Published January 12th, 2016
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz with retail merchants wondering about the advantages of a cloud-based tablet POS system vs. a traditional POS system. If you’re wondering more about this increasingly popular option and how it can affect your business, read on.
Cloud-based POS systems offer a variety of benefits, one of which is that you’ll have the power of instantly updated sales data, along with web-based reporting capabilities that allow you to take charge of your shop’s POS wherever you are.
Another advantage that a tablet POS can provide you is that upgrading is much easier and faster. This upgrading is faster because the cloud-based POS is better able to keep up with shifting technology trends and security updates that will likely happen within several years.
Another huge benefit to those who choose a tablet POS system is that you have the ability to seamlessly integrate your loyalty program and offer gift cards as well. You won’t find this same flexibility in many Windows-based POS configurations. If you haven’t yet instituted a loyalty program – there are some big reasons to start. We’ll get back to that later on in the blog. But first, it is worth focusing on some of the other tools you can take advantage of with a tablet POS.
Take inventory with ease
Gone are the days that a POS system simply rang up an order and calculated tax, now you can expect much more from your in-store terminal – and take up much less space doing it. With a tablet POS system that works from the cloud, you can now have instant access to your sales and inventory data.
As a small business owner, one of the most important benefits you’ll enjoy from your tablet POS systems is tracking inventory efficiently. When inventory data isn’t a part of POS, keeping up to date can be a fairly big administrative task – taking up valuable time and money. With your tablet POS system, however, everything is instantly updated directly to your inventory lists.
And the fact that a tablet POS can help you keep on top of inventory shouldn’t be taken for granted. Businesses in the US lose over $200 billion every year from carrying too much inventory, according to The National Retail Federation. When items just sit on the shelves, your business loses. While your own business savvy oversight also comes into play, the inventory-tracking capabilities of a tablet POS can be powerful tools to help you reduce waste and keep on top of buying trends at your shop.
Not only can you save yourself money and time – and hassle – you can make sure you get items reordered in a timely way, and also avoid ordering too much product. With the ability to track past purchasing trends, you can begin to see notable patterns and order accordingly.
And when it is time reorder, you can get alerts so you never get stuck with empty stock. The inventory feature alone makes the tablet POS a smart option for your business. You can get these same capabilities as the big POS terminals without having to invest in expensive equipment that takes up extra space in your store.
Two powerful ways a loyalty program helps you connect with your customers
In addition to tracking inventory, you tablet POS system can also help you understand your customers’ buying habits. By integrating a loyalty program, you are able to do a few very critical things to connect with your customers.
72% of shoppers in the US are more likely to do business at a store that offers a loyalty program.
#1 Loyalty programs help you attract sales
One of the reasons why the above statistic may be true is that consumers love getting deals – especially when they are targeted at their interests. Shoppers like the incentives and the rewards they will receive, so loyalty programs offer a huge potential for marketing success when done in a smart way.
If your reward program is structured around points, you offer your customers a more streamlined way to shop and earn rewards. You can set it up so that whatever they purchase will help them save a certain dollar amount or percentage off of their next order. Build in repeat business right with your loyalty program.
#2 Use your loyalty program to boost your marketing efforts
A loyalty program is a powerful marketing tool because you have all of the buying histories of your customer right at your fingertips. You can segment your markets and create targeted mailers or email campaigns that will be more likely to succeed because they are personalized.
So if you want to go a little deeper in your loyalty program as far as targeted marketing is concerned, you have the capability to do that as well.
Keep in mind that every time you have a positive interaction, a special email offer, or a targeted coupon geared to your customer’s specific needs, you’re building customer loyalty and strengthening your brand in the process.
Use your tablet POS software to offer gift cards and increase sales
Offering gift cards can be one of the most important ways to increase the number of sales through the checkout process during the holidays. Not only is the customer buying more, you will now have another visitor coming into your store. The great news there is that studies show most people purchase more than their original gift card was worth.
Here are a few fun facts about offering gift cards:
- The gift card area represents the most profitable space in a retail store. Place them right in front in a prominent area where they can be seen.
- The attitude that people have towards gift cards is more favorable than it used to be. People see a gift card as offering more desirable than a pre-purchased gift.
- 93% surveyed said that they preferred to be gifted a $25 card than receiving a gift of the same value.
- 77% of Americans asked said that they bought and gave a gift card last year, and the majority plan to purchase one in the next few months.
Gift cards can be purchased in most any increment, so it truly makes the most flexible gift option, and it’s definitely a smart business move to get your gift card display all set up in the coming year to start seeing these benefits yourself.
While there are many benefits to a tablet POS, you may have some questions. One of the most common questions we see is a variation to the following on migration concerns:
What about migration – I heard it can be difficult?
While migrating from one POS to another one may seem like it is difficult, the best way to go about it is to export your whole inventory as well as the customer information onto a spreadsheet and then send that along to your provider.
There are many good cloud POS companies that will import this and take care of it for you to get it into your new account. You shouldn’t expect to see very large fees for this service -- It’s just a part of setting up and getting you ready to go.
You’ll want to ask about migration when you’re calling around for information on tablet POS companies.
What about my Internet connection?
You will definitely need a good Internet connection in order to process your transactions on a cloud-based system, but many providers do offer off-line services that allow you to sync any transactions that occurred during a service interruption when you come back online. Again, that’s another great question to ask when you are inquiring about tablet POS companies and choosing the one that’s right for you.
What processing rates can I expect
For those business owners who are deciding on whether or not to accept credit cards, tablet POS offers the most streamlined way to get started. The transaction rates that you will incur with your tablet POS will likely be the same as any other POS system. That’s because your transaction rates are determined by these factors:
- The average amount totaled in each transaction
- The number of years you have been in business
- Personal credit rating
- The type of business you are (figures into your low or high risk rating)
- Chargeback risk associated with your business
Credit card processing costs allow you to offer your customers more way to pay – so in the long run you open
up many more opportunities for business. In fact, studies show that businesses who don’t accept credit cards actually lose out on about $7000 worth in sales each and every year according to a report published on Investor’s Business Daily. That figure is only going to increase in the coming years, because more people are relying on mobile and online payments.
Getting started with Tablet POS for your business
The great news is that as a business owner, now is a great time to get on the cloud and process payments via a tablet POS. The market is competitive, and you should be able to call around and find a business that’s able to get you a great deal and help you get started.
Now you have a few of the most important questions to ask so you can choose the best company for your needs.
To help you get started, visit our list of the 10 Best Tablet POS companies
for January 2016.
Investor’s Business Daily, “Businesses Miss Out on Sales,” 23 5 2012.
National Retail Federation: https://nrf.com/
Synergy World – http://synergyworld.com/products/gift-cards/custom-cards-processing