Traditional versus mobile POS

September 29, 2019

This year millions of retailers and hospitality providers are expected to make the transition from traditional to mobile Point of Sale.

It’s a shift driven in part by available technology, also by convenience and in many ways by sheer necessity.

Which begs the question, which Point of Sale is best for you? Here’s an insight into some of the factors driving the adoption of mobile POS and the major differences it offers from the traditional Point of Sale.

Tech Adoption

Earlier this year, a report by IHL noted 1.7 million POS terminals in the US alone would be due for replacement in 2019, driven by two factors:
• The end of Windows 7 support in 2020
• The need to adjust to unified commerce

The shift is likely to see many retailers and hospitality venues considering which new technology will suit them best - fixed traditional POS or a mobile, Cloud-based option?

In truth, the decision comes down to what sort of venue you have, the service you wish to provide, and the budget your operation has available, but here’s a quick rundown of the differentiating factors between the two.

Traditional POS

traditional versus mobile pos

In retail and hospitality, the traditional POS relies on software installed in-house, usually on a fixed computer.

It can then see further computers networked to the system, with information stored on-site.

Depending on the software, traditional POS offers a range of features that have been designed to suit both retail and hospitality over the years, including:


Sales and payment processing

Inventory management

Customer management

Reporting and analytics

Automatic re-ordering of low stock

Laybys and gift certificates


Bookings and reservations

Table management


Sales and payment processing

Split billing

Takeaway and delivery features

Inventory management

Staff management

Customer management

Reporting and analytics

Depending on which software a venue selects, mobile POS offers all this and more.

Mobile POS

Mobile POS sees tablets employed as the Point of Sale. Depending on the software used, these tablets are connected to the Cloud where the information is stored, or may also be connected to a computer on site.

Mobile POS offers a series of unique benefits for both hospitality providers and retailers, with the major advantages being mobility, security, ease of upgrade, and scalability.

Mobile POS advantages

mobile pos advantages


Mobile POS allows a venue to take the Point of Sale to the customer.

In retail, this enables sales associates to complete sales transactions on the floor, to look up what stock is available, and to tap into the customer’s historical purchasing information while assisting them with a purchasing decision.

In hospitality, this mobility allows servers to take orders tableside, and even split bills and take payments at the table. It also enables patrons to place their own orders at a table, or to peruse a digital menu.

Meanwhile, orders are wirelessly relayed to the kitchen, bar or dessert station, speeding up service times and improving the customer experience.

Remote management

Importantly, a restaurant operator or retail owner can tap into this information remotely via the Cloud.

That means wherever they are at any given moment they can understand which staff are on duty, how sales are performing, and whether any stock is running low.


With mobile POS, data is backed up to and stored in the Cloud, with software providers using state of the art encryption and storage protocols to protect this valuable business information.

This security is regularly updated and rolled out as Cloud-based software updates, meaning retailers and hospitality providers can always expect to have the latest security at the fingertips.

Because data is stored off-site it protects information from being lost due to a fire or natural disaster or even because of a simple break-in or hardware crash at the physical premises.

Ease of upgrades

Regardless of which mobile POS software a venue opts to embrace, upgrades are incorporated as part of the package. These are rolled out as Cloud-based software updates, meaning a retailer or hospitality provider can expect their mPOS software to improve and have additional features added over time.


One of the key features of mobile POS is that it’s scalable. In most cases a retailer or hospitality venue initially signs up for monthly usage, nominating how many users they are likely to have.

Should they add an additional venue or should their staff base increase, they can quickly and easily upgrade to a higher subscription level and continue operating using the data already stored on their system.


For many retailers and hospitality venues, mPOS is a highly affordable alternative to the traditional Point of Sale. Rather than an expensive, tailor made software solution, mPOS allows venues to adopt and then alter Cloud-based software to suit their needs.

Hardware can be as simple as a single tablet or as complex as multiple tablets spanning numerous venues, but mPOS is a solution that can be quickly deployed no matter the size of an establishment at a reasonable cost.


Together the features of mobile POS offer establishments ultimate flexibility. They can change mPOS providers if required, add to or streamline their system if necessary, access their shopfront or hospitality venue information remotely, and better serve their customer in the queue, at their table or within their retail environment.

You can learn more about hardware options here or see our complete line-up of tablet stands and enclosures to suit you mobile Point of Sale system here.

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