In recent years, POS systems have transformed from humble payment takers to multitalented multitaskers that help business owners and their staff sell, report, stock take and much more.
With cloud technology added to the mix, staff can now carry and access these next-generation POS systems anywhere in the business.
The huge benefits of having a mobile POS are clear for certain business types, such as:
- cafés and restaurants where staff need to discuss menus, send orders to the kitchen, take payments and split bills at tables.
- retail stores where owners want staff to be able to take payments, check prices, view stock in store and at another store, etc on the floor with the customer while they browse.
However, some business owners are keen for all the powerful features of a modern POS, but don’t want staff being able to carry it around on a mobile device.
While others want both – a comprehensive POS solution that can be fixed in a central position and be used throughout the business to better serve customers as they shop.
Comparing the Point-of-Sale options
This all begs the question, “What POS is going to work best for my business?” Let’s take a look at each of the options.
What does this mean?
The POS system doesn’t sit on a device in a fixed location. You and/or your staff carry it around on iPads, Android and Windows tablets, smartphones or other mobile devices when dealing with customers.
What is mobile-only great for?
- Very personal, interactive experiences on the move with your customer.
- Mostly credit card transactions made right where the product is chosen
- Want to quickly look up inventory, accessories, show videos or images, etc
- Where you don’t need two hands to help the customer e.g. wrapping, handling product, etc
- Usually have a credit card swipe attached to the device
Typical mobile-only POS businesses
Market stalls, outdoor kiosks, pop-up stores, health and fitness, trades and home service businesses
What does this mean?
Where you access your POS system on a device at a fixed location, sometimes on a locked stand. The device might still be an iPad or tablet, but could also be an app on a laptop, PC, Mac, etc.
What is stationary-only POS great for?
- Less interactive customer experiences
- Want to create a central cash register/payment location
- Don’t want to allow staff to remove tablets/POS
- Want more than cash registers offer – inventory and sales tracking, loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, etc.
- Where two hands are often needed to help the customer e.g. wrapping, carrying and demonstrating product, etc
Typical stationary-only POS businesses
Convenience stores, flower shops, hairdressers, liquor stores, auto shops, antique stores, building supplies stores, appliance repairs.
Mobile and Stationary POS
What does this mean?
Where you access your POS system on iPads, tablets and other mobile devices that sit on detachable and portable stands.
What is a mobile and stationary POS great for?
- Multiple staff providing personal service as required on the store floor, or in several stores
- Product or service requires demonstration, handling, wrapping etc
- Offer customers product information and recommendations on the floor
- People pay at central location
- Staff need to check stock, promotions, make orders while with the customer
- Like mobile and stationary, want inventory and sales tracking, loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, etc.
Typical mobile and stationary POS businesses
Cafes, restaurants, furniture and household item retailers, clothing stores, shoe stores, watches and jewellery retailers, electronic and entertainment media retailers, nurseries and gardening supply stores.
How to find your POS perfect match
The quick guide above can help you better understand the common needs and types of businesses that choose a POS because it’s accessible on the move, locked in a fixed position, or a combination of both.
However, as for every business owner, your business has unique needs and challenges.
So, if you’re a hairdresser, you may want to show clients hot new celebrity hair colours while they’re getting their cut. Or as a gardening supply store owner, you may not want your team carrying devices through the aisles.
The only way to really know what’s going to suit you best is to ask yourself what matters most. For example:
- Do you want to let staff remove your POS device from a single location?
- How many devices will you be using?
- Will it look natural and welcoming for staff to carry around technology and talk to customers?
- Do you want to be able to get information, order and take payments anywhere in-store?
- Do your staff need to carry, bag or gift-wrap items at a checkout?
- Are product demonstrations and explanations an important part of the sale?
- Do you operate out of temporary venues and/or need to unpack and pack up each day?
If you’re not sure, don’t worry. A good POS provider will always ask you questions, offer objective advice and talk to you about your needs when you’re doing your initial research.
Plus, a small number of all-in-one POS systems available today, such as POSable, are flexible enough to allow you to change between mobile, stationary or a combination, as you need to.