Many business owners already have some kind of e-commerce solution, but they’re looking for a way to make it better and more efficient.

Make it work people

You need a point-of-sale system that allows you to:

  • Easily post one-of-a-kind items, not multiples, and
  • Quickly and efficiently remove the listing once that one item is sold.
    • Preferably, you want an integrated system that allows you to remove listings across different channels simultaneously.

This is one of the great pains of having a presence on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon all at once —posting and removing each listing from every single website individually. And it’s one of the key issues that holds online sellers back in today’s e-commerce landscape.

In this post, we’ll explore what kind of POS is best.

The Basic Point-of-Sale System

In the old days, you tracked sales with paper receipts and cash registers. In the digital age, we use computers to track sales. We have programs that calculate what humans once had to do.

We can not only record transactions like never before, but thanks to computers doing so much of the work, we now have time to draw conclusions from the data and pivot our businesses in response!

As the graph below demonstrates, the “services” side of the POS equation has grown and is projected to continue to grow, coinciding with the rise of e-commerce:

Retail POS Terminals Graph Comparing Hardware, Software and Services

Software-Only POS

Many businesses are still using a software-only POS, which means all of their inventory and sales data is stored in-house on their computer system.

These computer-based POS systems often manage not only point of sale, but also other important business activities:

  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Inventory
  • Customer Tracking
  • Payroll
  • Bar Code Scanning

Source: Finances Online

While at one point not too long ago, the software-only POS was an incredible advancement, now it is a hindrance. Trying to synchronize your software-only POS with your online inventory can be a nightmare!

Since our society is increasingly relying on mobile devices and tablets, we recommend upgrading if you’re currently using a software-only POS. You want a POS that stores your information in the cloud.

A software-only POS does not integrate seamlessly with your e-commerce solution. In order to truly compete in today’s digital landscape, you need a POS that enables you to integrate your online and in-store inventory.

Your main objection might be: “What if my internet goes out?” The good news is that many cloud-based POS systems have a connected desktop-plus-internet system so that if your shop has a glitch, you can run it as a software-only POS temporarily until the internet comes back on. Then when you have internet again, it will automatically update and sync.

Cloud-Based POS Security

What would you do if something tragic happened in your store? Say all your computers suddenly crashed, or there was a fire in the building that burned up not only your computers but also your backup drives. You now have to rebuild from scratch, but all your records have been destroyed.

This is why we love cloud-based POS systems. Your data is safer than ever before because it’s stored online (not just online, but in a system with a secure SSL certificate). If anything happens to your store or your equipment, you still have your business data.

Cloud-Based POS Cost

Many complaints about traditional software-only POS platforms, such as the ever-popular desktop version of QuickBooks (which has both a desktop and an online version), center on expense. Retailers don’t want to pay to upgrade their software every year. These kinds of updates take both money and time to implement.

We will discuss QuickBooks in more detail in a later post, but long story short, they themselves recommend switching to their online version to avoid the $299 annual upgrade fees, $89 90-day phone support fees, etc.

With any cloud-based POS, updates are automatic, so you know you always have the latest, most secure version without having to purchase a new one.

Cloud-Based POS Synchronization

One of the reasons apps like Evernote have become so popular is the need to sync our data across multiple devices. If we need to sync our personal data, how much more do we need to sync business data?

Business data needs to be consistent from computer to computer in your company, especially if your store has multiple locations, and with a cloud POS, you get automatic synchronization of data, diminishing human error by automatically storing information in the cloud as soon as a purchase is made.

In addition, many customers now prefer to pay with their mobile devices—not to mention that you can track sales analytics and payments from your mobile device while you’re on vacation in Hawaii! You can check on your inventory from anywhere.

Automatic, cheap integration is what we’re after. In our next posts, we’ll examine a few popular Sales-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based POS platforms and see how they stack up.