Cash registers (also known as 'tills') provide a low-cost solution for small and medium sized retail stores and food service outlets. The various components are all integrated into one neat unit that requires one mains power point:
-keyboard / keypad
-receipt printer
-cash drawer
-operator and customer display

A basic till starts from just £65. A medium-specification cash register with integrated cash drawer, receipt printer, journal printer, operator display, customer display panel, and a barcode scanner can be implemented for less than £450. A system till with stock control costs around £750.

Some people still have the perception of a cash register as an old-fashioned mechanical machine. However, the current range of modern computerised electronic cash registers can offer sophisticated functionality in a sleek design with:
-integrated stock control
-barcode scanning
-2-station printing
-VAT/tax tables
-stock re-ordering and much more at a very reasonable cost.

Cash Registers provide good basic functionality in terms of registering sales, printing the receipt and operating the cash drawer. Some of the more sophisticated tills support barcode scanning, stock control and multiple tills can also be networked together. Tills are also able to provide sales analysis, management reports to show revenue, product performance, product-category performance and staff performance. High-end tills also offer integral stock control.

Advanced features include:
-support for promotions like mix and match
-buy 2 get 1 free
-links to a kitchen printer
-data link to a PC or compact flash card
-customer accounts
-staff security levels
-multi-level menus for product selection.

On machines like the Casio TE-4000, the cash drawer section can be dismantled from the main cash register for under-counter mounting. This provides a sleeker looking cash register which can be fixed to your retail counter, using less space and looking much better.

With a cash register, you can either just punch in prices to register sales transactions and print a receipt or you can setup all your individual products and related information before use. The former method provides you with an instant EPoS solution, the latter will involve some initial time but yield more meaningful sales, management and performance reports. A compromise would be setup 'departments' or product categories rather than list all individual product lines, and that allow a certain level of sales analysis and separation if different VAT rates apply to different products.

The disadvantage of tills is that there are only handful of major manufacturers (Casio, Sharp, SAM4S etc) so choice is limited, the software features are hard coded into the machine so features cannot be readily customised, updated or enhanced and new machines are only released every few years. The character-size limits for product/category descriptions are limited, and the machine (or individual components within the machine) cannot be readily upgraded or changed - it has to be replaced entirely if you want a different specification.

If the EPoS requirements of a retail business are basic and the budget is limited, then cash registers provide an affordable, low-cost point-of-sale solution for almost immediate implementation.

While entry-level and mid-range cash registers can be self setup, the more advanced system cash registers usually require an experienced person to do the setup and programming, which may not be straightforward on some machines. You may also incur ongoing future costs for additions and changes required to the programming.

If you wish to discuss your EPoS system requirements and require additional buying advice, please call us at EposSystems.com on 020 7127 4250.

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