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Advantages of a Cloud Based POS System

Advantages of Cloud-Based POS Systems

The idea for cloud computing first emerged in the 1960s. Since then, this idea has become a reality and, in more recent years, has taken the digital world by storm. From storing your photos to accessing social media accounts to using webmail, cloud services have become an increasingly common part of many people’s lives.

The great news for small business owners is that cloud computing now has an important role in point-of-sale (POS) technology, and you don’t have to be tech-savvy to embrace this valuable technology. Cloud-based POS systems offer some significant advantages over legacy systems. We’re going to look at those advantages in this article so that you can choose the best POS system for your business.

How Does a Cloud-Based POS System Work?

Today, many business tools incorporate cloud technology, from phone services to email and much more. One of the most valuable tools you can enhance with cloud technology is your Point of Sale system. POS systems facilitate the checkout process, making it more efficient, and allowing you to collect valuable sales information that helps you manage your business.

If a POS system is cloud-based, the software associated with the system is stored in what is commonly referred to as “the cloud.” Though this is a common term, many people may be confused about what it means. Cloud-based systems use the internet to access software or data that is stored in remote data centers rather than on a hard drive or server located in your store.

Cloud-based software allows developers to offer software as a service (SaaS) rather than as a one-time product. Because the software is kept on the software provider’s servers rather than on individuals’ computers, the provider can update the software as they find ways to improve it, and theses updates will automatically apply to everyone using the cloud-based software. This way you cloud-based POS keeps getting better each time a new software update is released!

For merchants, using a cloud-based POS system means that the data the software collects, including sales analytics, inventory tracking and more, isn’t tied to the physical POS terminals. Through cloud computing, merchants can view and manage their data remotely from mobile devices. This remote access would not be possible with a traditional POS system where the software is installed on the merchant’s local server. Moreover, the data is backed up in the cloud so if your POS system goes down the data is still retrievable.

What Types of Cloud-Based POS Systems Are There?

There are three types of cloud-based POS models. The main factor that separates them is the hardware used to access the cloud-based POS software. Let’s take a brief look at all three:

  1. Mobile POS: Mobile POS systems (mPOS) rely on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, for access to a POS app. These systems can be a useful option for merchants with pop-up shops rather than brick-and-mortar locations. With a mobile system, you’ll have to add more hardware for accepting credit card payments, printing receipts and more.
  2. Online POS: Online POS systems also require you to use your own hardware. In this case, that hardware may be a desktop or laptop computer on your checkout counter. These systems may cost less than terminal systems, but you’ll have to purchase other hardware like barcode scanners, credit card readers and more.
  3. Cloud-based terminal POS: Cloud-based terminal systems use POS terminals that access the internet to run POS software. Using a POS terminal instead of a regular computer or tablet is especially helpful when integrating other types of hardware with the POS terminal, such as a barcode scanner or credit card reader. All-in-one systems will come with all of this hardware already integrated.

What Are the Advantages of a Cloud-Based System?

We’ve already started to see how a cloud-based POS system offers some unique advantages compared to traditional systems. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail:

1. Remote Access and Integration

If you have a social media account or web-based email account, then you likely know that you can access it from anywhere by logging in on any internet-enabled device. The same is true for cloud-based POS systems. As with social media and webmail, you may be able to log in to view your data from any internet-enabled device. You may also be able to download an app that gives you easy access to your POS account.

Not only can you view your data, but you can also use the software to do things like reordering inventory, inputting promotional prices and more. This means you can access important information and manage your store from anywhere. It also means that, if you have multiple store locations, all your POS terminals will share data in real-time so that they remain seamlessly integrated.

2. Automatic Updates

Another benefit we alluded to already is that cloud-based software enables automatic updates. Whenever software developers improve the software, the update will automatically take effect for everyone who uses the software. You are probably used to this feature on your phone. Smartphone apps can automatically update as developers improve their usability and fix any bugs that they discover.

Software that is installed once on your device and cannot access the internet, as is the case for on-site terminal systems, cannot be automatically updated. That means that, after some time passes and technology continues to progress, your POS system may become outdated. With auto-updates, you stay ahead of the curve with the latest and greatest software available.

3. Superior Security

When your data is stored off-site and is accessible through the internet, you may be concerned about security. The reality is that cloud-based POS systems can be more secure than on-site systems. As a writer for the New York Times points out, your data may be safer in the cloud in the same way that money is safer in a bank vault than in your dresser drawer at home.

Banks use numerous layers of protection to keep your money safe. Cloud service providers also take special precautions that you wouldn’t typically take if you stored your software and data on your local server. If your local hard drive fails, you could lose all your data, but you don’t have to worry about this with a cloud service. Cloud services also have security measures in place to protect your data from hackers.

4. Lower Upfront Cost

One of the marks of SaaS is that because it’s an ongoing service, it tends to involve a recurring fee rather than a substantial upfront cost. For cloud-based POS systems, this monthly fee typically ranges from $50 to $100, but you can pay a small fraction of that cost if you partner with National Retail Solutions (NRS). Our recurring fee is among the lowest in the industry.

In addition to the ongoing monthly or annual fee, you’ll also have an upfront cost for the hardware you need to run the software. However, this cost tends to be lower for cloud-based systems since it’s offset by the ongoing fees. This is good news for small businesses who are concerned about whether they can afford a modern POS system. Mobile systems will typically cost the least, but these systems are only sufficient for certain types of retail stores and pop-up shops.

5. Customer Support

With software that’s sold as a one-off product rather than as a continuing service, the software company’s job is done as soon as you make your purchase. They may have an online resource like an FAQ section to help you figure out how to use your new software, but they won’t typically give you the level of attention that you’ll receive when you opt for Software as a Service (SaaS). Part of the ongoing service you receive is regular updates, as we’ve already mentioned.

But that’s not all. You also gain access to customer support from expert representatives. Whether you need help with installation, training, replacing parts or figuring out features, the support team for cloud-based POS systems is there to help. Many of the small businesses NRS partners with benefit from our bilingual tech support. We’re dedicated to making sure you know how to get the most out of your POS+.

support for cloud based pos

Small Businesses That Should Consider Using Cloud POS Software

Cloud-based POS systems can be helpful for just about any small business, from dollar stores to delis and more. Let’s look at four examples of types of small business that can benefit from adopting cloud POS systems:

1. Convenience Stores

Independent convenience stores have the challenge of competing with larger chain stores. To do this effectively, they must capitalize on their unique strengths. Why do people choose to stop into a c-store instead of a big box store? Because they’re looking for convenience. One way your store can deliver on this expectation and keep customers coming back is by adopting modern technology that keeps the checkout process running smoothly. In addition, getting an all-in-one POS system with scanner, barcode and cash drawer integrated will insure everything works together seamlessly. Your customers will be impressed by a high-tech system that’s easy to use.

Cloud POS software with inventory tracking can also help you determine when to reorder products. This feature ensures a customer is never disappointed to find an empty spot on the shelf where the item they came in to buy should be. Inventory tracking can also help you make informed decisions about which products to carry. Since c-stores tend to be small, this feature is critical for ensuring you make the most of your shelf space and maximize sales.

2. Supermarkets

When people come to the supermarket, they’re typically on a mission to find what they need and get home. Many shoppers are also concerned with finding the best deals and want to use coupons to help them save on their grocery bill. A cloud-based POS system makes it easy to keep up with sale pricing and to redeem coupons so you can offer discounts and automatically ring items up accurately without having to punch in discounts manually. If your POS includes loyalty software, that’s also a great way to offer promotions.

One reason you want to make sure you streamline the process of scanning items is to keep checkout lines moving so you never have a long line of impatient shoppers worried their ice cream will melt. One way to help keep checkout lines running smoothly is to make sure you schedule the right employees at the right times. Shift management is an essential task for supermarket owners, and a modern POS system can make this task easier.

3. Tobacco Stores and Vape Shops

Another type of business that should strongly consider upgrading to a cloud-based POS system is tobacco stores and vape shops. As with any type of specialty store, it’s crucial that you carry the products customers are looking for, even the more obscure ones. This is what sets you apart from larger stores that carry a limited selection of tobacco or vape products. Inventory software on a cloud-based POS can help you refine your product offerings based on sales data so you can maximize sales and please your customers.

An all-in-one cloud-based POS can also remind you to ID customers, equip you to weigh loose-leaf tobacco products and help you keep up with loyalty rewards and special sales pricing. Finally, if you have multiple store locations, a cloud-based system allows you to make changes and see these updates immediately reflected across all of your POS terminals in all stores.

4. Liquor Stores

Liquor stores can also benefit from having a modern cloud-based POS system. The features that tend to be most relevant to liquor stores are sales tracking, inventory management, customer loyalty programs, promotions and age verification. A cloud-based POS system can help liquor store owners with all of these aspects of their business.

cloud pos for liquor store

Take customer loyalty, for instance. A customer loyalty program is an excellent way to encourage people to shop for their favorite bottle of chardonnay or bourbon at your store instead of at a grocery store or big box store. In place of the old punch-card method, a modern POS system can automate the customer loyalty process. It can also help you determine which products to carry so your store is known for its on-point product offerings.

The Best Cloud-Based POS System From National Retail Solutions

No matter what type of small business you run, if it involves a checkout process, then you can benefit from a cloud-based POS system. Cloud-based systems offer a modernized checkout experience for customers and a suite of useful management tools for business owners and employees. For the best cloud-based POS system, choose the POS+ from National Retail Solutions.

Our POS+ is not only cloud-based — it’s also an all-in-one system, so you receive all the hardware and software you need to facilitate the point of sale, manage inventory, offer promotions and more. What’s more, the POS+ is exceptionally affordable, making it an unbeatable option for small businesses.

If you’re interested in embracing cloud technology to help your business succeed, consider a cloud-based POS system. It will revolutionize the way you do business. To get started, get a free quote from NRS. With remote access and integration, automatic updates, superior security, a lower upfront cost and ongoing customer support, a cloud-based POS system is an asset to any small business.

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Small Business Tips

Why Your Small Business Needs More Than a Basic Cash Register

When many people think of a cash register suitable for a small business, they don’t picture a touch screen system. Instead, they picture the old-fashioned cash register, complete with a cash drawer and manual buttons, that has been a longstanding machine used for facilitating sales.

However, the best cash register for small businesses is often a point-of-sale (POS) system instead.

We’re going to focus on why a basic cash register is insufficient for small businesses and why a POS system is a much better choice to help your business succeed. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each, so you can make a fully-informed decision for your small business.

What’s the Difference Between a Cash Register and a POS System?

Cash registers have been around since the late 19th century. After discovering the technology used to count the revolutions of a ship’s propeller, a saloon owner in Ohio named James Ritty created a machine that could keep track of his sales. He patented the machine in 1879 and called it Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier. This first cash register didn’t include a cash drawer — it only tallied totals from each sales transaction.

After Ritty sold the rights to his invention, John H. Patterson founded the National Cash Register Company in 1884 and popularized this machine with business owners all over the nation. The cash register has long been a staple piece of technology for business, both big and small. Today, many small businesses still rely on traditional cash registers to facilitate transactions.

Modern cash registers are electronic, but they still fulfill the basic functions of earlier cash registers. Electronic cash registers consist of a cash drawer, a small display screen and buttons the cashier can press to add up dollar amounts, assign sales to particular departments and calculate change. Some registers will also print a basic receipt.Cash registers are essentially calculators designed for sales transactions attached to a drawer to keep cash secure.

So, how does the traditional cash register compare to a POS system? A POS system takes advantage of modern technology to expand greatly on the basic capabilities of a cash register. Like a basic register, a POS system includes a cash drawer. POS systems vary, but with an all-in-one POS system, you can also expect additional integrated hardware, such as:

  • Barcode scanners
  • Scales
  • Receipt printers
  • Credit card processors

These components are typically all separate for businesses that use cash registers. At a glance, one of the most significant things that sets a POS system apart is that it features a touch screen, which no longer limits cashiers to a set of manual buttons. Now, cashiers can access multiple menus and options to fulfill a range of functions. Because of this advanced hardware, a POS system is sometimes called a touch screen cash register, but POS software is capable of doing far more than just facilitating sales transactions. It may also be able to:

  • Track inventory
  • Record sales analytics
  • Log employee shifts
  • Facilitate sales promotions

It’s easy to see how a POS system offers far more capabilities than even the best cash registers. If you want to upgrade from a standard cash register, a POS system is the modern solution that your small business needs.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?

Now that you know the difference between a cash register and a POS, you may be wondering which of these options is the best choice for your small business. As with almost any comparison, there are pros and cons to each option. Let’s start with the advantages of cash registers and then look at the disadvantages of this more basic option.

Pros and Cons of Cash Registers

Digital cash registers do have some advantages compared to POS system, including:

  1. Affordability: Cash registers tend to cost less than POS systems, which is helpful for small businesses with a limited budget. Since there is no software involved, you won’t have to pay a monthly or annual fee to maintain software, so the upfront cost you’ll pay for your cash register — which could be up to $800 — is the full cost, with the exception of potential maintenance costs to fix a malfunctioning register.
  2. Familiarity: If your employees are already used to using basic cash registers, then they may find it easier to stick to the method they’re familiar with. However, since cash registers come in different models, it’s likely that employees who have used a cash register before will still need some training to learn how to operate your business’s specific model. In contrast, POS systems are designed to be cutting-edge and therefore will be updated continuously with new software improvements and features that will help you run your business better.

Cash registers also come with their share of cons compared to POS systems. Here are some of the main disadvantages to consider:

  1. No Integration: Cash registers are independent machines that are not integrated with other components you need to facilitate the checkout process, such as a barcode scanner and card reader. If you have multiple registers, they won’t be integrated with each other, either. This lack of integration means there is no communication among your equipment to streamline the process.
  2. No Inventory Tracking: Cash registers simply aren’t designed to help you manage your inventory, so you can’t count on a cash register to tell you when to order more product or when you may be overstocking a certain product. This means you have to rely on manual methods for tracking inventory.
  3. No Sales Analytics: Some cash registers may truly be like a calculator that wipes the slate clean after each transaction. Other cash registers are made to keep track of the day’s sales so cashiers can balance the cash register drawer. In either case, a cash register will not keep track of sales data long-term, so you have to do this manually, which is time-consuming and is likely to be inaccurate.
  4. Inefficient Checkout: Even if you’re only interested in facilitating sales transactions, a cash register does not provide the most efficient checkout experience. Having to punch in totals and manually subtract savings from promotions results in a slower process, which can feel cumbersome to cashiers and frustrating to shoppers who are in a hurry.
  5. No Screen: Even though digital cash registers have a small display screen, similar to the screen on a calculator, all this screen will display are the totals as the cashier rings up items. If you want a larger display screen that includes more detailed information for the customer, then you’ll need a POS system. A POS system also includes a touch-screen for the cashier.

Pros and Cons of POS Systems

Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of cash registers, let’s focus on POS systems. POS systems offer many benefits, but we’ll hit the highlights with six significant advantages that a POS offers compared to a cash register:

  1. User-Friendliness: One of the advantages of POS systems is that they’re user-friendly. The touchscreen features clear, colorful buttons that make navigating through features easy. The interface will feel familiar to employees who are used to using a smartphone or touchscreen tablet, which means they may not need a great deal of training.
  2. Integration: Especially if you purchase an all-in-one POS system, you also benefit from the fact that all the components needed for checkout are seamlessly integrated together. If you need multiple checkout lanes or even if you have multiple store locations, POS systems with cloud-based software will all send information to an app so you can access all your data in one place.
  3. Inventory Management: Managing your inventory is a critical aspect of any small business. A POS system makes inventory tracking easy by maintaining an accurate account of what you have in stock, letting you know when to order new stock and providing data to help you accurately determine which products are helping your business grow and which may be a financial drain.
  4. Sales Analytics: A POS system also helps you make data-driven decisions to help grow your business. They track sales, so you can quickly answer questions like what your peak times are, which cashiers have facilitated the most transactions, whether a promotion helped boost your sales and more.
  5. Efficient Checkout: If you’re more concerned with the checkout experience itself rather than the additional features a POS offers, it’s important to note that a POS also provides a more efficient checkout process, which will please employees and customers alike. A POS automates multiple aspects of checkout so you can maintain accuracy and get customers checked out quickly.
  6. Dual Screens: All POS systems feature a touchscreen which makes the checkout process far more visually engaging for employees. Some POS systems also feature a display screen for customers. This customer-facing screen can help you improve sales since it provides transparency and can even display ads to inform the customer of upcoming promotions.

Despite all of these advantages, purchasing a POS system does have some potential disadvantages, including:

  1. Higher Cost: The main disadvantage that concerns some small businesses, especially start-ups, is that POS systems cost more than cash registers. While POS systems are more expensive than cash registers, they include many more features that will help your business become more profitable. Consider the many other components and software programs you would need to buy if you opted for a cash register instead of a POS, and the real price gap quickly disappears.
  2. Software Updates: POS systems are intended to keep up with current technology so they remain the best piece of sales technology you can have. This means that POS software will need to be updated from time to time. If your software is stored in-house, this can be an inconvenience. However, if you go with a cloud-based system, you’ll enjoy automatic updates whenever the developers improve the software.
  3. Potentially Intimidating: A final possible downside to consider is that a POS system is a departure from the old, familiar cash register. This may be intimidating to some employees who are not used to using modern touch-screen technology. That said, 42% of Americans aged 65 and up own smartphones, so it’s likely that all or nearly all of your employees will embrace the technology with some familiarity.

Why Do Small Businesses Need More Than a Basic Cash Register?

As we’ve seen, cash registers are extremely limited in their capabilities compared to POS systems, which do far more than just help you ring up customers. In light of the advantages POS systems offer, it should be clear that they are preferable for any small business that can afford them. Even if you’re worried about the cost, you should still consider investing in a POS system for a few reasons.

There are many reasons to invest in a POS system, but we’ll focus on three main reasons why you need a modern POS system instead of a basic cash register:

1. To Offer a Modern Checkout Experience

Customers today are often in a hurry and expect the checkout process to be efficient. That’s why retailers are always on the lookout for ways to speed up checkout time. Using a POS is an excellent way to do this since it integrates hardware and uses cutting-edge software to offer a seamless checkout experience. No more punching in discounts or getting frustrated over errors. A POS makes it quick and easy to facilitate sales in a way that shows customers you’re committed to the best technology has to offer.

2. To Manage Your Business Effectively

A POS system also gives you valuable tools to help you manage your business, from employees and inventory to promotions and more. These are all major aspects of management, so if you don’t have a POS to help you, you’ll find yourself relying on outmoded methods or software options that may work well on their own but aren’t integrated. A POS allows you to view data and make changes all in one place, so you can manage effectively, either on-site or on the go.

3. To Make Data-Informed Business Decisions

All-in-one POS systems include sale statistics that help you make business decisions based on data. Big companies use data to create their sales strategies. As a result, the best way to keep up with them involves using statistics yourself. POS systems track sales by item type, payment type, sale time, transaction total and many other factors. These robust statistics help you build business strategies based on your customers’ behavior. You’ll get to market directly to your customers to generate more sales and profits than just relying on a cash register for a small business.

4. To Improve Customer Satisfaction

With a comprehensive POS system, you will also get to improve your customers’ experience. In addition to offering a modern checkout experience, a POS system gives customers opportunities to save. All-in-one systems like POS+ have built-in promotion features that make it easy to create in-store sales. Integrated loyalty programs also help customers save money with a card scan. With the smart usage of these features, you can increase your profits while helping your customers reduce their costs.

5. To Increase Sales

Finally, when customers are pleased with the checkout experience they have at your business, and you leverage data to make smart decisions about what products you carry, when you run a sale and more, you can expect your sales to climb. If your POS system comes with loyalty software, this can encourage more repeat business. A POS system is a financial investment, but for many small businesses, it could help you become more profitable.

The Best Small Business Cash Register Goes Beyond a Cash Register

When choosing point-of-sale technology for your store, the best small business “cash register” includes complete POS features. POS+ has a full suite of features for store management. At National Retail Solutions, Inc., we understand that managing a store takes more than software and hardware. We provide comprehensive support and business services to help you succeed in your market. These features make POS+ the best POS system for small businesses:

Dependable Hardware

POS+ has all of the staples you need to run an efficient checkout. Its hardware includes a touch screen, barcode scanner, cash drawer and much more. We focused on dependable design to give you a system that holds up to frequent use.

Powerful Software

The technology in the POS+ system records your sales statistics and helps you manage your inventory. It includes many big business features at a small business price.

Customer Support

Our customer service team offers support via phone or email. They provide options for remote and bilingual support to give you the best customer support experience possible.

Mobile Access

Every POS+ user can use the free My NRS Store app to manage their system remotely. It works from anywhere with an internet connection to display sales information and let you change settings.

Integrated Services

At NRS, we offer additional services that complement the POS+ system. They integrate with POS+ to provide you with powerful business tools. POS+ users enhance their stores with these amenities:

Choose the NRS POS System to Replace Your Small Business Cash Register

Cash registers may have been a cutting-edge piece of technology back in the 19th century, but today, they pale in comparison to the capabilities offered by a POS system. The best small business cash register isn’t just a cash register. It’s a modern all-in-one POS system, complete with all the components you need to facilitate sales and help your business succeed. The POS+ from National Retail Solutions is designed with small businesses like yours in mind, so it’s an excellent option to consider. Request a free quote today, and see how you could see your business grow by bringing your point of sale into the modern age.