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Guide to electronic cash registers.

Electronic Cash Register Buyers Guide

This buyer's guide's aim is to help you step by step to determine if your business would be better suited to an Electronic Cash Register (ECR) or POS (Point of Sale) machine.

How are customers buying from you?

If your business is cash only or most of the clientele pays in cash go with an ECR, as it's designed to store cash and print paper receipts. Most if not all ECR’s on the market have terminals attached to the ECR to accept card payments as well as touchless payment.

If the majority of the business is run on card or NFC payments then we recommend you choose a POS system. Also if you're business is at a stall, in a food truck or market then POS system's are more portable and easier to set up. 

How do you engage with your customers?

What kind of relationship do you have with your customers is it:

  • Repeat or recurring?
  • Constant reminder or notifications or in person?
  • Does the business monitor customer visits in anyway?

If your aim is to communicate more frequently in a digital format or charge your customers a recurring fee? If yes POS's give you these options and should be your go to over an ECR.

What is your budget for technology?

ECR's are usually a one off purchase, whereas a POS is often a rental or one off fee + they charge a % of your sales, unfortunately taking any kind of credit, debit or mobile payment will come with some kind of fee it is unavoidable.

How many products does your business offer?

There are memory limitations to product prices on the price look up functions that come with most ECR’s where POS systems have the advantage with cloud storage. If your business offers more than several 2000 products then a POS system is likely the way to go.

How many employees does your business have?

Even the most basic ECR’s have features that allow separate ID’s for each employee to sign in with. POS systems in general do have more features regarding employee management where there is software with ID hardware or sign-ins that keeps track of sales that every employee processes.

What are the best ECR brands? What do they offer?

There are 4 major producers of ECR’s that will be covered, there may be local or regional producers of ECR, but for the scope of this article we’ll only be covering the biggest producers. 
Main Producers of ECR’s are:
  • Sharp
  • Casio
  • SAM4S
  • Olivetti

Tiers by Features, the higher the Tier, the more features or stronger the features will come with the ECR

  • Tier 1
    • Small LCD screen, Department Keys, Thermal Receipt Printers, Automatic Tax Computations (programmable), 
  • Tier 2
    • Price Lookups, Multi LCD display for clerk, Small display for customer, Multi-Lingual, Larger Memory for department kays, Larger memory for clerks, Bluetooth Capabilities, Metal Cash Drawer
  • Tier 3
    • Ports for additional attachments (e.g. credit card terminal), Manual discounting, Larger Memory (Clerks, Price lookups, Department Keys), Price Lookup Hotkeys.

What are the key features of an ECR?

-Lockbox for cash
-Keyboard with programmable keys
-Thermal Printer
-Price Lookups
-Accounting Journal
-Clerk IDs
-Displays for clerk and customer

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