How much does a POS system cost? A full breakdown for SMBs
A cloud-based point of sale (POS) system is essential for any small business owners operating offline. For brick-and-mortar businesses, it enables checkout, inventory management, employee management, and more. For those utilizing multichannel selling, POS is key to delivering a streamlined omnichannel experience and to unifying cross-channel operations—giving users a single view into sales performance across all channels and tools to deliver better customer experiences.
You might expect such a powerful resource to cost a small fortune—and it used to. Ten years ago, a POS could set you back anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, and that’s just for the physical equipment. Bulkier systems meant expensive setup, maintenance and licensing fees. Today’s POS systems are far more compact and economical than their predecessors.
Of course, everything still has a price. However, the potential value that comes from using a modern POS system far outweighs the initial investment.
What’s important to understand is the cost structure of a POS system. POS systems are made up of both fixed and variable cost components. Understanding these variables and their implication on overall cost will help you choose the POS solution that’s best suited for you when starting your business and aligned with your budget.
Read Also: Best online payment solutions
The cost components of a POS system
There are three factors that make up total POS system cost.
01. Hardware: one-time fee paid upfront
POS technology has evolved significantly over the past decade. Lightweight tablets have replaced heavy desktops and servers. Prices have dropped. And overall, POS systems are more accessible to merchants than ever before.
Today, a full suite of POS hardware should cost you anywhere from $750 to $1,700. This setup generally includes the essential touchscreen and card reader, plus a collection of POS accessories, like a barcode scanner, receipt printer, charging dock and cash drawer. It’s possible to buy each of these pieces individually, but if your business requires all of them, you’ll get a better deal by buying an all-inclusive package. Below is a breakdown of the average cost of each item.
The hardware you choose depends on the needs of your business. If you manage a brick-and-mortar shop, you’ll benefit most from a full package that includes all POS hardware components.
If you mostly sell on the go—at festivals, pop-ups and more—a card reader and charging dock will do the trick.
Alternatively, if you manage a restaurant, you’ll need a more complex setup that accounts for multiple tablets, a kitchen printer and added functionalities that allow for seamless interoperability between these. Such a setup can cost upwards of $3,000.
02. Software: ongoing fixed fee (or free)
When evaluating POS software options, the key is to find one with features that align with your business type. This goes beyond mere payment capabilities. For example, if you’re in retail, you’ll want to find software that includes a fully synced inventory and a unified product catalog. If you offer services, make sure you opt for software that lets you book and manage appointments. Managing events? You’ll want software that’s equipped to sell and check tickets at the door.
Providers tend to charge a monthly fee for access to POS software. The price for these can run as high as $130 a month. However on average, most providers charge anywhere from $40 to $100.
There are also some cloud-based POS systems that come with integrated software, essentially making it free. Wix is one of them. Wix offers a POS with native software pre-installed, enabling users who use its platform to start selling offline right out of the box—at no monthly charge.
03. Processing fees: variable usage cost
Another cost you’ll need to take into account is the fee for processing credit card payments. Every POS transaction is accompanied by this additional charge, which is applied by either your POS provider’s internal payment processor (if it has one) or a third-party processing company. The fee is usually a percentage of the payment, plus a fixed amount. This percentage-based rate varies from company to company.
It’s a wise idea to choose a POS system with a native online payment solution. It’s generally more cost-effective when the payment processor and POS go hand-in-hand. This type of setup also makes for a much smoother operation.
For reference, here’s a comparison of POS transaction fees between providers with a native payment solution.
% per transaction
Flat fee per transaction
Choosing your POS provider
Before choosing a provider, do your research. Outline the essential features you’ll need to manage your cross-channel business and make sure that your provider’s software supports it.
Understand the pricing structure of your provider, and if you’re processing high volumes, ask if discounts are available. Be mindful of any long-term commitments and added costs for value-add services.
Weigh the pros and cons of each provider you’re considering, and map how each aligns with your business strategy and budget. You’ll ultimately want to choose the solution that aligns most closely with your needs and business goals.
Questions to ask when evaluating POS providers
What POS features are must-haves versus nice-to-haves?
How much does each component cost, both individually and as a package?
Does the provider offer any discounts for high-volume retailers?
Can the POS system support your future needs, such as when you open more stores or offer perks to your customers?
Four popular POS purchase options
01. Purchase from an all-in-one provider
If you’re already managing an online business, you’re best off purchasing a POS system from the eCommerce platform that you built your business on. Doing so will streamline operations, allowing you to manage your sales and activities across all sales channels from one place.
Oftentimes, this is also the most economical option. Providers offer all-inclusive packages that bundle POS hardware together with their software, payment solution and website-building tool—resulting in a better solution for omnichannel retailers.
You’ll likely pay lower transaction fees, too, than if you were to connect a third-party provider into your existing platform, and you’ll avoid manual work that comes with building custom integrations from one system to another.
02. Use third-party hardware
You’ll have to choose from payment providers that already have partnerships with your eCommerce platform, unless you want to invest resources into building custom integrations that sync between your online and in-person business operations.
The downside of using third-party hardware is that you’ll split up the management of your business. The online part would be covered by your eCommerce platform while the offline part is handled by your POS provider.
This could lead to a fragmented view of business performance, payment history and inventory count—leaving you to piece together the full picture.
03. Install POS software on your tablet device
Some providers forgo the need to purchase hardware and let you install their POS software on your personal iPad or other tablet device. This option would work well if you sell on-the-go and need a more robust solution than a basic card reader. However, it’s not necessarily a scalable solution if your store gets a lot of foot traffic or requires multi-register and/or multi-store solutions.
Since your personal tablet wasn’t built with POS in mind, it’s firmware and processing capacity may limit your business from reaching its full potential, which may incur extra troubleshooting. Similarly, your tablet isn’t built with your store’s customer experience in mind.
By contrast, retail POS solutions often include customer-facing displays that optimize the customer checkout experience. Such a feature would naturally be absent from a personal tablet.
Keep in mind that not every provider offers a software-only option (Wix, for example, doesn’t). So by opting for this path, you’d be sacrificing the main benefit of an all-in-one provider: the unified management of your entire business.
04. Lease a POS
Some providers offer leasing plans that let you spread the cost of POS hardware over time in small increments. This is a great solution if you require hardware for temporary needs (like events or pop-ups), but less ideal if you’re thinking about longevity.
As you continue to use a point-of-sale rental, the monthly lease payments will build up and quickly surpass the price you could have paid upfront for a hardware purchase.
So when you consider your POS options, ask yourself “How long will I use this POS for?” Let your answer to that question be a guiding factor in your decision.
Questions to ask when evaluating your purchase options
Are you selling offline in a permanent brick & mortar? Or sporadically on the go—at markets, pop-ups, or events?
How much spend are you able to allocate towards POS cost?
Does your website building platform offer a unified POS solution?
Do you need a POS solution for the long-term or short-term?
Your options at Wix
Now that you have an understanding of POS system costs, let’s look at your POS options as a Wix merchant.
Complete retail POS package
Retail POS essentials
In-house payment solution (Wix Payments)
2.6% + $0
2.6% + $0
2.6% + $0
Wix Stores users with a permanent brick-and-mortar location(s)
Wix Stores users looking for a lean solution or just getting a retail business off the ground or managing a seasonal business or running a temporary retail pop-up shop
Wix Stores, Bookings, Fitness and Events users who sell on the go or outdoors (at pop-ups, farmers markets, events and more)
A POS system is a strategic business investment that will give you the flexibility to sell online, in-store and on the go. The best systems allow you to unify sales activities across all of your channels, both online and offline.
While the investment cost can be daunting (especially if you’re opting for an all-in-one package), it’s a small price to pay when you compare it with the potential value you’ll reap from leveraging the system in the long term. As a matter of fact, some Wix users have recorded 30% week-over-week growth since adopting Wix POS solutions.
So what will a POS system cost you? It varies. On average, you should expect to pay between $750 to $1,700 upfront for a full hardware suite, and no more than $100 per month for software. Beyond this, you’ll have to account for usage costs and additional variable costs to support features like multiple location support, multiple units, premium features, and more.
What’s most important is to do your research, compare fees, and find the POS that works for you.
Considering these factors will help you choose the POS that’s best suited for your business and budget.
Want to learn more about Wix POS? Book a call with a POS expert today.
Eric Scott Levy Marketing Writer, Wix
Eric is a marketing writer hailing originally from NYC. He has a keenness for chai lattes, jigsaw puzzles and helping Wix merchants achieve their selling goals.