Increase Sales with POS Systems
For the typical small business owner, economics isn’t always a second language. However, there are some things that anyone can understand; expanding accessibility is one of those things. The easier it is to get to a product, the more likely consumers are to buy. Just look at the advent of internet shopping as a prime example. Now, millions of people choose the speed and convenience of the computer over the service and physicality of brick and mortar stores. And even within the online market, companies are rushing to get to the customer in the easiest way possible. Perhaps it’s even more accurate to say that they’re trying to remove obstacles so that the customer can get to them. One-click purchase options are evidence of that trend.
These methods allow impulse buyers to spontaneously spend cash on enticing products without the benefit (from a personal finance standpoint) of second thought. In other words, companies are able to increase the effectiveness of advertising by not only presenting and creating desire, but facilitating purchases immediately. And in the physical world, this same process holds true. For years, POS, or Point of Sale, systems have become cheaper and easier to use, allowing major chains to aim for processing times of under 2 minutes for purchases. Today, with the advent of mobile POS technologies, it’s not just the massive chains that are benefiting. Small businesses, artisans, and other sellers have flocked to new POS technologies in droves. Some estimates, like those from Payments Source, place mobile point of sale projections at 46 percent of the total market share by 2017.
One of the beautiful things about technological progress is the dramatic cost reduction that everyday people can experience within their lifetimes, often within a single decade. And while many static POS terminals retail for about $4,000, mobile POS readers can cost as little as ten dollars. That’s a massive reduction, one that allows previously unrepresented small businesses to join in the fun. One of the ways that this reduction has been achieved is through the adaptability of POS software. According to the Los Angeles Times, the first POS system that was compatible with Windows came out in 1992. That’s over twenty years ago, and every year since, the software has become more flexible. Today, POS software can be accessed on any PC, and most tablets and smartphones are capable of running complex transactions thanks to Cloud storage, reports Entrepreneur. The result is a modern, mobile, and dynamic set of POS systems, one that will fit nearly any business’ needs.
Types of Mobile POS Hardware
Traditional POS systems are recognizable. The clunky machines sit comfortably behind the checkout counter in a supermarket, but are of little use otherwise. The latest generation of POS hardware, however, comes in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of sleek and portable devices leading the charge. Thanks to mobile credit card readers that are barely larger than a quarter, nearly any smartphone can run a variety of POS systems. The readers plug into the headphone jack, communicating through the circular portal and storing customer information in encrypted data sent to the Cloud. Similarly, tablets with access to the App Store, the Google Play marketplace, and other major mobile vendor halls are ideal for POS work. The large interfaces are ideal for ringing up large orders, and they’re also seeing wide application in the restaurant business.
The Inevitable Negatives and Their Solutions
However, tablets and smartphones have certain limitations. While they’re great when it comes to ringing up orders, there are certain aspects of the traditional purchase that are simply left untouched. The most glaringly obvious of these functions is the printing of the receipt. Important for business purchases, tax records, and personal financial planning, receipts used to require the same sort of clunky printers that you’d find in your local Kmart. Luckily, that too has changed. Companies such as Shopify are producing sleek, easy to use mobile printers that work with a wide variety of devices. Many simply require a USB port, and they print using thermal printing technology, so business owners don’t need to worry about running out of ink or paying for it. And, prices come in at around $100.
While the initial investment in a POS system may not be pocket change, it’s incredibly cheap compared to the historical average. And, perhaps more importantly, it quickly pays for itself. Every small business owner, farmer, and artisan knows the heartbreaking feeling that comes with “sorry, I don’t carry cash anymore. Are you sure you don’t take a card?” Until now, there’s been no chance for the mobile business owner to reach clients that have abandoned the traditional method of payment. Mobile POS development allows entrepreneurs to reach a wider audience, and will act as a democratizing force in the business world, giving individuals the ability to spread their products without the huge investment required by traditional models.