Grocery Store Cash Register or POS System? Pros and Cons

When starting a small grocery store or expanding an existing one, selecting the right checkout solution is paramount. The two most common options for accepting payment are traditional grocery store cash registers, and point of sale (POS) systems, like IT Retail. 

So, which solution is best for your grocery store or specialty market?

In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you make an informed decision that best suits your business needs.

Grocery Store Cash Register

Cash registers have been around for quite some time, and operate off of the same basic principle. Most consist of a keypad to input transaction values, and can attach to a barcode scanner, cash drawer, receipt printer, or scale. You can use your cash register to process transactions either manually or using a limited series of pre-programmed keys. Cash registers are straightforward ways to record transactions and handle cash, and their functions consist of tallying sales, completing customer payments, printing receipts, and storing cash. 


1. Affordability: Cash registers are generally less expensive than POS systems, making them an attractive option for small business owners on a tight budget. They fulfill a store necessity without breaking the bank. 

2. Simplicity: Cash registers have fewer features and are easier to use, requiring less training for employees. Essentially since grocery store cash registers serve limited functions and do not incorporate other store needs, they can be more intuitive to use. 


1. Limited functionality: Cash registers lack many of the advanced features found in POS systems, such as inventory management, sales reporting, and customer relationship management. They also don’t offer a way to view historical sales. 

2. Inefficient checkout process: Grocery store cash registers can slow down the checkout process, leading to longer lines and a less enjoyable shopping experience for customers. They can only process particular types of payment, and may struggle to process transactions with EBT and other, newer, forms of payment. Not only does this make the checkout process less efficient, but it may cause customers who do not have the necessary type of payment to shop elsewhere. 

3. Lack of integration: Notably, cash registers do not integrate with other business software, making it difficult to manage accounting, payroll, marketing, and other essential business processes. This will impact your store management as a whole, as you will have to treat your grocery store cash register as a distinct, inconvertible unit.

And, if you’re looking for a cash register that integrates with a security feature to protect your money, you’ll likely have to give up. Cash registers can’t integrate with security systems, and the build of a cash register means that any employee can open the register, take out cash, or repeatedly input wrong prices. 

IT Retail guide to POS hardware

Point of Sale (POS) System

Modern POS systems are also used to process transactions, and include hardware such as a touch-screen interface, barcode scanner, scanner scale, receipt printer, and cash drawer. Systems also offer additional hardware like card readers, scales, and customer-facing displays. However, the main focus of a POS system is not the hardware itself; it’s the software. Your POS solution includes features such as a store inventory database, customer information, webstores, and more that will allow you to manage your entire store from one screen. 


1. Comprehensive functionality: POS systems like IT Retail POS offer a wide range of features, including inventory management, e-commerce integrations, real-time sales reporting analytics, and customer loyalty programs, which help streamline business operations. 

They even support your store in endeavors less directly related to business operations: For example, many POS systems can assist in enhancing security, coming with built-in security features to protect your customers' payment information and your business data.

2. Faster checkout process: Barcode scanning and integration with payment processing services speed up the checkout process, leading to a better customer experience. Some POS systems, like IT Retail, even offer self-checkout, which can optimize store performance by increasing checkout speed and simplicity, while also utilizing fewer employees. 

3. Scalability: POS systems can grow with your business, allowing you to add new features and functionality as needed. This is illustrated by their ability to integrate with other business solutions as you expand. 

For example, POS systems can integrate with accounting, payroll, grocery delivery services, and other essential business software, making it easier to manage your business.


1. Higher upfront cost: POS systems are almost always more expensive than cash registers, especially when factoring in software licenses and ongoing support fees. Keep in mind that, though free POS systems do exist, they frequently lack many of the features that make POS systems so attractive in the first place. 

2. More complex setup: Setting up a POS system likely requires more time and technical expertise than setting up a cash register, with a typical onboarding experience involving some sort of one-on-one contact with customer support. 

The good news? Most POS systems, like IT Retail, do offer 24/7 customer support to assist the onboarding process and beyond. 

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Grocery Store Cash Register or POS Systems: The Ultimate Winner

When considering the pros and cons of grocery store cash registers and POS systems, it becomes clear that the benefits of POS systems far outweigh the drawbacks. While the upfront cost may be higher, the long-term benefits of a comprehensive, scalable, and integrated solution like IT Retail justify the investment. 

By choosing IT Retail for your grocery store, you gain access to industry-specific software, commercial-grade hardware, and onboarding and training with a dedicated customer success manager. 

With a reliable POS system like IT Retail you can better manage your inventory, speed up the checkout process, streamline your business operations, boost sales, and grow your business. As a small business owner, investing in a POS system is a decision that will undoubtedly pay off in the long run – so schedule your demo with our team today!