Cash registers have been around for the better part of 150 years and over time, the traditional electronic POS system has become as much of a hindrance as a help to retailers. That’s why more and more store owners have made the switch to working with mobile POS apps since the mid-2000s. On the whole, these apps are much more flexible and reliable than their electronic cousins.
But the retail industry has seen many technological changes. What is it precisely about what iPad POS apps can do for retail businesses that’s causing this surge in popularity? That’s what we’re going to talk about.
Mobile POS Apps Facilitate Better Customer Service
This should be obvious, as the heart of retail lies in customer service. It is literally the yardstick by which all other aspects of the business are measured …except, sometimes, the business’s POS system.
With a mobile POS app, the key idea is mobile. Through using a Web based POS system, you can mount your iPad POS at the front counter, but you can also allow employees to move with them throughout the store. This means one employee can guide the customer through the entire sales experience. If a customer has a question, the employee doesn’t have to run over to some distant computer to check if a product is in inventory. They can use a tablet to verify that the product is present, answer further questions and ring the customer up, all without taking a step away from the shelf. The customers get the information they need and are free to browse further, confident in the fact that they will get the answers they need quickly.
There are lots of great mobile POS systems out there for you to choose from, the Vend iPad POS is one that I’ve had great experiences with. But, which one you choose will depend on your own business’s requirements. Here’s a comparison list of 10 different iPad POS systems which should help you find a system best suited to your needs.
A perfect POS solution is the one that works on iPad, Mac or PC (both online and offline) as well as connects to all the latest hardware — barcode scanners, receipt printers, and cash drawers.
The only constant in business is that nothing is constant. Your store may grow gradually over the course of several years or it may sprout overnight. In the question of new locations, infrastructure costs are always a tricky part of the equation. How many new POS units will you need? Is the cost justified?
Fortunately, the cost of a cloud based mobile POS system is considerably lower than the traditional electronic unit. Also, the cost is the price of the device plus the subscription price for the POS service, making it easier to plan your expansion. Finally these, apps are designed for good scalability, meaning that they’re very good at integrating data from new stores as they are added to the system.
So, are you a PC or a Mac? There are a few areas where this question is still relevant, but not so much when it comes to POS apps. This technology is what’s called device agnostic, meaning it’s designed to perform optimally on most devices. Naturally this gives you more flexibility in your technology choices. Say you have a PC infrastructure set up on your store’s back end, but you really like the iPad’s looks and functionality. You can still have your iPad POS system with a minimum of fuss from an IT perspective.
Better Analytics Means Better Decision Making
This is where some of the most awesome aspects of POS apps kick in. If you’re still looking at mind-numbing spreadsheets or primitive Excel graphs to track your sales performance, you’ve got to come into the 21st Century. Almost every Android and iPad POS app has a robust reporting package that will give you real-time or near real-time sales numbers. In addition to simply totalling transactions, you can usually filter by date, product ID, customer and more. These tools allow you to really drill down into your data to figure out what’s selling, what’s not and how to alter your strategy accordingly.
Sales Continue Even Offline
There are many benefits to cloud-based POS systems. Even though the world runs on the Internet, losing your connection is no excuse for losing the sale. The beauty of these cloud-based apps is that they will allow you to keep selling even if you’ve lost your Internet connection. When you’re back online, the app will send all transactional data to the cloud, updating both your financial and inventory totals.
Using mobile devices as your retail POS is more than just hype, it’s a practice that is being adopted by businesses large and small the world over. Using a POS app will make your business more scalable, responsive to customer needs and help you with your business forecasting.
Mobile POS Photo via Shutterstock