A Guide to POS Hardware

A Guide to POS Hardware

Point of sale (POS) systems are an integral component of any retail business, irrespective of its size. Modern-day point of sale (POS) systems, unlike traditional cash registers, are advanced solutions designed to perform multiple other tasks besides payment processing; some of which include managing and tracking inventory, customer relationship management, tracking and managing employees, and more. Therefore, for the seamless functioning of a retail business, picking the right point of sale (POS) solution that meets both your business needs and budget is a must.

This blog talks about the hardware components that come in every point of sale (POS) bundle.

Let us start by discussing point of sale (POS) systems in detail.

Point of sale (POS) is the place in a store where all transactions take place. Here, customers pay for their chosen commodity/services and the retailer/sales assistant accepts the payment and issues a payment receipt to the customer, completing the transaction. To complete the sale, a set of hardware and software components are used, known as the point of sale (POS) system.

Note: You can purchase the hardware components separately or purchase a bundle, depending on your requirement. Vend POS bundles , Shopify POS bundles , and LightSpeed POS bundles are some of the popular point of sale (POS) bundles.

James Ritty, an Ohio-based entrepreneur invented the point of sale (POS) system- cash register in 1879. Designed to record error-free transactions, facilitate book-keeping, and manage cash, this device revolutionised payment processing ever since. In 1884, the National Cash Register Corporation acquired Ritty’s invention and added cash drawers and paper rolls to facilitate receipt printing. By the mid-90s, these devices were transformed into digital machines which came with LCD screens, credit card magnetic strips, and thermal printing. In 1986, Gene Mosher invented the first graphic touchscreen interface.

Key Advantages of Point of Sale (POS) System

  • Inventory Management: Tracking and managing inventory is one of the key advantages of owning a point of sale (POS) system. Not only will you be notified about the products that are low in stock but you will also be notified about the products that are not selling well. You can monitor your business operations from your central monitor and need not be physically present to track your products.
  • Report Generation: Using a point of sale (POS) system, you can keep a track of your sales and generate accurate and reliable sales reports monthly or quarterly, as per your requirements.
  • Employee Management: Point of sale (POS) systems help in tracking employees’ login and log-out time and the total number of sales they have made each day. These reports help business owners reward the best performing employees and also give an idea about the total number of sales made per day.
  • Customer Management: Point of sale (POS) systems store customer information like their purchase history, preferences, etc. that help businesses provide personalised services tailored for specific customers. This helps in building a better customer relationship.

Hardware Components of a Point of Sale (POS) System

Hardware components of a point of sale (POS) system are the input and output devices that allow the point of sale (POS) software to function. Modern-day point of sale (POS) hardware can range from traditional desktops to iPads and more.

The popular hardware components of a point of sale (POS) system include-

  • POS Monitor: These are the display devices on which the point of sale (POS) software is installed. These can either be a desktop, an iPad, or a tablet. Retail stores used to have designated checkout counters where customer checkouts used to take place and all the hardware components used to be placed. But with the introduction of mobile point of sale (mPOS) systems, retailers/sales assistants can checkout customers at any location within the store. This expedites the checkout process, which is beneficial for both the customers and retailers/sales assistants.
  • POS Computer: We are aware that the point of sale (POS) software is the operating system that integrates the point of sale (POS) hardware components, and the point of sale (POS) software is installed in the POS computer.
  • Barcode Scanner: As the name implies, barcode scanners are devices that are used to scan, read, and decode information printed on barcodes. Barcodes are attached to every commodity these days and contain product-related information. These devices help with expediting the checkout process, check inventory levels, providing accurate and real-time product-related information, and more.

    Ideally, there are 4 types of barcode scanners-
  1. In-counter Barcode Scanners: These are the most common types of barcode scanners that you can spot on the checkout counters of most retail stores. These are designed to scan multiple items quickly and easily.

  2. Fixed Barcode Scanners: As the name implies, fixed barcode scanners are designed to scan and read barcodes using sensors that get triggered when a commodity is passed in front of it, for example, industrial barcode scanners.
  3. Handheld Barcode Scanners: This type of scanner is the most widely preferred type of scanner. They can be either corded or cordless barcode scanners.

  4. Presentation Barcode Scanners: These scanners are designed to function more or less like the in-counter barcode scanners and are capable of scanning multiple items conveniently. These hands-free devices can produce omni-directional scan patterns.
  • Payment Processor: Point of sale (POS) systems are designed for one primary function- to process payments. Payment processors are capable of accepting and processing payments that help complete a transaction. Since cashless transactions are trending, customers prefer paying using credit/debit cards or any other third-party payment mode. As a business owner, you need to provide your customers with advanced payment processors that can provide them with the convenience to make payments through their preferred mode. This expedites the checkout processes and helps build a strong customer relationship.
  • Cash Drawer: There still are customers who prefer paying in cash, even though cashless transactions and digital payment are in trend. To store cash payments safely, businesses require a sturdy device, known as cash drawer. These devices are usually connected to the point of sale (POS) terminal or receipt printer and open and close on receiving a command from the point of sale (POS) software. Usually, cash drawers come with compartments that help store cash and other important bills and receipts securely.
  • Receipt Printer: Receipt printers are used to print payment receipts for customers which contain purchase-related information like product name, date and time of purchase, price, etc. Even though customers these days prefer e-invoices, physical receipts facilitate the return/exchange of purchased products.

    There are 2 prominent types of receipt printers-
  • Dot Matrix/Impact Receipt Printer: These are the oldest types of receipt printers and are quite sturdy and reliable. The printheads of dot matrix receipt printers come with pins arranged in series. When the printhead impacts the ink ribbons, dots are produced in the form of alphabets or graphics. Even though these printers are not expensive, the maintenance costs of these devices are high as these printers come with moving parts. The printing process is also quite noisy.
  • Thermal Receipt Printer: As the name suggests, these printers function on heat mechanism, for example, Epson TM-T82III Thermal Receipt Printer. When the heated printhead impacts the chemically-treated (heat-sensitive) paper, it darkens the paper creating alphabets and numbers. These printers are the most widely preferred types of receipt printers. The upfront costs of thermal receipt printers are high, however, the maintenance costs of these devices are low as they do not require toners and ink ribbons.

Other than these components, there are a few other hardware components that some businesses use-

  • 1.Scales
  • 2.Customer-facing Display
  • 3.Self-service Kiosks


A point of sale (POS) system is beneficial for the smooth functioning of any business. As a business owner, it is essential to pick the perfect point of sale (POS) system that would suit the business perfectly.

If you are on the hunt for quality point of sale (POS) bundles in Australia, browse the POS Sales Australia website and explore our extensive collection. For any personalised assistance, get in touch with our expert who will help you pick the right solution for your business.