By Lisa Kilker – “Queen of Support”
Small business owners can definitely be nervous when it comes to switching POS systems. After all, leaving one’s comfort zone can be unsettling. Although, it really doesn’t have to be. Especially once you realize that moving your small business to a cloud-based platform is not only easy, but convenient as well. Here are the top 5 questions small business owners ask us before switching to a cloud-based platform:
Standard cash registers typically ran on bulky, over-the-top, unnecessary equipment. Equipment that you’d pay an arm and a leg for and it was only able to run the specific software which you also sold your first born in order to afford. If you decided you weren’t satisfied with the system, you were pretty much stuck with hardware you’d never need or use again taking up half your stockroom. A web-based POS system eliminates all of that… including the high cost. It’s a system that runs on a web browser, virtually on any computer or tablet, eliminating the need for expensive peripherals. In addition, being web-based means you will be able to access your data from anywhere, not just from the terminal itself.
2) Do I need to purchase new equipment for a cloud-based POS?
Typically, no. Most web-based POS systems were especially designed to be platform agnostic. That means they will pretty much work with any external hardware. Sure, you’ve seen commercials with fancy iPad setups, but you honestly don’t need all that. Especially if the POS was built to be web-based, not just as a native iPad app. In many cases, you don’t even need to buy anything at all. All you need is a laptop or tablet, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer. If you have any of these things laying around, chances are, they will work. If not, purchasing this equipment will not be expensive. If you already have a laptop, a receipt printer and cash drawer should run you less than $350 total. However, always check with your POS provider. They will be able to recommend specific models based on your needs.
It’s essential for a small business to be able to accept credit card payments. Many web-based POS systems require integration with specific merchant services providers. This can sometimes be a pain if you’re already in a contract with another merchant services provider. Leaving that provider can result in exorbitant costs. If that’s your situation, try to find a web-based POS system that offers the ability to use any merchant services provider of your choice. Not only will you get the best rates, but you might save yourself a ton of money by staying with your current provider.
Knowing your customers and what they buy is key to any retail operation today. According to a Harvard Business Review article: “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.“ (The Value of Keeping the Right Customers, Amy Gallo October 29, 2014). That’s why now, especially if you’re a small business, creating loyalty and incentive programs for your customers is absolutely essential. Not only will these programs keep your customers happy, they will encourage them to return to you and therefore increase your sales. A great POS will have these types of rewards built right in. In addition, you’ll want a POS with the capabilities to add customer information such as email addresses and social media handles. Marketing is your best friend. Once you have customer information, it’s important to use it. Market to your current customers. Keep them informed of promotions and sales or special events going on in your shop. In addition, keeping track of how they spend and what they buy is key to ordering the right amounts of the right products.
Of course! Most web-based POS systems have tons of great built-in features your employees will love, such as a time-clock and sales commission tracking. In addition, you’ll want a POS system that is easy to use and easy to learn. For store owners, special employee permissions make it simple to allow each employee to have difference access roles. For example, “managers” or “cashiers only”. This will help keep your store’s data safe and only viewable to those you trust the most. Don’t forget, if it gets busy, you might want to add an additional cash register. Try to find a web-based POS system that offers the ability to add and delete cash registers as needed… and particularly one that will only charge you for the month(s) you use those additional registers.
Still have questions? I’ve got answers! Email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org