When you are buying POS hardware for your new retail store, there is really just a few things you need to bear in mind: Proper components and Reliability. Regardless whether you are buying POS hardware systems or bundles, or separate retail POS components, and regardless whether you are buying new retail POS hardware or used, the POS hardware system must be highly reliable and must contain the following reliable elements: The computer/monitor, The cash drawer, The pinpad, The credit card swipe, The receipt printer, and The ccd scanner or laser barcode scanner.
The reliability of the POS computer
There is no ifs or buts about it, the retail POS hardware must be unconditionally reliable and always ready to take orders. After all, your business sales depend on it! Sure, there is an advantage when you are buying a new computer system as far as reliability. As computers age, their components do become less reliable and can break down over time, so buying new can be advantageous. But even when buying used, you can inquire about the reliability of the system. Ask the seller how often will the system crash occur, ask about any disruptions of any need to reboot frequently. If none of that is an issue, used POS hardware will do just as well as new.
The cash drawer reliability
As most today’s cash drawers are USB based, there will be no batteries to worry about. In general, your cash drawer should be highly reliable.
The pinpad is a very simple device which is also USB based so there are no issues of it running out of battery juice. Also, the keypad is robust and will reliably withstand many daily uses.
The reliable credit card swipe
This is a bigger problem. Even though today’s credit card swipes are USB based, they can be quite unreliable. I have recently tried to rent a DVD at a DVD kiosk in town. However, the card swipe in that kiosk did not work at all. Because the card swipe was the only way to pay, I had to use another DVD kiosk elsewhere and the owner lost a day’s worth of revenues.
The reliable receipt printer
Today’s receipt printers are quite reliable. They are mostly thermal printers and use thermal paper. Thus, they have no moving parts other than the paper transport mechanism. Just make sure you have sufficient thermal paper rolls on hand.
The laser bar code scanner
These are mostly optical, CCD readers. Some of the bar code scanners are wireless, which means that they include a cradle which is permanently connected to the POS computer, but the hand held barcode scanner is communicating with a cradle via a wireless connection. The major source of unreliability and failure in such barcode scanners are the rechargeable batteries. When the CCD reader is not working properly, replacing the batteries will be the most likely solution of the problem.