by George Urdea, co-founder of Nobly POS
You may be the owner of a number of different restaurant, bars or cafes. Or you may the sole owner of one boutique cafe. Either way, you can leverage technology in your business. POS systems level the playing field between large and small businesses by making technology more accessible. It was previously only an option for larger companies.
There are many options available to you, but you must first identify what you need from your POS system. An POS system isn’t just somewhere to keep your money. You need to be clear on what you want your POS system to do, and work on finding hardware solutions that fit your needs
An POS system can’t change your business, but it can certainly add to it.
It’s important that you’re clear on what you want from your POS system, and that you communicate those needs to the vendors when you’re buying. That way you can be sure that you’re getting the right hardware for your business.
The data that an POS system collects will give you increased visibility of your business, giving you actionable insights.
A POS system can enable you to find what you’re selling the most, when you’re selling it, and who you’re selling it to. This data can be used to make fact-driven decisions to boost your business.
iPad-based POS systems.
The system that you choose needs to be easy for employees to use.
iPad-based POS systems are the go-to solution. Apple is so successful because their software is designed to be easily-graspable and reliable.
One major benefit of an iPad-based POS system is that your staff will need virtually no training: they’re likely already able to use the iPad interface. This is a marked contrast to old proprietary systems, for which your staff are likely to need training even if they’ve used a similar system before.
They’re also far easier to service. If your touchscreen till breaks down it can be a real pain, as you may know. You have to pay for a repairman to come out and service it — or even replace the whole system, which can be expensive.
By contrast, if the iPad that you’re using as an POS stops working, you can simply download your POS app to another iPad and use that instead.
iPads are easily portable. But, if security is a concern, you can opt for a secure iPad stand like that screws into your countertop making it as safe as possible.
Your business’s premises dictate the type of POS hardware you go for, and receipt printers, which connect to your iPad in a variety of ways, are no exception. Receipt printers tend to connect to your iPad using either Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth, or USB, and each type of connection has its own advantages and drawbacks.
Wi-Fi printers are flexible and you can connect several to a single iPad, but they’re harder to set up and rely on you having a stable Wi-Fi network.
USB printers, by contrast, connect directly to your iPad using a Lightning cable, so you’ll never lose connectivity. The drawback of this is that you can only connect one printer to your iPad.
You also need to consider the number of transactions that the hardware is likely to have to cope with.
A Bluetooth printer is a great option for many businesses, but if you experience a high volume of transactions, your business could be better served by a LAN receipt printer for fast, long distance, reliable communication.
Being able to take advantage of the latest payments technology is a key reason to upgrade from a cash register to an POS system.
Payment processors tend to supply their own card terminals — normally on a lease — so the specific terminal you get will depend on the payment processor you choose. But all card terminals do the same thing, more or less. They allow you to take card payments.
After that, form tends to follow function — some are pretty much a PIN pad and a screen, powered by a rechargeable battery. Other card terminals have larger screens on which you can display your branding, and some others have inbuilt receipt printers for customer card receipts.
Pretty much every modern card terminal comes with NFC capabilities, meaning they can accept payment using contactless cards and phone-based payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether your card terminal is integrated with your POS system. If it is, you can send payment details directly from your iPad to your card reader — if not, you’ll have to type in each transaction manually. Integrated payments are a real help if you’re in a fast-paced environment with lots of transactions to process.
A POS system is more than just hardware, though.
iPad POS systems are used by all kinds of businesses, however, there are a variety of software packages to choose from. Each one has functions designed to fulfil the needs of different sectors such as retail, e-commerce, and hospitality.
If you run a café, for example, you’ll need to find an POS software that offers customisable table maps, easy ordering, real-time inventory and ingredients tracking.
There is certainly no shortage of iPad POS solutions on the market that will fulfil your business needs at a basic level. However, you need to find one that offers you the features you need to grow your business. A POS system that’s suited for a restaurant will have a very different feature-set to a POS system designed for a multi-location retail outfit.
And most EPOS systems, especially the most modern ones that run on iPads, can give you complete visibility over your business whether you’re running a small business or a business empire. They have cloud-based back office analytics suites that show you every sale you make and compile all your sales data into reports.
George Urdea is one of Nobly POS‘s co-founders. He’s completed a masters in Management and Organisational Analytics and has helped build digital teams and products for companies such as BSkyB and McKinsey & Company. It was at the latter where he met his fellow Nobly co-founders and the rest is history – they’ve been providing EPOS systems for coffee shops, delis, restaurants and bars for five years.