Industry Insight

IT Hardware Solutions

Why a till is just like a car …….


Why is a till like a car? No, it’s not a riddle! Rarely would anyone consider cars and POS tills as in anyway related, but if you stop to consider them for a moment there are some rather unexpected similarities.


Today the car is indispensable to modern life – most people rely on one on a continuous basis. Many will use it as their sole means of commuting to work, as recreational transport, to go shopping or as a work tool to visit clients or sites. Similarly, the POS till has become the essential tool of commerce in retail environments where simply counting cash is no longer the only function required. POS systems are expected to record sales and account for money in all its myriad forms, but also to operate inventory including suggested ordering. Many businesses will want client-facing screens to share marketing messages, collect information about their clients and to allow direct customer actions such as self-service. Some will want the till to become mobile so interaction can occur anywhere within the store.


The modern POS, in all its guises, is rather like the variety of vehicles available; sports cars for high performance, small compacts for those with limited space, SUV’s for those who have multiple requirements and the good old family hatchback where one size does indeed fit most. All serious manufacturers of POS would have product that aligns with the above, most notably the now familiar all-in-one unit which has the screen and PC functionality all in one compact format – truly the hatchback of tills. Indeed, the POS till has become the jack-of-all-trades device and as ubiquitous as the car in everyday life in their own unique special ways. Just a shame it can’t collect the kids from school!


So what does the future hold? No one can deny that significant change is occurring in both the vehicle world and the retail industry. The rise of electric and self-driving cars will likely change not only the nature of the car itself but also the way in we buy, use and view them in everyday life. A comparable story driven by ecommerce and technology innovators is unfolding in the retail world with seismic changes occurring on the high street and in the mall. Previously unassailable retail behemoths have fallen by the wayside while others change and shrink their store footprints on a continuous basis. Will the POS till become a victim of developments in mobile technology and disappear or will it simply evolve like the car into something as yet undefined? Only time will tell, but meanwhile both the car and POS till will likely be around for a while longer yet.

In the next instalment, we’ll explore some further similarities between the two around ownership, warranty and how the purchase price is never the full story when it comes to the commercial reality of running either a car or a till over three, five or ten years.

Rob Griffiths

Divisional Manager, BMcEquip

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