In recent years, there has been an explosion of cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems into the marketplace. This shift to cloud-based services and away from a closed legacy system has been a boon for small business owners who often can’t afford the steep up-front investment costs. Cloud-based POS offers cheaper alternatives and comes in a wide variety of flavours to suit your business needs.
At a glance, however, POS systems that run on mobile or tablet devices can seem pretty similar. Many offer different loyalty programs, accounting tools, competitive price structures and varying ways to create gift cards or coupons. But there are often unique sets of add-ons and additions which allow you to customize the POS systems to your specific business needs.
Below are some of the most popular POS systems, and why I think you should consider them for your business.
1. Square: Accept payments on the go
Square’s card reader app is arguably the most popular POS system on the market with over two million merchants and counting. Square can process credit card and gift card transactions using iPhones, iPads and Android devices, then send out digital receipts via text or email. Square also offers customer loyalty programs, the ability to publish a menu and much more. Square offers a flat-rate pricing model that includes a zero monthly cost and 2.75% per card swipe.
2. Breadcrumb: Use the cloud to manage your restaurant
Breadcrumb is an industry-specific POS platform available for the iPad which caters to the restaurant industry. It was acquired by Groupon in 2012 and allows merchants to manage table zones, split checks, comp meals and control the timing of multiple meal courses all on the same platform. Breadcrumb allows you to accept cash or credit payments and has flexible pricing plans which range from $99 to $399 a month including set-up.
3. NCR Silver: Use your register’s data for your marketing campaigns
NCR Silver is a POS system which works on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices which offers unique features such as 24/7 customer service and marketing tools that businesses can use to thank first-time customers and send automated emails to longtime customers who haven’t come by in a while. NCR Silver is available from $59 to $79/month and offers hardware packages which you can lease starting at $39/month.
4. Shopkeep: Process your payments without the Internet
One of the downfalls of using a cloud-based POS system is that it requires a strong internet connection to process payments, which can be a problem if the internet goes down. Shopkeep allows you to continue to process sales on in-store iPads and then sync the data when your systems go back online. Shopkeep can also help you with inventory management, business analytics, and can be integrated with a variety of loyalty programs. Shopkeep starts at $49/month for businesses with one register and sells complete hardware packages starting at $80.
5. Shopify: One retail POS system to rule them all
Shopify’s POS system is created specifically for retail and offers a variety of features, including uploading and managing inventory, manually adding products and photos, export reports, create gift cards, manage customers and mailing lists, accept multiple payments and tenders, and manage your staff accounts. The Shopify POS can be sold alone, or if you’re already an existing Shopify customer the app will sync with your existing website automatically. Like Shopkeep, Shopify stores your data on the iPad, so you can still process transactions even if your internet goes down. Flexible pricing means you can tailor what you spend to match your needs, from a basic plan at $9/month, all the way to an unlimited plan for $159/month.
READ MORE: How four young entrepreneurs have transformed rural Manitoba into a Silicon Valley of the North with their Shopify app development company.