Technology Tip: Choose the Right Retail POS Hardware and Software

As a retailer, your margins are tight. The right point of sale system is a crucial investment for your business, but picking one can be a time-consuming challenge. How do you choose the retail POS hardware and software combination that is right for your business and your budget?

To bargain hunt or bundle?

Before diving into specific credit card POS systems, let's discuss the key strategic decisions to make.

MerchantMaverick put together a useful guide for whether you want to buy your entire system from one vendor, put one together piecemeal by bargain-hunting or making do with your existing equipment (1).  They found that business owners willing to purchase turn-key solutions from POS providers might leave some money on the table, but that they gained efficiency and ensured all the elements would work together.

Lean on existing research

Ready to consider particular systems?  There are resources to help.

One key decision you'll face is whether to pick one of the newer tablet based systems or ones based on technology that has been in the marketplace longer.

Business News Daily researched more than 50 POS systems and came up with top recommendations for various types for 2015 (2).

The news source also shortlisted various systems designed for retail, as opposed to specifically for restaurants or service providers. offers a nine-question survey to narrow down choices that might fit your business (3). It also breaks down various systems in a grid showing key variables like swipe fees, management features and whether systems are designed for retail, restaurants or salons.

Credit card payment processors can help

Your existing merchant services company may also be able to help you navigate the hundreds of retail POS systems available, ensuring smooth coordination between your payment processor and any new retail POS hardware and software you purchase.