A cash register, card reader, order pad, desktop computer, calculator, notepad, and many more devices used to be how restaurants, retail businesses, and others functioned in their daily tasks of taking orders, processing payments, clocking in and out of shifts, managing payroll, running sales reports, collecting inventory, and maintaining accounts.

Now, you can wrap all your business tasks into one beautiful and sleek package called a Point of Sale system or POS device.

POS Systems Defined – Building a Streamlined Business

POS stands for Point of Sale. The point of sale is the location in which a transaction takes place, this could be online stores, brick-and-mortar storefronts, mobile merchants who travel, etc.

A point-of-sale system is an inclusive device used to take payments and maintain other daily business functions. This system is made up of both hardware and software.

The hardware is the physical point of sale terminal: the cash register, card reader, screen, and receipt printer. The software is the programming inside the device that may contain different applications for payroll, timecards, menus, inventory, etc. The software is also used to record and transmit the sale and send the card data to your payment processor.

What Do I Need to Have a Functioning POS System?

To have a functioning POS system you will need the following:

  1. An internet connection
  2. A merchant account
  3. A payment processor
  4. A payment gateway
  5. A POS system subscription
  6. POS hardware with optional accessories:

             a. Card reader,
             b. Cash drawer,
             c. Receipt printer,
            d. Barcode scanner

What’s the Difference Between a POS System and Payment Processor?

It can be common to confuse the difference between needing a POS system and needing a payment processor. As a merchant accepting card transactions, you will need both.

The POS system completes and records the card transaction, then sends the information to the credit card payment processor when the device is batched out for the day.

The payment processor then takes this information from the attached gateway and sends it to the card networks and issuing banks. Then the information and funds come back from the issuing banks to the processor and the merchant’s acquiring bank where they are then funded.

As a merchant, you need this service to be paid for your daily credit card sales. They are a codependent partnership in which you cannot do business with only one or the other.

POS System Features and Capabilities

Point-of-sale systems are great for certain industries. Unlike standard credit card terminals, like Verifone or Dejavoo terminals, POS systems can help streamline the front-of-house and back-office workflow. The most common industries that use POS systems are retail and restaurants and eateries. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar bakery, a multiple-location retail chain, or a food truck on the go, the type of POS system you use will be dependent on your individual needs.

POS systems offer many features and capabilities that will focus the day’s work in one central location and database.POS systems help keep your front-of-house staff, kitchen staff, and back-office staff in sync. You can easily organize, view, and work with different features such as running transactions, entering in sales tax, inventory tracking, sales reports, menus, recipes, table seating availability, CRM (customer relationship management) systems, employee time cards, payroll, and you can even integrate accounting programs like Quickbooks to keep track of all your financial information.

Running Transactions

Running transactions for your customer’s orders using your POS device should offer your consumers transactional ease and convenience for their unique go-to method of payment. Point-of-sale devices offer capabilities for debit or credit payments to be processed in person, online, or over the phone via swiping with a magnetic stripe, dipping using EMV technology, keying in the card information, or tapping with contactless payment with mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay or cards that are equipped with near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Terminals and POS devices can communicate the captured card information via a typical telephone line connection, cellular network connections through AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, or with internet connections via ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Graphic describing the 5 steps on how a POS works

Tracking Inventory & Sales Reports

Depending on your business type, a beneficial feature that some POS devices offer is the ability to print barcodes for your items. Once an item is scanned and the transaction is completed, this item will then update itself in your point-of-sale devices inventory application, keeping stock levels accurate for your future orders. Some devices offer automated ordering features when your inventory reports reach a pre-set “low” level. This in return, reduces your manual tasks.

Using these reports and automated features creates ease and convenience when it comes to accounting for all of your merchandise and allows you to regulate and adjust menus and recipes per customer demands, track sales trends, and understand what your consumers are buying at each location.

This can inform you to adjust what products you should consistently maintain and what products you can do without if they are not high on the sales report. This information can even translate across multiple POS devices in different locations if you are a multi-entity business.

A smiling waitress using the POS system at her restaurant

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

With your POS device’s gift card app, you can order custom-branded gift cards both physical and digital. You can also use different applications to send marketing emails for deals or newly released items, and coupons. This will generate more foot traffic and boost your sales from customers that otherwise may not have stopped into your store.

 Loyal customers are our favorite, they make our business go ‘round. Creating loyal customers with rewards programs, point systems, and special perks, generate increased sales and repeat customers. When customers are attached to a loyalty program they are 5 times more likely to choose you over your leading competitor for future purchases, make those future purchases 90% more often, and are incentivized to spend 60% more per transaction.


Your staff is the foundational pillar of your business. They are the face of your company. Employee management software ensures everyone is on the same team, and that their efforts are rewarded appropriately and efficiently.

Employee management, accounting software, and apps installed on your POS device offer the most efficient way to schedule, automatically send shift reminders, clock in and out, evenly distribute card tips, calculate commissions sales per staff member, post job listings, process payroll, and manage your accounting with certain integrations.

Mobile pay with a Clover Go wireless terminal

Clover Point of Sale System

When thinking of a POS device, the most popular system that comes to mind for many is Clover. Clover is actually a First Data terminal.

First Data, now Fiserv, is one of the most popular credit card payment processors out there.

Clover offers all-in-one customizable solutions for any business type.

Whether you are a small startup or a multi-location empire, whether you need stationary devices or mobile tablets, Clover point-of-sale devices have all the options for your payment processing needs.

Aside from easy credit and debit card processing, Clover offers a library of applications that can be easily downloaded and integrated with additional business tools to synchronize your business in all of its functions for front-of-house and back-office duties.

One caution when looking into a Clover POS system is customer service may not produce the same high-tech help as the device itself. Although Clover provides a helpline phone number, their customer support may not always be the most insightful or offer quick service.

It is recommended to purchase a Clover device through a local payment processor that can help with your payment processing questions in person at your location or with a quick email or phone call when you need them.

Clover Devices

Clover offers a few different hardware options to meet different merchant needs.

Each Clover terminal will have capabilities to process debit and credit card payments in person, online, or over the phone via swiping with a magnetic stripe, dipping using EMV technology, keying in the card information, or tapping with contactless cards and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay that are equipped with near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

One unique feature with all Clover devices is they will continue to be able to run transactions even if the internet is down.

The information is securely stored and then later able to be processed once the device can be reconnected to the internet.

Although each device can accept all types of payment transactions, each device will have different software functionalities compatible with different types of services.

Your needs will determine which device is right for you.

Clover Station Duo

Clover’s largest device offers a powerful solution for both sides of the payment counter with its 14-inch touchscreen tablet display for the merchant and 7-inch customer-facing touch screen.

The Station Duo is an all-inclusive suite for business functions, including sales reports, employee and customer relationships management, inventory, menu design, accounting, etc.

Additional accessories for your business needs, such as a cash drawer and receipt printer, are included with your Clover Station Duo purchase.

Should you need additional accessories, for instance, a kitchen printer, barcode scanner, and a flex device, the Station Duo is compatible with all Clover accessories.

A cashier smiling while using a POS system

Clover Station Solo

Clover’s Station Solo also maintains a 14-inch touchscreen tablet display for the merchant. However, the difference is there is no customer display. 

The Station Solo also includes a cash drawer and receipt printer.

Clover Mini

Small but mighty, the mini maintains all the same functionalities as the Station Pro and Station Solo.

With its 7-inch touch screen, merchants can still manage their front-of-house and back-office tasks all the same.

The receipt printer and card reader are built into the device rather than having separate device accessories for the main transaction functions.

Additional accessories can be implemented if you need a cash drawer or a barcode creation.

Clover Flex

When you are a mobile merchant on the move, a Clover Flex allows you to take your payment processing on the go.

The Flex device echoes the look of a smartphone.

This small handheld device contains a 5-inch touch screen with a built-in receipt printer and card reader.

As all mobile devices require, the Flex can be connected online through Wifi or LTE network capabilities, with cloud-based capabilities it can also be connected to all other larger Clover devices for all your tracking needs.

Clover Go

The smallest of Clover payment solutions, Clover Go is a screenless small square that can be attached to a smartphone or tablet to accept mobile payments via the Clover Go app.

As with the Clover Flex, your device will need to be connected to wifi or an LTE network, and also offers the capability to connect via the cloud to your larger system.

Clover Pricing

Hardware costs range from $99 (Clover Go) to $1,999 (Station Duo) per device. Clover hardware may be purchased outright or via monthly installment plans. Extra hardware costs $9.95 each per month.

All Clover services require a monthly subscription. Monthly fees range from $9.95 to $69.95 per month depending on the plan.

Plans consist of Register Lite, which is $9.95 per month and works on the Clover Flex, Go, or Mini devices. Register Lite is best for smaller earning businesses under $50,000 a year in card sales. Register, which is $39.95 per month, and works on the Clover Station Duo, Station Solo, Flex, Mini, and Go devices.

A register is best for larger earning businesses over $50,000 a year in card sales. 

Counter Service Restaurant which is $39.95 per month and works with the Clover Station Duo, and Table Service Restaurant which is $69.95 per month and uses the Station Solo system.

The subscription plan will depend on what type of business you run and how much you are processing.

You can speak to your sales rep and payment processor to help determine the best option for you. The monthly plans include the use of the POS device and its capabilities.

Although Clover offers many inclusive applications with its subscription services, be vigilant as some applications may come at an additional cost.

In addition to hardware and subscription costs, keep in mind Clover charges transaction fees and the fees will vary depending on the subscription you have and how the card data was entered.

As a reminder, you will also need a processor to facilitate the data transfer for credit and debit card payments.

Thus, you will also be subject to processing fees and possibly additional monthly fees from your merchant service provider.

Reduce Your Payment Processing Cost With ECS

At ECS, not only will you be supplied with top-of-the-line customer support, innovative payment solutions, and world-class POS systems, but you will also be provided the luxury of saving your hard-earned money with our intelligent services.

Our fully-in house merchant service team supplies you with your gateway and processing tools. Meanwhile, you will be provided access to helpful merchant knowledge resources to efficiently run your POS system, track sales reporting, and have access to a one-of-a-kind online merchant portal.

If you already have a POS system, we can seamlessly integrate your new gateway into your current hardware. Or, we will provide you with new equipment if you’re ready to upgrade. You can contact us today and one of our reps will be happy to chat about how we can save you money!

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Point of Sale Systems Conclusion

Retail point of sale or restaurant point of sale is the two most common business types where POS devices are most commonly needed.

Whether you are a mom-and-pop shop, small business, or multi-location empire, there are POS options out there that will fit all your specific business needs to sell your products or services in the most efficient way for you and your business.

To contact sales, click HERE. And to learn more about ECS Point of Sale Systems visit Hardware.