Point Of Sale, or POS, technologies have never been better. With the rise of tablet computers, wireless networks and companies like Square, Amazon and PayPal, a budding entrepreneur can setup shop anywhere. But what about payment systems for larger organizations?
Cash registers have largely been supplanted by PC-based POS systems. (Just ask yourself the last time you actually heard the sound “cha-ching” while checking out of a store.) As with all things technological, the wheels of progress never stop and the next transition is already upon us. iPads are quickly becoming the heart of modern POS systems. Connecting to barcode scanners, receipt printers, credit card swipers and cash drawers, they can manage any type of transaction. Additionally, the database holding the information for all your terminals is often moving to the cloud — creating a single place to reconcile all transactions regardless of geography or the number of terminals your business requires.
But POS systems are like snowflakes as every type of business is unique. While a frozen yogurt shop may need to integrate a scale to weigh cups of Cookies ’N Creme, pizza shops will want to track vehicles and deliveries. In the service and retail space a salon will need to integrate appointment scheduling, while a liquor store must keep current on alcohol shipping regulations. Some restaurants will sell gift cards while others offer loyalty programs that bring repeat business. Not to mention, many businesses are taking their offerings to mobile users with marketing, online shopping, or advance order capabilities. The best solutions implement a single system tracking your customers and their purchases during the entire lifecycle — which hopefully is a constant carousel of marketing and transactions.
As luck would have it, the next generation of POS developers have discovered this complexity and built software with flexibility and customization in mind while striving for an elegant and efficient setup. Most have chosen a full suite of compatible hardware offerings to simplify the installation. They’ll include mounting kits that connect perfectly to their specified card swiper — or maybe the ideal printer to send orders to the kitchen. Whatever your business, a package exists that includes all the puzzle pieces with guaranteed compatibility.
A recent deployment for the soon-to-open Temblor Brewing Company introduced me to Revel Systems (revelsystems.com). These POS developers are some of the best I’ve encountered shipping all the products — iPads and all — pre-configured and ready to place on the counter. Temblor is quite a complex business with more facets than you might imagine. In addition to selling their local beer in pint-form at their gorgeous new brewpub, Temblor will distribute their products statewide and eventually nationwide. In addition to craft beer they’ll prepare made-to-order food, offer gift cards and retail merchandise, and attend mobile events where they take their sweet nectar on the road. All transactional data is merged together in a cloud-hosted database, easily exported to their accounting software and running on a half-dozen iPads scattered throughout their facility. For Temblor, Revel will be a great fit covering all aspects of their business.
My best advice: research and ask lots of questions of the providers you interview. Choosing a developer with a proven track record within your vertical market is the key. But don’t let fear of this new approach scare you away. Integrating a modern, retail POS system can be a fast-track to the elusive “cha ching” — even if you have to make the sound yourself….