If you read our last article, http://betweenwallandmain.com/select-point-sale-system/, hopefully you are ready to throw out that old cash register and invest in a Point of Sale System. There are so many different solutions, we hope to help you to make the right choice for your business. This week we will talk about the various technologies and next week a checklist to use with your needs analysis.
Apple, PC’s and Android all have solutions available. Often times we see client who want IPad’s for the clean and modern look, but make sure the software you choose meets all of your needs, PC’s are a proven solution and there is a vast number of POS systems that run on PC’s, but can require more in terms of networking, servers PC’s and maintenance. Last up are Android solutions, which can less expensive than the IPad, but work the same technology wise.
Here are a few issues to consider when deciding what technology to choose. For example, both IPad and Android solution generally use WiFi to connect the terminal to the Internet. Find out what happens with the software if you lose WiFi connectivity. Can you still take sales? How about ringing up credit card sales, Since most tablet solutions are cloud based, it is important that they have an “offline” mode. Also there are 2 primary WiFi Bands 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. Which band does your solution use? 2.4 is the most common (think free WiFi at Starbucks) So which band does the solution you are looking at use? Generally the 5 Ghz band has less traffic, but the WiFi range is not as large. Where are the tablets in relation to the WiFi router. What about the printer, bar code scanner and the like. How do they connect to the register. While I love my Bluetooth headset, It is one thing if it disconnects during a call, I can always call back, but if my Bluetooth scanner or printer disconnects during a busy shopping day, then what??? I am not saying Bluetooth won’t work, just want to make you think through all of the issues that can occur.
With PC’s based solutions, you also need to consider the issue of “offline” processing. Since the software is on the computer, you should be able to ring up sales, but what about credit card processing. Also how complex is the network setup. Does the software require a True server or will a beefy workstation be enough to host the data. If you have multiple locations, how does the software communicate. Is it in real time or is there some sort of sync that happens to ensure all of the locations have all of the data they need.
So next week, we will provide you a checklist you can use to help narrow down the choices. Since changing POS systems can be expensive and time consuming, doing your homework up front avoids a ton of problems down the line.