While the cash register has long been the standard point-of-sale (POS) system for retailers around the world, its 137-year reign looks to be finally coming to an end. Unseating what has long been the uncontested ruler of customer checkout is the tablet POS system, which offers businesses a quick, secure and inexpensive alternative on hardware they're already familiar with.
Here are just a few of the many benefits businesses can expect by transitioning away from traditional POS systems in favor of a tablet-based solution.
Have you ever been shopping somewhere just to be told that "the card reader is down?" Not only is this an inconvenience for customers who don't usually carry cash, but it can result in a significant loss in business for companies left on the mercy of their POS provider to fix the problem. Many of today's tablet POS systems come standard with offline functionality, which allows them to continue working even when their network connection is lost. Then, when the system is back online, the software simply syncs to the cloud automatically in the background, never disrupting businesses' ability to process transactions.
One of the most appealing benefits of tablet POS systems is that they typically cost businesses far less than their traditional counterparts. Up front, a cash register and the necessary related equipment can cost companies thousands of dollars, while a businesses can nab an iPad and compatible card reader for just a few hundred dollars. For Shannon Seip, owner of a cafe and cooking school in Seattle, transitioning from a more traditional point-of-sale system to an iPad-based system saved her business $10,000. "For a small company like us where $10,000 makes a huge difference, that was a key differentiator," Seip told Entrepreneur.com.
Small businesses rarely have the budget to demand traditional POS manufacturers build them a custom solution, so they're pigeon-holed into using standard offerings that can have them paying for features they don't need or aren't suited for their business. Cloud-based tablet POS systems are much more flexible, allowing business owners to configure the solution for their specific requirements.
As digital systems, tablet POS solutions collect data that can easily be integrated with other digital tools, such as inventory tracking, direct ordering, shipping tools and loyalty programs. They can also interface with businesses' customer engagement systems by collecting email addresses via electronic receipts, informing marketing campaigns and more. What's more, the POS's impact on all of these functions can easily be reported on, as the data is conveniently stored and easy to access.
Easy to update
On iOS devices, applications can be set to update automatically as soon as new features are available. This makes it easy for businesses running their POS on an iPad to stay protected by the latest bug fixes and take advantage of their software's newest features. Traditional POS terminals, on the other hand, rarely see updates come their way because they are typically much more difficult to install.
To insulate merchants from possible security concerns, many POS software options encrypt the credit card data they receive, and never store it on the iPad itself. Plus, iPad's are protected by one of the most secure mobile operating systems on the market. In addition to well-known user-controlled security measures, such as passcodes and time delays for incorrect passcode entries, iOS also features complex hardware and data encryption methods that protect your device information from unwanted eyes.
Shallow learning curve
Although its the last item on our list, one of the most immediate benefits many businesses experience is how quick and easy it is to get new employees set up using tablet POS systems. Many users already have experience using iOS, so the controls and functionalities will likely be easy to pick up on. For users who are new to using Apple products, the flexibility of the software means that buttons and workflow are more likely to be intuitive, as they are easy to customize for a specific business. As a result, businesses can spend less time and money training new staff members.
MC Services' certified IT consultants can help design and roll out an iPad deployment program to help your business modernize its point-of-sale process. Our technology consulting services include everything from process design to Apple training and on-demand IT support. Get in touch with us today to get started!