What POS Systems Do Retailers Use? (2021)

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Curious about what POS systems are commonly used by retailers? 

With so many retail point of sale systems available it can be tough to pinpoint what systems are good, bad, and just “ok”.

To help you better understand the POS software/hardware landscape and give you a better understanding of what retail POS systems may be good for your business we will provide a breakdown of what leading retailers are currently using today. 

In addition to providing this breakdown, the article will also cover what a retail POS system is, and address some common questions people often have about them. 

What is a Retail POS System?

A retail point of sale (POS) system is a hardware and software solution that enables business owners to handle transactions, process payments, and manage their inventory.

Many new cloud-based POS systems come with a range of additional features such as CRM and customer loyalty features, buy-now pay later options, and mobile payment terminals.

The majority of business owners now will use a POS system, with popular options for smaller businesses including Square, Shopify, and Lightspeed.

With a clear idea of what a POS system is in the retail context, let’s dive into what leading retailers are using.

POS systems help retailers track sales, report on revenue, track inventory and more

What POS does Target use?

Target uses an internally developed POS system making use of NCR POS hardware that runs on Microsoft. The system was built by it’s tech team, Target Technology Services and is capable of running 30 registers per server.

With that being said, stores may have at least two servers to support other operations such as stock and inventory, databases for pharmacy services, and other operational functions.

These servers are supported by third-party technicians who abide by Target’s set company procedures. 


In addition to their POS system, Target’s tech team has also been investing in their self-checkout technology, to allow their self-checkout lanes to run smoother with a more intuitive interface for guests.

They have also been building their own online checkout/pos system called “myCheckout” which was intended for their retail employees’ handheld devices, allowing them to assist guests in product search and check-out services. 

What POS does Lululemon use?

Lululemon uses the Oracle Xstore POS system, backed by Oracle Database 12c, Windows 10, RHEL7, and Ayden for payment processing.

This POS system is managed by a team of off-site engineers and technical specialists who have the ability to make remote deployments to the Windows 10 POS machines.

RFID Technology

In addition to these technologies they have also been investing heavily in their RFID technology lately, making use of Zebra DS9808-R RFID Digital Scanners connected to TrueVue Inventory management software and handheld devices to manage their stock. .

In addition to this, depending on the region (Australia) Lululemon has also been noted to make use of Square’s POS system which may come as somewhat of a surprise given that it tends to be seen as more of a solution for smaller retail businesses.

What POS does Best Buy use?

Best Buy makes use of the e3 ADVANTAGe POS to power more than 1,400 of their US stores. e3 Retail provides the company with a range of solutions including mobile tablets, kiosks, and traditional POS registers.

The e3 software helps Best Buy manage the customer checkout experience as it continues to evolve, and also provides them with omnichannel pricing via the e3 ADVANTAGe Enterprise Promotions Engine. 

NCR Advance POS

In Canada, Best Buy recently announced their transition to NCR’s Advanced Store Point of Sale (POS) and Loyalty Software.

This new solution is intended to help Best Buy’s Canadian branch (A subsidiary of Best Buy Co Inc.) improve their in-store customer experiences and is deployed across all of their 175 Canadian locations

They selected the NCR solution from a number of other options due to its ease of deployment, and its ability to seamlessly integrate with a range of inventory management and eCommerce systems.

What POS does Home Depot use?

Home Depot uses Fujitsu U-Scan, NCR, and 360 Commerce to power the bulk of it’s self-checkout and in-store POS systems and has recently made significant investments in its mobile technologies. 

Mobile Payments & Devices

These mobile investments include the deployment of $64m to assist in the rollout of 30,000 mobile devices across their 1,970 stores.

These mobile devices, called “First Phone” are built on top of the Motorola MC75 platform and enable the company and their store associates to manage inventory, help guests find products, and process debit and credit transactions on the retail floor.

The solution was built in-house but makes use of third-party software such as PayPal to handle mobile payment transactions.  

What POS does Kroger use?

Kroger uses a POS system provided by OneView Commerce to handle in-store guest check out, inventory checks, and discounts.


The store is also testing a “Digital Shelving” solution powered by Microsoft Azure and IoT sensors called EDGE, which they intend to use to replace traditional paper shelf tags with digital displays of prices, promotions and other different types of product information. 

Online Marketplace

In addition to this test, they’re also partnered with Miraki, a SaaS platform that enables B2C and B2B enterprise marketplaces to build an online marketplace for guests to shop at.

This marketplace is accessible at kroger.com and is an expansion of their “Kroger Ship” program. At launch, they had approximately 500,000 “shop-to-home” items available through a range of 3-rd party sellers. 

What POS does Lowe’s use?

Lowe’s Home Improvement center uses the BEETLE POS from Wincor Nixdorf. The BEETLE platform enables Lowe’s to simplify their hardware & software maintenance requirements and enables the store to capture savings.

The platform and its terminals run on Linux and are built for enterprise-level environments where security, management, and permissions are important.

Lowe’s has utilized Wincor Nixdorf as a key supplier for the better half of a decade so it’s clearly a partnership that has been successful for both companies. 

Mobile iPhone POS

Lowe’s also makes use of Apple’s iPhone and IOS to equip their employees with mobile POS systems.

These iPhones allow their store associates to take payments from guests, as well as call, text and handle customer inquiries on the go.

What POS does Macy’s use?

Macy’s operates a POS system powered by an RFID scanner solution from Motorola and touch screen terminals from Verifone.

Their software and hardware is a mix of in-house solutions as well as services sourced from third-party vendors. They utilize a range of these vendors to handle inventory, payment processing, stock control and more.

Paypal Payment Option

They also accept PayPal as a payment option at all of their stores, as well as online and via mobile devices, this decision impacts all of their brands including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury.

Experiential Retail

In addition to Macy’s work with PayPal they’ve also been continuously improving their relationship with technology-powered retailer b8ta, which allows the store to connect with product manufactures in a more seamless manner, making sourcing new products easier for the business. 

What POS does JCPenney use?

JCPenny currently makes use of the NCR RealPOS 82XRT in its retail locations, this retail pos system provides the business with enterprise level performance, scalability, and systems management features. 


The NCR RealPOS 82XRT system uses an Intel Core i5-2400 processor, has 32GB of system memory, and includes an onboard raid with dual hard drive options.

It also includes thermal receipt printers, touchscreen displays, and tool-free access to components making maintenance a breeze.

NCR RealPOS 82XRT Retail POS System from the front
The NCR RealPOS Retail POS system (Source: https://retailsystemsinc.com/ncr-realpos-82xrt)

Mobile POS

In addition to their main POS system, JCPenney has also been expanding its technical and eCommerce capabilities, focusing on online payments, in-store pickup, and mobile pos devices for store associates.

These mobile POS systems for store associates are typically run on Apple Ipads, giving them the ability to transact with guests on the retail floor as well as help them find products and check stock levels on the fly.

This shift to a mobile POS heavy environment is a trend many other stores are leaning into as well, with Lowe’s, Home Depot, and many other larger companies deploying more mobile POS devices as well.

Common Retail POS System Questions

Now that you’re familiar with what retail pos systems are, and what types of systems leading retailers are using we’ll cover some common questions business owners and store associates often have about retail pos systems. 

How Does a Retail POS System Work?

A point of sale (POS) device is what’s used to check out a customer, it consists of both the hardware and software your business needs to process sales.

A retail POS system allows you to process payments, manage stock, and keep track of sales, with many newer platforms also offering loyalty and discount features as well as make sales on the go via mobile based options.

A retail pos system works like this; 

  1. Customer proceeds to checkout.
  2. Cashier scans the product with a scanner attached to the POS.
  3. The scanner reads the barcode and looks for this item in the POS inventory system.
  4. The POS finds the product and calculates the price with taxes. 
  5. Your customer pays for the product.
  6. The POS finalizes the payment via a payment processor and records the payment.

Additional Reading: What POS System does Walmart Use? 


We hope you found this article helpful and are more confident in your vendor selection process for your next POS system.

With so many options available there’s bound to be a POS system that’s fit for your retail business, whether it’s a brick and mortar or online store.

If you need help selecting a software solution for your business don’t hesitate to drop a comment below or reach out to our team. 

Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins

Ryan is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Rise SMB. He began this site as a way to help small business owners better understand the financial services, loans, and software available to them.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Toronto and has served in various management & executive roles within the financial services industry, including most recently as the Head of Growth for leading Canadian Business Lenders, Loop & Lending Loop.

Much of Ryan's work has focused on providing accessible capital and credit building services to Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs. In his spare time, Ryan loves bouldering, backpacking and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee.

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