Your iPad Point of Sale System Specialist

 

The right tablet POS

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Is a Tablet Point of Sale the right choice for your business?

Business owners have a multitude of technology options to choose from to help them run their business.  In order to make the best purchasing decision, owners should consider a few critical aspects that separate Tablet based POS from a traditional point of sale system.  These include, but are not limited to: Design Quality, Cost, Features and Functionality.  I’ll cover each of these aspects in detail to help you make the best decision for your business.

Design Quality

Design Quality is an important factor to consider when buying a point of sale system to fit your business.  It affects ease of use, stability, and flexibility just to name a few important qualities.  The architectural design of point of sale systems varies greatly from a traditional back office server powered system, to a web browser based system, to purely cloud based architecture, to a hybrid of these structures.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each that you should consider.

A traditional server based POS may be advantageous for large, more complex businesses that require automated ordering and vendor integration, robust inventory controls, and detailed employee management and scheduling services.  Downside is the installation is complex, requiring hard wiring touch screen order entry stations, kitchen printers and back office servers.  If your server crashes, your system goes down with it, which is an obvious disruption to a great service experience.  These systems can also cost 3 to 4 times more than a tablet system.

Browser based Tablet POS systems have a great user interface and attractive design components, but their reliance is on the speed of data delivered through your web connection.  Also a new web browser page is reloaded at each new navigation of the system.  This can severely slow the server or cashiers ability to fulfill orders and create a very poor customer experience.

Tablet POS systems that function independent of a web connection while utilizing a cloud server for data back up, such as Shopkeep POS, have a variety of advantages.  Firstly, if your internet connection or power fails, you can continue regular business operation.  You’ll need a back up method of accepting credit card payments, but at least an internet or power failure doesn’t shut the doors on your operation for the day.  Secondly, the utilization of cloud data provides easy remote access to reporting tools to inform your business decisions.  Lastly, since you are not dependent on internet connection speed, customers will always experience the same quick and friendly service on each visit.

 Cost

Not unlike most purchasing decisions we make, Cost is generally a factor that plays a key role in the decision making process.  There is always a balancing act between Cost and Quality that needs to be assessed so you don’t end up buying a corvette to race in the soapbox derby.  Here are some things to consider:

  • What is my budget?
  • How many registers or order entry points do I require?
  • How many employees will need to use the system at the same time?
  • Do I need table and reservation management, or a more simple cash register type product?

A good point of sale system will pay for itself in 2 to 3 years on average, if it’s the right fit.  Make sure you don’t spend more than you need to and take a hard look at the POS system characteristics and make sure it fits your business needs.

 Features and Functionality

There is a wide range of capabilities between various types of POS systems.  Some are geared to a highly complex business operation such as a full service, nationally branded restaurant chain while others are aimed at the small business and sole proprietor sector.  I would recommend a simple virtual payments terminal to a handyman or arts and crafts exhibitor, but certainly would not recommend that to a business as complex as a coffee shop or ice cream parlor.  You’ll need to decide what your minimum feature set includes before making a POS decision.  If you want to manage hourly employees along with taking orders and payments, you should look beyond a payment acceptance program from a credit card processor and find a true POS system that fits your needs.

Be careful to seek out only the minimum viable product from the beginning.  You will have plenty of time, if your core business is successful, to add complementary software applications to help you manage your growing business.  Often times, features that help make a great sales presentation, in practice end up in the graveyard of software applications that you think you need, but ultimately don’t have the time or employee resources to dedicate to them.  I opened my first restaurant with a flashy inventory management program that was supposed to give me ultimate control over my product flow and manage my cost of goods sold.  It required a manual entry of every item of every invoice to work correctly, which ended up taking 10 to 20 hours per week.  I was locked in the back office, away from the core of my business serving great food and drinks in a fun and friendly atmosphere.  Ultimately I quit trying to keep up with the software and moved to a traditional, hand written, par based inventory program that was easier to keep up with and much more effective.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what needs to be considered to ensure you make the best POS purchase for your business.  I recommend that you find a trusted expert that can help guide your decision.  Use your network of colleagues in your particular industry or check out a company like Honor Business Solutions, that is dedicated to helping businesses integrate technology products and services that fit their needs and drive business growth.

Mark Miller, November 2013

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