Does a “Mom and Pop” Store Need a POS System?

Mom and pop stores are defined by their family feel, cozy atmosphere, and homely ambience. They’re typically run by relatives, and may have a handful of employees from the neighborhood – most likely high school and college students working part time, or nieces and nephews hanging out in their free time. It could be a central part of the community, a kind of gathering point, and it may earn enough to sustain the family, but in terms of objective sales volume, its income isn’t very high.

In the movies, older parents run these stores until their kids grow up and either lose interest or try to commercialize and expand, with franchises and digitizing plans. At that point, it’s not really a mom-and-pop anymore, so that’s a different discussion. We’re focusing here on the small, niche, cottage-industry type of store. In that sense, you can easily replace mom-and-pop with ‘teenage pop-up’ or ‘hipster craft booth’. They are all defined by a small, loyal customer base and the occasional transient sale. And yes, they do need a retail POS system.

Keep it simple

You may be unsure because you think of a POS (which stands for “Point of Sale”) as something grand and complex. Not so. That portable keypad you use to pay at the gas station or fast food store? That’s a POS. That cash register that dings in any small-town store? Technically, that’s a POS too. Point of Sale terminals are simply the gadget you use to receive payments, whether it’s cash or a card. And these days, even part-time sales booths and tiny towns are expected to accept credit cards, so be sure your POS accepts credit cards, too.

Small town gadgets

You probably already have a smartphone or tablet, so that may be a good choice for POS. You can just download your merchant processor’s payment app and use that to bill clients. There are apps for Android, iOs, and other mobile operating systems. You can also use a web-based app from any Internet connected computer or device that has a web browser. To cut your expenses down even further, talk to your merchant account provider. Some offer POS terminals and accessories for free. You could get an app, a portable keypad, or a shopping cart for online checkout, all at no extra charge. Just ask.

For more information on finding the best retail POS system for your Mom and Pop store, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to

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