I remember shopping in Sears, JC Penny’s and other big retailers many years ago and being amazed at the huge, beige Point of Sales systems used by these retailing giants. For smaller retailers they would use this big clunky machines as well. If the didn’t they’d often have the plastic cash registers that looked like children’s toys.
Today, visit any modern coffee shop in Brooklyn or Austin, visit any new retail store in your local town and I bet they’re shunning these big cash registers in place of sleeker and smarter point of sale systems.
In fact many of these systems are online and using computers or tablets.
I asked Justin Hotard, VP and GM of NCR Small Business about this shift. To its credit NCR is one of the leading provider of these “old school” cash registers it’s morphed and provides leaner and intelligent iOS based point of sale systems as well.
Why have retailers switched to online POS systems?
The power of the cloud allows retailers to capture customer data, store it and build a database filled with information and insights to drive customer interactions. Online access to inventory and sales reports keep small business owners in the know anytime and anywhere. For example, NCR Silver customers have found mobile POS to be affordable and offer more than a traditional PC register setup. The more powerful iPad POS systems, combine many features on one platform – integrated customer marketing, real-time reports, time clock functionality, and even multisite capability. A small business can centrally manage all their stores, view reports at a company level or drill down for store details.
Those retailers who have not switched, why do you think they have not?
This generally stems from an awareness issue. iPads are everywhere, but some customers are still learning this is an option. They may have a cash drawer and credit card reader and think that’s all they need. They don’t realize how much more they could be doing and how much time and money they save with a mobile POS system. They also may be unaware how easy, affordable and powerful a product like this can be. It truly saves small businesses time – allowing them to focus on important things like processing transactions, managing inventory and tracking sales. It also makes it easier to do the things they want to do, like attract customers, or bring back existing ones. Features such as integrated customer marketing make sending automated e-mails a breeze, and business owners can easily add offers or discounts, and track their campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. Once a business owner understands all that is available right now, making the switch becomes a no brainer.
What are some specific benefits retailers realize when they use cloud-based POS systems?
When a customer buys a mobile POS system, they get more than technology; they get a partner that is watching out for their business. For companies such as NCR, that means offering the best customer service with 7-day live support. In today’s socially connected world, we’ve created a community portal where customers can chat with each other, or our support staff, access training videos, and access the knowledge base to learn how to use all the features available to our customers. This level of customer service also simplifies the move to a cloud-based POS system.
Accessibility is a key benefit too, because everything is stored in the cloud and owners can access real-time reports from anywhere, online or using the mobile dashboard when they are away from their store. This helps business owners better enjoy their time outside of work, and these types of mobile platforms offer a lot of flexibility for managing and running a business. We believe small business owners should do what they love and use technology to simplify the rest.
Is there a big difference between “cloud based POS” systems – “iPad based” and computer based systems?
A cloud-based solution, like Silver, is very different than a POS application running on a PC or laptop. With the cloud you’re always on and always connected so you get the benefits of real-time updates. Of course, these iPad-based platforms also work in offline mode. as well. As we release updates, customers can access features as soon as they become available. It is as simple as downloading the app once the update is posted to the app store. Most small business owners are smart phone users and are already familiar with downloading an update to an app. The challenge with the PC application is it requires the owner to buy the next version to get all the new features. It may even require a hardware update with each release. The iPad is more versatile, they can put it on a stand or take it with them to do queue busting or sell on the go.