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How to Use a Till in a Shop

13 Jun 2024

For many in the retail and hospitality industries, the till (or cash register) is the beating heart of their business. More than just a place to take payments, tills are a central focus point around which the rest of the business can be planned. 

Advances in technology have led to the rise of electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems that have added new dimensions to these reliable machines. Now businesses can take payments, handle admin, manage their staff, and more from one place. 

If you ever plan to work in retail or hospitality, chances are you’re going to run into a till at some point. In this blog, we’ll explain exactly what a till is and how they work so that you know how to us them. 

What is a till? 

Tills and cash registers are mechanical or electronic machines that allow businesses to take payments. Typically they sit on a countertop or in another prominent position on the shop floor. Modern tills are usually attached to a cash drawer, a barcode scanner, a receipt printer, and a card reader though some systems subsume these pieces of hardware into one machine. 

Although the concept of taking payments for goods and services has been around since the beginning of civilisation, the first machine we would recognise as a till wouldn’t appear until 1879. The rather wonderfully named “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier” was invented by saloon owner James Ritter and featured a early till and a cash drawer [1].

Until relatively recently, tills were entirely mechanical. Unlike today, where every transaction is compiled into sales data, all sales were calculated by employees. This meant that every sale was manually entered into the machine no matter how small or large the amount of cash was.

Along with the rise of credit cards, the technology behind tills improved and the transaction process became much more efficient. While much of payment processing is automated today, it’s still important to know the basics of how to work a till. 

How to operate a till

If you have no prior experience working a till, it can seem like a bit of a daunting task. You may be asking, is working a cash register easy? Luckily we’re here to break the process down and give you the confidence you need to start taking transactions. 

While there are many different makes and models of tills they generally work in the same way. We’ll be looking at the Epos Now Complete Solution as our example. This simple, yet powerful, till system is easy to set up and use. 

Step 1 - Power on your system

Set up your system near to a power source. If you’re working from a countertop, it’s a good idea to have an electrical socket built in the floor. Once the the system is attached to the power, turn it on with the button on the right hand side of the screen. 

Step 2 - Configure your till

The Epos Now Complete Solution is designed to be as simple as possible. Once your till powers on, simply follow the steps presented by our Set-up Wizard to configurate your system. During this step you’ll login into your machine, connect to the internet, add any desired accessories, and create your categories.

If you are a regular employee, you won’t need to worry about setting up categories as the owner should have already done it. These categories basically organise and describe the different things the business sells. 

Step 3 - Calculate Cost

When your customer chooses the items they want to purchase, find the items in their categories and add them to the basket. This will automatically calculate how much the customer owes while taking things like tax into account. 

If you have a barcode scanner, you can also quickly scan the items rather than finding them in their categories. For some businesses with more items available, this will be the quickest option. 

Adding up the items is sometimes called “ringing them up”. This is a holdover from the days when mechanical tills would literally ring a bell after every transaction. 

Step 4 - Collect payment 

Depending on the till you’re using you can take payment a number of different ways. With the Epos Now Complete Solution, you can accept payments via chip and pin cards, contactless and swipe card, cash, or even phone payments via Google Pay and Apple Pay. If the customer pays in cash, the cash draw will open so that the money can be securely stored.

While there’s quite a complicated process behind payment processing itself, as the cashier you won’t need to worry about it. 

Step 5 - Print or email the receipt

In most countries, businesses are legally required to provide their customers with a receipt. This can either be done physically with a printed piece of paper or electronically via an email. 

If the customer wishes to receive their receipt electronically, they will have to provide you with their email address. 

The best till for any business

Now that you know how to operate a till, make sure you choose the right one for your business. Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for businesses in retail and hospitality. We let you choose the tools and insights to help your business achieve its goals. 

Designed to work as a complete business management system, you can control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system.

Receive detailed analysis on the areas that matter to your business:

  • Review profitability reports based on individual product performance, trending items, best and worst sellers, and employee sales
  • View sales analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and other expenses
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online sales and in-person sales for the most up-to-date stock levels
  • Automate stock purchasing so you never miss a sales opportunity
  • Create and send invoices using simple templates and a built-in VAT calculator
  • Customer management systems that save customer contact details and shopping preferences for more targeted marketing
  • Schedule emails and SMS messages to be sent at the most impactful time of day
  • Integrate with the business automation apps that are right for your business
  • Simplify employee management for more efficient scheduling and payroll

If you’d like to learn more about our industry-leading software, contact us today.