoming more elaborate, with features that allow retailers to monitor inventory and purchasing trends, track price accuracy, and collect marketing data”, they noted in an article on the Investopedia portal.


An interesting aspect of point-of-sale systems is that they are becoming more interactive, especially in high-demand industries such as hospitality. In this case, there are systems that allow customers to place orders and reservations easily and intuitively, as well as pay invoices electronically.


Types of point of sale systems

There are different types of point of sale, we will talk to you about each of them so that you can evaluate which one is best for your business:


Mobile point of sale systems

“Smartphone and tablet point-of-sale services can process payments and manage some inventory and customer information. In most cases, the application is free in exchange for payment processing (...) This is a suitable POS option if you do not manage a lot of inventory and need to be mobile", they explained on the specialized Business portal.



“A terminal point-of-sale system uses hardware systems to process card payments at retail points of sale. The terminal reads the magnetic stripe of the credit or debit card and transfers the necessary funds to the merchant. Customers also receive a receipt of the transaction via email or text message. The terminal system works well for retailers and restaurants”, they noted on the Indeed portal.


pos system


Self-service kiosk

A novel mechanism that some businesses are using are self-service kiosk-type points of sale, which allow customers to purchase independently, without depending on a person to process that purchase.


This modality gives more autonomy to consumers, to buy and pay without waiting or delays, whenever they want. Kiosks are especially effective in low-traffic businesses.


Cloud-based points of sale

They are point-of-sale systems that do not require hardware to operate, which results in lower costs in general. It is an ideal option for companies that are just starting operations.


“Cloud-based point-of-sale systems are hosted completely online – in the cloud. Similar to accessing the Internet or Instagram, a cloud-based POS system allows you to log in, manage, update and track from anywhere you have Wi-Fi”, they noted on the Uber Eats for Merchants portal.


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What operations should a point of sale system do?

Before implementing a point of sale system, you must ensure that the system has the capacity to execute these operations, according to what Shopify, one of the world's leading e-commerce platforms, recommends:


  • Process sales and receive payments
  • Process returns, exchanges and credits flexibly
  • Help you serve multiple clients effectively
  • Offer a broad view of your business inventory
  • Provide robust analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Offer quick access to customer profiles, order histories and loyalty programs
  • Easily integrate with your enterprise technology stack


pos system


A POS not only streamlines business transactions by automating sales processes, but also provides a real-time view of available inventory, facilitates customer management, and offers tools for more accurate tracking of sales and revenue. Consider implementing this system to boost your business and increase your sales.


Do you need a software development team to implement a point of sale system? At Rootstack, we have +14 years of experience supporting companies in their digital transformation. Contact us.


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