6 questions you were always afraid to ask about cash registers

As you’re setting up your new store or restaurant, questions arise. Maybe you’ve wondered about it, maybe you haven’t, but we’re here to answer questions regarding one of the most important tools that you’ll be purchasing for your business: the cash register.

1. What is a cash register?

A cash register is a mechanical device that rings up sales, does basic calculations and holds money. That’s the traditional meaning of the word. Pretty simple. Fast forward to today, and the cash register does quite a bit more. Yes, it still rings up sales and may still hold money, but a cash register, in its traditional form, is on it’s way out. The Point of Sale system (POS), what some call an online cash register, is its modern day incarnation and is now considered the standard.

A history of retail

2. Who invented the cash register — and why?

The cash register was invented in the United States in 1870 by James Ritty. Originally named “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier,” the device was invented to keep the employees of his saloon from stealing money from him. Although the device didn’t hold money (money had to be held separately in employee pockets or a cash box), the cash register would ring every time it was opened, alerting the owner that somebody was adding or removing money from his system. The cash register business and patent changed hands several times over the following few years, and eventually was improved with the addition of a roll of paper for receipts and later an electric motor.

3. Why do we call a cash register a till?

That’s a great question. All we know is that this is common terminology in the UK and North America. Technically, the “till” refers specifically to the section of the cash register that holds money, however is often used to refer to the entire physical system.

4. What are the main differences between a traditional cash register and POS system?

A cash register in the traditional sense is entirely different from a POS system. Sure, a POS can ring in sales and hold onto cash, because it’s a tool for managing your entire business. For retailers, modern systems have inventory management aspects that give you the tools to upload and manage your stock, manage employees, check historical figures to make sales projections, improve customer service, and more. Essentially, a POS streamlines every aspect of running a single-location or multi-store retail business.

Retail store racks

5. How do I choose the right online cash register for my store?

There are many options for retailers who are either opening a new business or looking to upgrade their in-store process. Although it may seem overwhelming, you should start at the best place: the beginning.

  • How simple is the system to learn for managers and sales associates?
  • How will you link your online store with your brick and mortar?
  • How will the system help you actually grow your business?
  • How will the system actually look in your store and what provides a better customer experience, a machine on the counter or an iPad?

For more questions that you should ask yourself, take a look at the POS buyers guide — a free guide devoted entirely to this topic.

Why should I consider a POS cash register?

A POS can save you time by automating your more repetitive or time consuming tasks, help reduce instances of human error and help you take your POS mobile.

The cash register has come a long way since its early days in James Ritty’s saloon. Throughout what’s been an impressive evolution, we’re at least glad the device’s original name didn’t last the test of time. To find out how Lightspeed can help your business, contact us to speak with an expert.

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Lightspeed

Lightspeed POS creates point of sale technology for independent stores and restaurants. We’ve been around since 2005, when founder Dax DaSilva set out to build the most sleek and user-friendly POS system for retailers on the market. We know our industries, the issues business owners face and how to overcome them. After all, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with our customers for over 10 years! We provide the tools and expertise to make our customers’ lives easier and make their customers happier.