By Lisa Kilker – «Queen of Support»
How a web-based POS system can streamline your small business in just minutes
It’s 2017, if you can believe it. And while we don’t have flying cars and hover boards yet, that’s still no excuse for you to be using a cash register from 1985.
Cash registers have always had one purpose and one purpose only: to calculate the total cost of a sale, accept money, and give change. However, if you wanted to keep track of customers, inventory, loyalty rewards programs, sales reports, commissions, employee hours, and so on, you’d have to get out the lined paper notebook, then guard it with your life.
Point-of-sale systems eventually became popular when people realized they didn’t have to break their own backs to keep records. However, POS software doesn’t always prevent headaches. The built-in features can be helpful, but they certainly come with a price… literally. Point-of-sale software can cost small business owners thousands per year, and that doesn’t include any additional features such as gift cards or customer service. One customer told me that his old POS software charged him $500 per year for customer service alone, plus and additional $1,700 just to accept gift cards. Considering saving money is always an important issue in regards to small business ownership, that’s certainly excessive. Even if you did decide to go the costly route, you’re still not paying for convenience.
I remember my first days working retail, closing the register at night meant backing up. This was a tedious process which included several floppy disks, about 30 minutes of precious time, and a fireproof safe in which to lock up the data. We also had to print all the reports which were then photocopied and faxed to corporate and then filed in a massive filing cabinet along with 7 previous years’ worth of records. However, we did it that way because that was the technology back then. We didn’t have any other options at the time.
Then came the cloud…
Imagine a world where you didn’t have to back anything up. A world where sales reports, inventory, customer data, and employee management was not only available to you at the click of a button in real-time, but also accessible from anywhere in the world. In addition, low monthly fees and all-inclusive features meant it was also very affordable. Why are you imagining it? It’s here. It’s reality. It’s the cloud!
OK, yes, you’re set in your ways, I get it. After using the same POS for the last 20 years, it’s a bit difficult to grasp the idea of having to learn an entirely new system. But, what if I also told you that it takes just minutes to set up and is so simple to learn that as long as you know how to turn a computer on, you can figure it out? What if I told you that with most cloud-based platforms there are no contracts, so if you decided it didn’t work for you, you could just walk away? That is the absolute beauty of cloud-based POS systems.
In addition to the time and money you’ll save, the convenience factor is beyond compare. Every time I get an email from a retailer who tells me that they took their first vacation in years simply because they knew they could check in on their store from the beach makes my heart skip a beat. All you need is the internet and you can add, edit, and delete inventory items, modify customer rewards, view reports, and manage your employees from anywhere at any time.
Technology makes it easier every day for small business owners to manage their shops. Taking advantage of every aspect of that technology is exactly what you should be doing. It exists to save you time, money, and stress. It exists to make your life so much easier. It exists to make your dream of owning your own store and being your own boss a reality.
Most web-based POS systems are also platform agnostic, meaning you can keep your old peripherals. However, with software-based POS system, you’re looking at investing a small fortune for hardware that can only be used with that specific software. With cloud-based platforms, all you need is a PC or tablet, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer. In fact, if you want to stay green, a receipt printer isn’t even necessary since most web-based POS systems allow you to email receipts to customers.
The mobile factor is also a huge, huge bonus in regards to cloud-based POS systems. Do you have a trade show, a swap meet, or a state fair to attend? Just pick up your computer and head over there! As long as you have internet access, you can ring up sales at your booth. Even if the internet is dodgy, most web-based POS systems have offline capabilities that allow your data to be stored in your browser’s cache. You can continue to ring sales normally and the data will sync back to the cloud when your internet returns.
With all that being said, what exactly are you waiting for? Switch to a cloud-based POS system now and see just how much it can make a difference for your small business.
To speak with the Queen directly, email: firstname.lastname@example.org