4 Questions to Ask to Before Committing to Cloud-Based POS Software
The right cloud-based POS for your business can be a game-changer.
Today’s online programs are so powerful that they can manage almost every single aspect of your sales. Many of them can integrate with other software programs to handle everything from accounting to customer service, and they do it all via a streamlined, secure and easy-to-use interface.
But this comprehensive functionality can also make committing to the wrong POS an expensive mistake.
Onboarding for any new POS takes time and energy, regardless of how user-friendly the system is. You’ll need to learn how to set it up properly, train your staff on how to use it, create internal procedures and processes around its use, and customize it for your business needs. That all takes time, which distracts from your main operations.
Then, of course, there are the cash costs for the software and compatible hardware. Many businesses end up overpaying for their POS system because they fail to properly set it up, or because they underestimate the additional costs involved (such as expenses for equipment and support).
To avoid choosing a POS that doesn’t work for your business, ask yourself the following questions before you make a big commitment.
Will it Accommodate my Business’ Growth?
Most businesses have plans to grow in some way, whether it’s to physically expand to new locations or simply grow the customer base.
In fact, you may be searching for a cloud-based POS specifically to help that growth. Most cloud-based POS systems offer unique advantages for scalability, especially compared to traditional POS systems. Administrators of online systems can easily see data from all locations and registers in real time and in one place. That’s an undeniable advantage for business leaders managing growing companies.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already looking for a POS system. You know how time-consuming it can be to comb through all the features and benefits of available online POS programs to find the best fit for your company.
Imagine your frustration if your business were to actually start hitting your growth goals and your POS system couldn’t accommodate that growth. You’d have to start the search for a POS system all over again, scrapping many of your established procedures and wasting hours in the process.
So, think to the future. Where do you expect your company to be in five years? Do you want to have additional locations, staff, or a customer load that will make your current POS system difficult to use? Do you want to start selling your products online in addition to in-store?
Keep those goals in mind as you evaluate your POS options.
What Hardware Will the POS Require?
Web-based systems present a significant change from traditional hardware-based POS systems that come with the software installed.
Although the best cloud-based POS systems tend to work with a variety of common POS equipment, there may be limitations on hardware. Compatibility varies with each system.
Before you buy, make sure you understand the system’s requirements for the platform (Mac, PC, or Linux) and browser, as well as compatibility requirements for ancillary equipment such as the receipt printer, barcode scanner, cash drawer, barcode label generator / printer, and card reader. Depending on your store’s needs and the system you choose, you may also need to invest in additional accessories such as tablet stands for checkout purposes.
Hardware costs might not be a dealbreaker for smaller businesses that just need a few registers, but bigger operations will need to pay close attention. Going into a purchase with a clear understanding of what’s required will save you from a lot of headaches and unnecessary expense.
Does the Software Work for Other Companies Like Mine?
Web-based POS programs are gaining popularity with all kinds of businesses. New programs are popping up to meet the growing demand, and existing programs are trying to compete by adding more and better features.
With these market conditions, software companies are fighting to establish dominance in specific industries.
Although it’s not essential that your POS choice have industry-specific features, the benefits of a well-established, industry-specific program are hard to ignore. Companies that cater to your industry are more likely to understand the issues your company is facing. They may also have developed specific features to address common industry problems.
The reps for any POS system you’re considering should be able to provide examples of other companies they’ve worked with that are similar to your own, whether it’s in industry, size, or operations. They should also be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of your business’ needs, even before you explain them.
Again, it’s very possible to find a great POS fit with a program that doesn’t cater specifically to your industry. Any software company’s sales team will try to find a way to make their program meet your needs. But if your company is going to be the first or only one of its kind to use the software, the customer support provided will become even more important.
What's the Quality of the Customer Support?
As we mentioned, one of the biggest non-cash costs of implementing a new POS system is its interruption to business operations.
In many cases, small business owners must spend their personal time shopping for a POS solution, which distracts them from running the company. Also, any transition-related interruption at the register can cost a lot of customer goodwill.
For these reasons, businesses should look for a cloud-based POS that has amazing customer support. Ideally, the support team will both help set the system up and be on-call for any questions as your staff begins to use it.
A POS system with great support can drastically cut down on POS onboarding time and related costs. If you can find a program that can dedicate a rep to helping you set up the software properly, you’ll also reduce the risks of setting it up wrong and having to start over and retrain. It’s also less likely that you’ll fail to fully use all of the features you’re paying for.
One of the biggest benefits of choosing a cloud-based POS over a traditional, hardware-based system is the fact that there’s a team of professionals constantly working to improve and update the product in real time with no effort needed on your end. But many of the great POS options available on the market don’t offer this personalized install.
They often have a standard support center and help documentation. Those resources are definitely better than nothing. But for the best chance of a smooth implementation, you need proactive, personal support.
If you want help finding and implementing the perfect cloud-based POS solution for your business, we hope you consider working with us at Cloudscape Technologies.
We specialize in personally helping businesses find custom cloud solutions that deliver more power than they ever thought possible. We minimize onboarding time and stress, and we are available to support users over the long-term -- sometimes live and on-site. We’re certified partners with many of the best cloud-based developers, and we love helping businesses realize the potential of moving their operations to the cloud.
To see how we could help your business, please contact us or book a free consultation.