Software as a service, or SaaS, has quickly become a popular option for small businesses that want to gain access to best-in-class resources on a limited budget. Services like Dropbox allow businesses to store data in a virtual environment, while accounting tools like QuickBooks and FreshBooks can help you manage your bookkeeping from anywhere you have web access. Moving to “the cloud” can have clear advantages for these business functions — but have you considered the possibilities offered by a cloud-based point of sale system?
Here are five key factors to consider:
The hardware costs are low.
Compared to a traditional legacy point of sale system, which can cost tens of thousands in upfront fees for terminal equipment, a cloud-based POS system relies on standard computing equipment. In many cases, a cloud-based platform can be operated exclusively through a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone, with a purchase price of several hundred dollars. The POS service’s monthly subscription cost typically ranges from $100 to several hundred dollars, which most small businesses can easily factor into their operating budgets.
Such platforms do not require long-term commitments.
When you invest in a terminal point-of-sale system, you cannot easily make a switch to a new system — at least, not without losing out on the thousands of dollars you’ve poured into the system. In contrast, cloud-based point of sale tools generally operate on a monthly subscription basis; you are free to switch providers or terminate your subscription at any point.
Cloud-based platforms are continually upgraded on your behalf.
When using a legacy system, you will need to manually upgrade your equipment, or bring in a consultant to help you. Cloud-based POS systems are updated offsite, so you will never be responsible for technology upgrades to your system.
Cloud-based systems can easily integrate with other services and tools.
While legacy systems don’t tend to play well with others, cloud-based platforms can easily integrate with third-party web-based tools. For instance, our platform, Instore, allows retailers to accept payment electronically through a variety of payment processors; our system is also integrated with the online ordering tool EatStreet to simplify the food ordering process. And because cloud POS platforms are continually updated, new app integrations are frequently available.
You can view your business data from anywhere.
If you don’t want to sit in your back office poring over your daily sales records, you won’t have to. With a cloud-based point of sale tool, you can access your sales data and customer analytics from anywhere you have an Internet connection, and enable others in your organization to securely view the data from their locations, too. That means you can stay connected with your business no matter where you are — even checking on sales and employee hour logs for your NYC pizza shop from your vacation home in Mexico, if you’re so inclined. Such tools provide greater flexibility and organizational transparency, helping you to streamline your business so that you can feel confident when you step away from the register.