Tablet computers like the iPad, Galaxy Tab, or the various Windows-powered portable devices have become more than just a gaming device or a mobile entertainment system. Today, tablet deployment in restaurants, retail stores, and other small businesses for use as a portable point-of-sale (POS) system has become a common practice in the industry. It’s no longer a question of if you’re going to use an iPad POS, but rather a question of when are you going to transition to this new system.
A significant portion of retailers around the world are opting for the iPad POS system for a variety of reasons. It seems that the more businesses learn about this great innovation, the more it makes sense to them as a worthy investment.
Portable point-of-sale systems allow businesses to provide their clientele with better, more enjoyable customer experience. With a well-placed POS system, long checkout lines and transaction errors are eliminated or at least minimized. For restaurateurs and food service shops, the ability to use the iPad as an interactive menu, a tool servers can use to place orders, as well as a device for accepting various card payments is truly revolutionary. And it doesn’t hurt that tipping has become a lot easier. Servers couldn’t be any happier.
If you believe that it’s time to upgrade your old POS system and switch over to the iPad point-of-sale, here are a few tips meant for retailers and small businesses considering the change to portable POS solution.
Five Useful Tips for Retailers Ready to Switch to the iPad POS System
- Start with basic POS software/hardware investment.
One of the biggest concerns for retailers and shop owners when transitioning to a new POS system is the cost. Convention point-of-sale, like those you might find in supermarkets and grocery stores, require a hefty investment. They are expensive, to say the least. A tablet, on the other hand, will only cost a fraction of the price of a PC-based POS system. The portable point-of-sale is a relatively cheaper option when compared to traditional units. And that’s not including the maintenance and upgrade costs.
The more prudent approach when transitioning to iPad POS is to start with a small hardware investment. If you’re running a small business establishment, there won’t be a need for a dozen iPad units, would there? If you’re running a chain of stores, investing in a few units and scaling up when necessary is a move that you should consider. The key is to take it slow, baby steps if you will. You can start investing in more units once you’re familiar and confident enough with this new POS solution.
- Upgrade and improve your network infrastructure.
Most mobile POS devices are capable of processing various payments over cellular networks. However, the reliability of these networks can be a concern. Getting a strong, reliable signal is highly dependent on the location of the establishment, the building, the strength of the network signal itself, network congestion, and a variety of other factors. A better option for network infrastructure is Wi-Fi or over-the-air (OTA) connectivity. Portable devices like the iPad and other tablet computers support Wi-Fi connectivity, and it’s a more stable alternative to cellular networks.
Of course, you may need to invest in this type of infrastructure. You need to find a suitable Internet service provider (ISP), avail of the appropriate bandwidth, and acquire the necessary hardware (modem, Wi-Fi router, etc.) to establish reliable Wi-Fi connectivity for your business. But this move is a no brainer, if you’re really serious in transitioning your business to a mobile POS system. In the long run, your investment will pay for itself.
- Don’t hesitate to get professional help in the deployment and management of your POS system.
Outsourcing tasks like installation and deployment, maintenance and management of iPad point-of-sale systems is not uncommon, especially if you or any of your staff are not particularly tech savvy. Larger businesses may have their own IT department/personnel tasked with handling the deployment, maintenance, and management of POS systems, but this is a resource that most small businesses simply can’t afford. It’s much more cost-efficient to just outsource the job to professionals.
IT personnel can centralize sales and inventory information across all stores, which is especially useful for business owners running a chain of retail establishments. If you’re operating a single store, you may not need to hire a professional at all. Most iPad POS vendors offer 24/7 tech support to help clients install, manage, and troubleshoot their system. Besides, these systems are so user-friendly that once you are familiar with their functions and inner workings, you probably won’t need any professional help at all, at least when dealing with minor issues.
- Maximize and integrate your iPad POS with the selling process.
Your iPad POS system is not just a glorified cash register or credit card processor. It can do a lot of things to improve customer experience and product selling. Capitalize on the many different features the iPad POS has to offer. As a retail store, you can use iPad units as an interactive catalog for all your products and items, where customers can simply use the device to browse and place orders directly. This selling process will not only improve customer experience, it can promote loyalty to your brand as well.
- Encourage customers to be more involved in the point-of-sale process.
This POS system is not designed merely for the benefit of retailers and business owners. It can also prove beneficial to customers. With the iPad point-of-sale system, customers can electronically sign their bills, give tips, and even avail of special promos and loyalty rewards. At the checkout counter, you can have the customer checkout the process as you complete the transaction. You can have them electronically sign the receipt, choose the appropriate amount to tip, and even allow them to complete the transaction themselves.