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Best Cash Registers for Small Businesses



Many small businesses still work well with an old-fashioned stand-alone cash register, but businesses that sell online or in multiple locations may benefit from a point-of-sale system with a touch-screen terminal instead.

If your business only needs to process payments and manage basic inventory, a traditional cash register from Sharp or SAM4 will do the job. But for sales reports, employee management, mobility and more, an industry-specific POS terminal may be worth the investment.

Here are the best cash registers for small businesses, including electronic registers and all-in-one POS hardware kits for retail and restaurants.

Square Register: Best overall

Cost: $799. Software free and up; payment processing 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person payments.

  • Free software.

  • Deep list of features.

  • Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time support with free software; 24/7 support with paid plan.

  • Variety of hardware options, including a free card reader.

  • Less industry-specific than other systems.

  • Cash drawer not included.

Why we like it: The Square Register includes a built-in touch screen for you and a smaller, customer-facing touch screen. Purchase of this terminal comes with Square’s free software, which is NerdWallet’s pick as the best overall POS system. The software includes payment processing, as well as an array of features like sales tracking, tips, gift cards and online store capabilities.

Square’s plans for retail and restaurants — with both free and $60-per-month tiers — come with industry-specific features, including barcode printing, table tracking, product modifiers and more. Any of these plans can be used as the software with your Square Register.

For $1,439, you can get the Square register with all accessories included: a contactless and chip card reader, dock, cash drawer, receipt printer, kitchen printer and paper.

LightSpeed Hardware Kit: Best multi-location

Cost: Quote-based. Software $39 per month and up for restaurants and $69 per month and up for retail; payment processing 2.6% plus 10 cents for in-person payments.

  • 24/7 support.

  • Robust inventory management.

  • Integrations for accounting, marketing, payroll and more.

  • Free PCI compliance and fraud prevention.

  • IPad or desktop not included.

  • Higher cost for software and hardware.

  • Annual contracts required for lower pricing.

  • More expensive plans if you don’t use LightSpeed Payments.

Why we like it: LightSpeed offers an iPad or desktop hardware kit for both retail and restaurants. The kit comes with a receipt printer, cash drawer and scanner; iPads and desktops must be purchased separately. You can purchase add-ons like a label printer and card reader as well.

The company offers paid software plans for download on your device, which integrate with LightSpeed Payments for credit card processing. Features include advanced inventory, customer and employee management, e-commerce options and a variety of third-party integrations. The software is ideal for managing inventory across multiple locations; additional registers cost $29 per register per month.

Toast Starter Kit: Best food service

Cost: $799 for Toast Flex POS terminal, contactless card reader and router (no tablet required). Software free and up; payment processing quote-based.

  • 24/7 support.

  • Free plan available for restaurants with one or two POS terminals.

  • Online ordering and customer loyalty programs are included in some plans.

  • Offers 0% interest financing, subject to approval.

  • One- to three-year contracts.

  • Closing your account before your contract term ends can be expensive.

  • Cash drawer not included.

Why we like it: Toast is designed specifically for restaurants. All of its hardware options are made to withstand spills, grease and heat. The Starter Kit comes with the Toast Flex POS terminal, a tap-to-pay device and router, plus built-in software. You can add on additional hardware including a cash drawer, kitchen display screen and order printer.

This register bundle is available for purchase with a $69 per month software plan, though Toast offers a free plan that can be used with one or two terminals. Payment processing is also built-in and may come at lower rates with higher-priced plans. Delivery services can be added on to any plan.

Clover Station Duo: Best interface

Cost: $1,649, plus $39.95 per month for software. Payment processing 2.3% plus 10 cents for in-person payments.

  • 24/7 support.

  • Functional, versatile all-in-one hardware.

  • Cash drawer and receipt printer included.

  • Payment processing through Fiserv, not in-house.

  • Pricing can be vague and can require contacting a salesperson.

Why we like it: The Station Duo is Clover’s most powerful register. It can process payments, scan barcodes and print receipts like Clover’s Mini — but it also includes a second, customer-facing touch-screen display as well as a cash drawer and receipt printer. The terminal can be paid for monthly, or bought outright plus a monthly software subscription.

Clover’s hardware is known for its user-friendly features and aesthetically pleasing interface. Payment processing is built-in, and the software can be customized for restaurants, service or retail businesses. The Standard plan — which pairs with the Station Duo register — has features including inventory management, discounts and coupons, sales tracking, refund processing and more.

Sharp XE-A207: Best for bars and cafes

Cost: Varies by vendor; we found a range from $345 to $495. Additional costs for merchant account and credit card processing may apply.

  • Built to connect with a credit card reader and QuickBooks Pro.

  • Customer support Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time with Sharp; varies if purchased from a different vendor.

  • Minimal features.

  • No built-in credit card processing.

Why we like it: This model offers the basic features you need from a cash register: receipt printing, 2,500 price look-ups and 99 pre-programmed departments with product types. Its menu-based control system is easy to learn and use, and it’s built for use by up to 25 clerks. For more inventory and employee capabilities, you can upgrade to the XE-A407 for $350 to $545.

You can connect a credit card terminal directly to the machine, and insert an SD card to collect backups and sales data. The register can also connect to QuickBooks Pro for accounting. As with other traditional cash registers, you’ll need a separate merchant account to process credit card payments. According to the Sharp website, you can receive a free credit card terminal when you sign up for merchant services.

SAM4s ER-180u: Best low-cost portable

Cost: Varies by vendor; we found a range from $139 to $265.

  • All-in-one keyboard, cash drawer and receipt printer.

  • Lightweight and portable.

  • Minimal features.

  • Does not integrate with a card reader.

  • Customer support varies by vendor.

Why we like it: This small, lightweight register is a good option for businesses on the go — though it’s still bulkier than a mobile POS app or card reader. The device has 16 keyboard departments and up to 500 price look-ups, with sales tracking for up to 10 employees. It has a small built-in cash drawer and can print receipts.

However, the device does not support an integrated card reader, so you’ll need to purchase and use an external reader to accept credit and debit cards. And like any other traditional cash register, you’ll need a separate merchant account to process credit card payments.

SAM4s ER-940: Best for hospitality

Cost: Varies by vendor; we found a range from $650 to $850.

  • High-volume menu item support.

  • Can integrate a card reader and other support devices.

  • Can’t track inventory at the ingredient level.

  • No built-in credit card processing.

  • Customer support varies by vendor.

Why we like it: This model works well for restaurants, with a spill-proof keyboard and up to 2,000 menu item price look-ups — 20,000 with an added SD card. You can export sales reports, print receipts, and track sales for up to 50 employees. The device also can run mix-and-match discounts and customize receipts.

There are ports to connect a credit card reader, kitchen printer or computer, though you’ll need an ethernet connection to accept card payments with a reader. Again, factor in the cost of a separate merchant account for credit card processing.

SAM4s ER-925: Best for retail

Cost: Varies by vendor; we found a range from $700 to $820.

  • Fairly advanced reporting.

  • Can integrate a card reader and other add-ons.

  • No built-in credit card processing.

  • Customer support varies by vendor.

  • May take some time to program and learn to use, according to reviews.

Why we like it: This register is essentially the retail version of the ER-940. It’s more advanced than the portable ER-180u, with up to 2,000 price look-ups and 50 employee logins. The device can also create stock, discount and void reports, as well as segmented sales reports.

Most importantly — unlike the ER-180u — you can connect an integrated card reader, plus add-ons like a barcode scanner and computer interface. Like other traditional cash registers, you’ll need an ethernet cable and a separate merchant account to be able to process credit card transactions.

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Revolutionizing Marketing: The Power of AI in the Digital Age



Embracing AI-Powered Marketing: Transforming Brands in the Digital Marketplace

In the crowded digital marketplace, standing out is challenging. Enter AI-powered marketing, a revolutionary upgrade transforming brands into digital powerhouses.

Hyper-Personalized Campaigns: Beyond Basic Personalization

Gone are the days of generic marketing. Today’s gold standard is AI-driven hyper-personalization. This approach uses customer data analysis to create deeply resonant, individualized marketing campaigns. With AI’s ability to segment audiences based on intricate criteria, including purchasing history and browsing behavior, your messages can hit the mark every time.

Enhanced Customer Journey Mapping

AI’s capabilities extend to mapping the entire customer journey. By predicting needs and preferences at each stage, AI aids in crafting narratives that guide customers from discovery to purchase, integrating your brand into their personal stories.

SEO Wizardry: Mastering Search Engine Dynamics

With ever-changing algorithms, SEO is a complex puzzle. AI serves as a sophisticated navigator, deciphering these changes through machine learning. It aids in keyword optimization, understanding search intent, and aligning content with search trends.

Predictive SEO

AI tools offer predictive SEO, anticipating search engine and user behavior changes. This proactive stance ensures your brand’s prominent visibility in search results, capturing the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Mastery: Crafting a Digital Narrative

AI transforms social media strategies from uncertain to precise. By analyzing vast social data, AI provides insights into resonating content.

Content Optimization

AI analyzes performance data to recommend effective content types. This data-driven approach refines your social media content strategy.

Engagement Analysis

AI examines user interaction nuances, understanding engagement patterns. It helps tailor interactions for maximum impact, including adjusting posting schedules and messaging for increased relevance.

Conclusion: Navigating the AI-Driven Marketing Landscape

AI-powered marketing is essential for thriving in the digital age, offering precision and personalization beyond traditional methods. For small businesses, it’s a chance to leverage AI for impactful, data-driven strategies.

As we embrace the AI revolution, the future of marketing is not just bright but intelligently radiant. With AI as your digital ally, your brand is equipped for a successful journey, making every marketing effort and customer interaction count.

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AI: Your Small Business Ally in a Digital Age



In the ever-evolving landscape of modern commerce, small business owners find themselves at a crossroads of opportunity and obsolescence. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI) – once the exclusive domain of tech behemoths, it now stands as the great equalizer, offering small businesses a competitive edge previously unthinkable. The emergence of AI as a wingman for small businesses is not just a fleeting trend but a fundamental shift in how entrepreneurs can leverage technology to revolutionize their operations.

The 24/7 Customer Service Hero: Chatbots

In the digital storefront, customer service is the heartbeat of business survival and success. Chatbots emerge as the indefatigable heroes of this domain. Envision a customer service agent that never clocks out an entity that requires no sleep or sustenance yet delivers consistently and instantaneously. These AI-driven chat interfaces embody the essence of your brand’s voice, capable of handling a barrage of customer queries with a speed that outpaces the swiftest of typists. They are the embodiment of efficiency – ensuring that customer satisfaction is not just met but exceeded around the clock.

Unearthing Market Treasures: Data Dive

AI’s prowess in pattern recognition has catapulted data analytics into a realm once considered the stuff of science fiction. Small business owners armed with AI tools can sift through vast swathes of data to extract actionable insights. These algorithms act as modern-day oracles, predicting market trends, discerning customer behaviors, and offering sales forecasts with remarkable accuracy. Equipped with: this knowledge, small businesses, can navigate the market with the foresight and precision of an experienced captain steering through foggy seas.

Personalization at Scale: Customize Like a Boss

The age-old business mantra of the customer is king is given new potency with AI’s personalization capabilities. Tailoring the customer experience is no longer a luxury but a necessity. AI enables small businesses to offer bespoke experiences to consumers, making them feel like the sole focus of their attention. It’s personalization executed with such finesse that customers are left marveling at the thoughtfulness and individual attention, fostering loyalty and establishing deep-rooted brand connections.

Offloading the Mundane: Task Slayers

Repetitive tasks are the bane of creativity and innovation. AI steps in as the ultimate task slayer, automating routine chores that once consumed disproportionate amounts of time. From scheduling appointments to managing inventory, AI liberates entrepreneurs from the drudgery of administrative duties, freeing them to refocus on the creative and strategic endeavors that propel business growth.

Mastering Social Media: Social Savants

Social media – the pulsing vein of modern marketing – demands astuteness and agility. AI emerges as the savant of social media, capable of demystifying platform algorithms to optimize content delivery. It knows the optimal times to post, the types of content that resonate with audiences, and the strategies that convert passive scrollers into engaged customers. By automating your social media presence, AI transforms your brand into an online sensation, cultivating a digital community of brand ambassadors.

The Verdict: Embracing AI

For a small business owner, AI is not about an overnight overhaul but strategic integration. The goal is to start small, allowing AI to shoulder incremental aspects of your business, learning and scaling as you witness tangible benefits. The transition to AI-enablement does not necessitate a background in technology; it requires a willingness to embrace change and a vision for the future.

In summary, as the digital revolution marches forward, AI stands ready to partner with small businesses, providing them with tools once deemed the province of giants. This partnership promises to elevate the small business landscape, ushering in an era of democratized technology where every entrepreneur can harness the power of AI to write their own David vs. Goliath success story. AI, the once-distant dream, is now the most loyal wingman a small business can enlist in its quest for growth and innovation.

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Apple’s October Scary Fast Event: Everything revealed about the new MacBook Pro, iMac and M3 chips



It’s time for another Apple event, with a spooky twist. The company announced a surprise “Scary Fast” event last week, prompting the rumor mill to speculate that Apple would be revealing new chips to power a new lineup of Macs.

As our resident Apple expert Brian Heater wrote, a new 24-inch iMac and a MacBook Pro refresh would be the most likely new announcements to expect from the October event, and as it turns out, he was spot-on. Apple’s new M3 chip lineup was the focal point of the event, powering each of the devices Apple showcased in their half-hour prerecorded event that had some fog, some bats and ominous choir music…but no big surprises for those following the rumor mill.

Since the event kicked off off at the uncharacteristically late time of 8pm ET / 5pm PT, so you might have missed out out on the reveals while putting the finishing touches on your Halloween decorating, or watching Monday Night Football. No judgement, we’re here to recap everything the October Apple event showcased in one spot.

New M3 chips

Credit: Apple

The “scary fast” part of the Apple event, as expected, are the new M3 chips. Apple has announce a M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max, which will be included in Apple’s new 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pros.

This time around, Apple has placed an emphasis on graphical horsepower, with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, mesh shading and Dynamic Caching, which Apple claims “dramatically increases the average utilization of the GPU” by allotting exact amount of local memory to given tasks. These new chips were frequently benchmarked against their M1 predecessor, with Apple claiming the M3 renders at 2.5x the speed of the M1 and its CPU is 30% faster than the M1.

Check out the full rundown of the three M3 chips right here.

New MacBook Pro models

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 Update in Space Black Color

Credit: Apple

Yes, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros come with upgraded internals, but the first thing you might notice is the new color: Space Black. Beneath that color, you’ll find that new line of M3 chips. The 14-inch MacBook Pro can contain any of the trio, while the 16-inch model will only come with the M3 Pro or M3 Max chips.

As we’ve noted, the M3 chips packed into both models are putting an emphasis on getting the most out of the new GPU, though Apple also boasts that both form factors’ battery can last 22 hours on a single charge.

Both are available for preorder tonight, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro starting at $1,599 and going to $1,999 with the M3 Pro. The baseline 16-inch MacBook Pro goes for $2,499 and the pricing for the M3 Max chip upgrade for both models has yet to be disclosed.

And that space black color is exciting news for any Mac fan still pining for the 2006 MacBook, whose dark tone hadn’t been replicated in the MacBook iterations that followed, even those Midnight MacBook Airs.

Check out the full rundown on the new MacBook Pros here.

New M3 iMac

2023 M3 iMac Spec Rundown

Credit: Apple

Apple’s iMac line is getting a colorful refresh, with an added M3 chip to add horsepower to the palette change. Apple is sticking with the 24-inch form factor, and upgrading the screen with a 4.5K retina display, 1080p FaceTime camera and a six-speaker system supporting Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The new iMac will be available for preorder with green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue and silver options starting tonight.

The $1,299 baseline comes with a 8-core GPU and 8-core CPU, with a $1,499 version upgrading you to a 256 SSD.

For more info about what else is new in the M3 iMac, head here.

An sneaky iPhone showcase

You may not have noticed it, but at the very end of the event, Apple dropped a quick note on the stream: “This event was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac.” It’s a bit of a victory lap, but as our other Apple expert Darrell Etherington notes, it’s a pretty impressive flex for Apple to shoot its half-hour hardware showcase entirely on a phone.

Recap the full Scary Fast event

If you want to just dive right in and experience the October event all over again or for the first time, you can catch the entire archive via the YouTube embed below right on Apple’s website.

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