Emphasizing the POSitive: Tablets and Apps for Small Business Point of Sale
Tablet computers and mobile-enabled POS systems have revolutionized the way small businesses handle debit, credit and ePayment transactions. mPOS, or mobile point of sale, combines the portability of tablets with cloud-based solutions so you can serve customers anytime, anywhere and have easy access to your business data from any location.
Yet data from Austin-based Software Advice, a website with POS system comparisons and reviews for retailers, shows that 21 percent of small business owners still operate without a POS system, relying instead on spreadsheets, paper ledgers or handwritten receipts. Not surprisingly, 42 percent are looking to replace their current POS for something better. Are you one of them?
Here are some key considerations for choosing a tablet for POS, and some recommendations for mPOS apps.
Tablets & Readers for Payment Processing
When searching for a tablet to serve as your POS terminal, evaluate these factors:
As for the card readers, Guinn says although most offerings have improved their readers, some iPad® and/or iPhone-based card readers can be very fragile and not very dependable. One of the key benefits of these systems is streamlining the point-of-sale process by conducting transactions where the customer is. However, having to swipe the card multiple times or adjust and readjust the card reader isnt very conducive to this streamlining. Check with colleagues and trade groups, as well as online reviews, to find a model that can stand up to your business.
Apps for Payment Processing
The Software Advice research found that 78 percent of businesses want systems that offer sophisticated inventory management capabilities, and 49 percent desire functions like customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty programs.
Amad Ebrahimi, founder of Merchant Maverick, an Orange, CA-based firm that provides reviews, ratings and comparisons of merchant services and POS software, offers this quick overview of popular POS options to help you choose:
The fact that tablets are cloud-based means managers can add and remove features as needed, via simple app store interfaces, explains Russell Harty, senior vice president, key account and partner channels, for Merchant Warehouse, a Boston-based customer engagement solutions developer. The flexibility of these options means merchants can adapt and adopt in real time to meet their customers needs.